Why Islan Nettles’ Murder Still Matters

by Krystal Franklin

April 24, 2017

While the “bathroom bill” is still a hot-button issue for some (Texas is the latest state to approve the controversial bill while North Carolina is still in limbo), members of the LGBT community have quietly been dealing with what some would consider a more pressing issue – the alarming rate at which transgender women have been killed. 2016 has gone on record as the deadliest year for murders of transgender women, 27 to be exact.

The case of Islan Nettles is just one of those heartbreaking stories.


In 2013 Islan and two friends (also transgender) were walking down the street in Harlem when they encountered a group of men. According to police reports, the two parties got into a dispute, Nettles was slammed to the ground and after a series of blows, the 21-year-old was left comatose. She died a week later.

And while James Dixon, who admitted to killing Islan because she was transgender, pleaded guilty earlier this month and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, Islan’s sister Skye told the Gay City News, it’s not enough.

“Twelve years is not enough because he can go home. My sister can’t go home, my sister is dead… It’s not fair. My family is not satisfied with 12 years.”

As expected Islan’s’ death sparked outrage among LGBT rights advocates in New York and across the country.

Learn more about Islan’s story in tonight’s episode of Justice By Any Means at 9pm EST.

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