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Three trans women identified victims of Oakland fire

Cash Askew, one of the victims from deadly Oakland "Ghost Ship" fire.
Photo credit:
Kristin Cofer

In the wake of the Oakland warehouse fire tragedy, it has been learned that three transgender women have been identified so far among the estimated 36 victims taken by the blaze. 

The fire broke out Friday night at the "Ghost Ship" warehouse in Oakland, California, as Golden Donna 100% Silk were performing their set.

Flames quickly engulfed the warehouse which officials now believe was an extremely unsafe environment.

Feral Pines (top left), Cash Askew (bottom left) and Em B (middle left) are among the transgender victims identified, and according to reports, they were just getting their lives started for bigger things both personally and professionally.

Pines moved from Indiana to the Bay area to escape much of the judgments of that state and enjoy some of the freedoms and acceptance of Northern California.

She was beginning the process of changing her name legally; a course of action that can take a long time even in liberal California.

Longtime friend Scout Wolfcave told The Guardian that Pines was the happiest she had ever seen the musician.

“I had never seen her more full of light and possibility,” said Wolfcave.

Cash Askew, 22, from the band Them Are Us Too was an LGBT advocate who helped many people, encouraging them to be themselves through music and the arts.

“She was really honest and courageous,” said Oakland curator Tiare Ribeaux.

Em B, 33, was a Southern California emigrant, and her father told the Guardian she had just recently said, “Dad, at last I feel at peace," after the move. 

A candlelight vigil was held in San Francisco on Tuesday at the Harvey Milk Plaza to honor the trans lives who perished in the disaster.

“The fire was horrendous,” said the Rev. Cameron Partridge to SF Gate, “and we’re realizing increasingly that there were a number of trans folks there that were part of our community.”

Many people have voiced concern about the trans community and other LGBT people having to distance themselves from what is supposed to be an inclusive environment saying trans folks have no other affordable places to live and flourish and often times find themselves in unsafe places. 

“It’s sad that we are still faced with living like this in the 21st century. There is still so much more work to be done.” said Tracy Garza, a board member at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.