Family members, LGBT community react to death of transgender woman

Family members, LGBT community react to death of transgender woman

HATTIESBURG, MS - A transgender woman from Hattiesburg was found stabbed to death in a hotel room on the Gulf Coast this weekend.

Family members are grieving the loss of Dee Whigham.

"Everything just hit me and I started crying and couldn't do anything but cry," said Malisha Whigham, Dee Whigham's cousin.

Malisha Whigham said she remembered when Dee used to watch her in Quitman, Mississippi, when she was a young girl.

"He was a really nice person who had no hatred in his heart," Malisha Whigham said.

Malisha Whigham said these characteristics made her the perfect nurse at Forrest General Hospital. She was only working there for about six months.

"It was too early for anyone like that to go," Malisha Wigham said.

Unfortunately, violence like this is common in the transgender community. The National Coalition of Anti-violence reported in 2013 that 72 percent of violent homicides were transgender women

One transgender woman from Hattiesburg, Kaylee Bradshaw, is looking for ways to better protect people in the LGBT community.

"It just makes me wonder, like at one point could I be next or I could be next at any point so like yea, (I'm) definitely a little scared," Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said she wants to change this by creating support groups for transgender individuals.

"In times such as these, we definitely need to learn self defense, just how to even have that battle buddy that you let know where you are going," Bradshaw said.

The Spectrum Center also plans on hosting a candle light vigil to raise awareness about violence toward the LGBTQ community.

"Things like this happen to remind you that people like you that are different are always going to be at risk," Spectrum President Nathan Martin said.

However, despite this horrible event, Malisha Whigham said she knows her cousin is in a better place and is watching over her.

"I love him and if there is any way that he could come back, he can go ahead and make that trip," Malisha Whigham said.

Surviving relatives said Dee Whigham identified as a woman, but had not undergone any kind of gender reassignment surgery.

The Spectrum Center will hold a candlelight vigil for Dee Whigham Tuesday at 7 p.m. The center is located on South 25th Avenue in Hattiesburg.