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Trans teen murder "not a hate crime" says Texas County Sheriff

Ally Lee Steinfeld
Photo credit:
Ally Lee Steinfeld - Facebook

Editor's note: this article contains disturbing details of a crime, and may be upsetting to some readers. 

America and the LGBT community are still reeling from the brutal murder of trans teen, Ally Lee Steinfeld in Missouri whose burned remains were found in a garbage bag near a chicken coop earlier this week.

Andrew Vrba, 18, admitted to police that he gouged out Steinfeld’s eyes and eviscerated her genitals with the aid of four accomplices. But these details still do not constitute a hate crime according to Texas County Sherriff James Sigman

“You don’t kill someone if you don’t have hate in your heart,” he said. “But no, it’s not a hate crime.”

Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. agrees, “I would say murder in the first-degree is all that matters.”

He adds: “But no, it’s not a hate crime.”

Briana Calderas, James T. Grigsby, and Isis Schauer have all be charged in connection with the murder.

According to New Now Next, the state of Missouri does have stiffer penalties for violence in, “which the state believes to be knowingly motivated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability of the victim or victims.”

Despite the definition above, Missouri authorities do not believe the act was motivated by hate. LGBT organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign don't agree, saying they will never stop trying to end attacks against the LGBT community.

“This violence, often motivated by hatred, must come to an end,” said HRC’s Chris Sgro. “We will continue to mourn Ally and fight back against transphobia and anti-trans violence.”

Ally, 17, had only recently come out as trans on Instagram, “I am a trans male to female and I am mostly lesbian but pansexual,” she wrote in May. “I am proud to be me, I am proud to be trans. I am beautiful I don’t care what people think.”

Ally's parents, Amber and Joseph knew of her sexual identity and acknowledge that she, "identified as female," but still use male pronouns in press interviews. 

Said one contributor to the GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral services:

"I'm sorry for the loss of, Ally Lee Steinfeld.

In order to respect Ally's wishes is to refer to her as she would've wanted and I know it's got to be hard for parents to process that part of their child but the last thing to do is unintentionally disrespect, Ally.

Ally is the 21st Transgender Murder victim this year. This is a problem and we need to start showing the world that Transgender people are beautiful people worthy of a happy life and if we can't even get past the name they chose to go by, we'll never get anywhere.

I noticed Ally's Mom calling her. "Joey" and my "son". Ally was born Joey by her parents choice because Of Ally's genitalia. Of course that's okay but when one comes out to say they know they were born in the wrong body, pray to learn to accept things we may not be able to understand and God forbid if monsters murder them, respect who they said they were.

It's the least we can do as a community."