xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Death sheds light on transgendered community

April Green. Or "Miss Dee." Or Darren Neal Green Jr.

Regardless of the name, or the sexual orientation, Green died a violent death on the streets of Baltimore, the type of death that unfortunately too too often goes unnoticed, drowned out in other violence.

She was a prostitute, and may have been killed by a man she picked up, but that is just one of many possible motives, and the commentators posting notes on the store are speculating when they suggest her "trick" for the evening discovered the "she" was really a "he" and killed her.

Advertisement

We don't know why Green was killed, and attempts by the reporter, Jessica Anderson, to find relatives of the suspect were unsuccessful. Green's family, however, should be commended for sharing a troubling story about someone who lived on society's edge but should not die forgotten.

If anything, we should about Green because we see people just like that all the time. They congregate in lower Charles Village, in the historic Old Goucher neighborhood, where last year I wrote about the residents' frustrations and then hung out with some of the transgendered to learn why they come to this spot what they go through each night. From today's story:

Advertisement
Advertisement

Here is a sampling of those stories:

East 21st Street between Charles and St. Paul, 11 p.m. on a recent night: a rat scurries across an alley; a motorcyclist clad in leather revs his Harley outside a Hells Angels clubhouse; a man wearing high heels, a halter top and a red-and-white striped miniskirt saunters by.

Up the street, another man dressed as a woman - wearing nothing more than shoes, a T-shirt and a thong that reveals, well, almost everything - stands outside the stone edifice of Lovely Lane United Methodist Church.They're on the streets and on the corners, arguing, fighting, competing for customers and tricks, loudly talking on cell phones to pimps and to drug dealers, and they've turned the Old Goucher part of Lower Charles Village, Calvert and St. Paul and the side streets in between, into an all-night outdoor sex shop.

Fed-up homeowners have written the mayor and the cops and each other, sharing horror stories of being kept up at night by the shouts of the workers, being propositioned as they head off to work at 6 in the morning, and the stuff they find when daylight comes: used condoms and drug needles.

"I'm tired of being picked up on ... every time I go out and sit on the steps on St. Paul," wrote one woman. "The first time a guy asked me if I was working, I didn't even know what he was asking. I said, 'Yea, I work, I'm a nurse.'"

And from the working girls:

Nicole wanted to be a lawyer but instead, at the age of 23, is "on the stroll" on Calvert and on East 21st streets, at 1 a.m. this past Saturday, searching for the next trick. "She" is a "he," working the Old Goucher neighborhood in Lower Charles Village, an area notorious for liaisons with transgender prostitutes.

Nicole's story is typical - parents addicted to heroin, grandparents to alcohol, dropped out of high school at 17, sexually confused, hit the streets as a teenager to be sold to older men, robbed, raped, battered and abandoned. Nicole's story is also atypical - rents an apartment, stays away from drugs and raises two younger siblings."I'd do anything to stay off Calvert Street," Nicole says, only to quickly call it "my home away from home."

Nicole agreed to talk to a reporter (using her street name only) while working East 21st Street after being approached by Cydne D. Kimbrough, an advocate for the city's transgender community and director of a nonprofit group called Gender Learning Advocacy Support System of Baltimore.

Kimbrough, who lives in Old Goucher, was handing out condoms, advising the workers on health issues and trying to steer them away from streets where homeowners have complained about the influx of men barely dressed as women working as prostitutes, being loud, using profane language and littering front steps with dirty drug needles and used condoms.

There is another side to this nightly ritual that has lowered the quality of life for people living here, and that is the workers' sad tales of abuse, being used by pimps and rejected in virtually every part of society, even among many gays and lesbians. "We are the lowest of the low," said Monica Stevens, 55, who helps Kimbrough and says she kicked her lifelong drug habit and got off the streets 10 years ago.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement