McALESTER, Okla. — Not even a full day into the new year, a transgender man has been killed in McAlester, Okla.
The Tulsa World reported that Dustin Parker, 25, was found dead in the driver’s seat of the taxi he had been driving on Wednesday. The newspaper reported that the taxi had been hit by multiple gunshots.
“We’ve still got investigators out running down leads right now,” said Capt. Kevin Hearod of the McAlester Police Department. “(Parker was) just a working man, making a living for his family, and he didn’t get to come home.”
The World reported that Parker had been a founding member of local LGBTQ rights group Oklahomans for Equality McAlester. The organization was running a fundraiser to pay for an emergency fund for Parker’s family on their Facebook page. As of Thursday evening, $33,000 of $50,000 had been raised. A candlelight vigil was planned for Friday night.
Hearod told the World that as of Wednesday evening, investigators hadn’t found any evidence to suggest that Parker was targeted because he was transgender.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said in their post about Parker’s killing that they believed his was the first transgender murder of 2020. They are also following the death of a trans woman in Washington, D.C. on on Dec. 29.
In November, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2019.” The HRC said that at least 25 trans people, the most of them women and people of color, were killed in 2019.
Oklahoma does not include LGBTQ people in anti-discrimination legislation, including hate crimes.