March 3, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Another Trans Victim from Dating App Robbery

By Jorge Paniagua

Jessica Jean nearly became part of a growing statistic after downloading the popular LGBTQ+ dating/sex app Grindr.

Violence against transgender people continues to be a daunting issue within the LGBTQ+ community. Los Angeles, alone, recorded a nearly 13 percent increase in hate crimes toward LGBTQ+ people and black community members last year, as reported by The Los Angeles Times.

Yet, there are many transgender people who come face-to-face with assailants and live to tell their story. Jessica-Jean de la Vega, a youth education advocate for a Los Angeles-based trans health clinic, is one of them. 

De la Vega had downloaded the notorious LGBTQ+ dating/sex app, Grindr. She, like so many other LGBTQ+ people who frequent the app, was looking forward to simply meeting someone for a casual connection. However, she never expected to invite an assailant over — one with the intention to rob as much as he could. 

Before inviting the man over, De la Vega did not pick up on any red flags during their exchange on Grindr.  

“It was a totally normal conversation,” De la Vega said. “We had a full-blown conversation — pictures were sent, we talked to each other, there wasn’t anything assuming. He had mentioned he was on the DL — I said that’s fine. He sent me his actual photos. Everything matched when he got here.”

After the man made his way into De la Vega’s home, he violently pushes her down and pulls out a gun. “Value your life,” the assailant said while pointing his gun toward her.

“There’s like a sense of security you expect from being on this app that’s targeted toward queer people,” De la Vega said. “You don’t expect that to happen.”

The assailant stole De la Vega’s phone, wallet and even went as far as taking the flat-screen television in the living room, which belonged to her roommate. 

Yet, De la Vega feels fortunate that the altercation didn’t escalate to violent heights. If she hadn’t complied with his requests, she fears she might have become a part of a statistic already growing at an alarming rate. 

In 2018, 26 transgender people lost their lives by means of brutal violence. So far, in 2019, there have been more than 10 transgender people who have been murdered — many such as Dana Martin, a 31-year-old black transgender women, were fatally shot. Martin was found dead in her car — having lived her final moments in a roadside ditch somewhere in Alabama, according to Human Rights Campaign. 

“I’m really fortunate,” De la Vega said. “Someone else, two weeks later, was robbed by the same person. She got physically hurt, I did not.”

The person that De la Vega is referring to is Luna Lovebad, a 28-year-old transgender Latinx women with a career in music. Lovebad performed a musical set at LA Pride, the day after she was robbed by two men at gunpoint. According to Lovebad, after re-downloading the app in the weeks following the assault, she was messaged by an anonymous profile. The message read: “You was broke anyways bitch. Should’ve shot yo dumb ass,” as reported on her Instagram account.

“I think we face a lot more violence, just in general,” De la Vega said. “I mean we constantly see how many trans women have already died this year. And then, on top of all of the trans violence, they just have funeral services for trans woman in our community — it’s like we constantly face this.”

De la Verga remained off of Grindr immediately following the incident. However, she recently re-downloaded the application. Her reasoning: she deserves to live her life. Moreover, she believes it’s, oftentimes, difficult for LGBTQ+ people to date, or connect for casual fun, without the help of queer apps such as Grindr. 

However, she does admit that she is much more cautious about who she meets over the app.

“There are so many different things that can lead to violence [for transgender people],” De la Vega said. “Whether it be from Grindr, whether it be from anywhere else. You have to look at the disparities that transpeople face versus cis-folk. Because it’s not just trans women, it’s every person that falls outside of the gender binary that this happens to.”

De la Vega recently installed a security camera inside of her apartment — it directly faces the front door and is linked in real-time to her cell-phone. She says it makes her feel safer following such a traumatic incident. 

Related Posts

AI-Generated Classmate Nudes: Beverly Hills Students Face Investigation

March 1, 2024

March 1, 2024

School District Says Potential Expulsion for Involved Students An investigation is underway after authorities discovered that students at a Beverly...

Owasso Police Correct Assumption That Fight Did Not Cause Nex Benedict’s Death

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

Police Releases Three Videos, Including One of a Nex Benedict Hospital Interview An incorrect assumption has spread that Nex Benedict,...

Hollywood Prepares for 96th Oscars: Street Closures and Traffic Updates Revealed

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ceremony to Close Local Streets The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,...

FTC Takes Legal Action to Block $24.6 Billion Kroger-Albertsons Merger

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

Largest Proposed Supermarket Merger Faces Antitrust Allegations The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to block Kroger...

Discover Alcohol-Free Wine and Spirits at The New Bar West Hollywood

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

West Hollywood’s Sober Space for Curated Tastings & More A haven for those seeking an alcohol-free social experience, The New...

Leap Day Brings Once-in-Four-Year Deals at Popular Restaurants All Day Long

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’, and More Roll Out Special Offers to Mark the Occasion Leap Day, that rare additional day occurring...

Sweet Lady Jane’s Social Media Tease Continues As Locations Sport Hiring Notices

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Mysterious Posts Leave Fans Eager for the Return, But Questions Linger By Dolores Quintana After resurfacing on social media, the...

(Video) Pro-Palestine Protest at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Protesters were there to protest the arrival of U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi Counter-protesters drove by in a car. @centurycitywestwoodnews Pro-Palestine...

West Hollywood Authorities Seek Public’s Help to Identify Suspect in Assault with Deadly Weapon

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Second Suspect in Assault on Security Ambassador on Santa Monica Boulevard Still at Large Detectives from the Los Angeles County...

Hollywood Royalty to Shine at 96th Oscars: First Wave of Star-Studded Presenter Lineup Unveiled

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Incredible Lineup of Actors and Previous Oscar Winners Announced Executive producer and showrunner Raj Kapoor, along with executive producers Molly...

Vote Smart, Vote Early: Streamlining Your 2024 Presidential Primary Experience in L.A. County

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Skip the Lines and Save Time – Your Guide to Early Voting Options  In preparation for the upcoming 2024 Presidential...

(Video) Heartfelt candlelight vigils in Westchester and West Hollywood for Nex Benedict

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

The non-binary 16 year old student with Choctaw ancestry died in Owasso, Oklahoma after being beaten by three older high...

Sweet Lady Jane Sparks Hope of Return – Popular Bakery Hints at Reopening Across LA

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

After Abrupt Closures, Beloved Bakery Hints at a Comeback, Leaving Fans Intrigued  Sweet Lady Jane, a Los Angeles cake bakery...

30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Recognize Outstanding Performances in 2023

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

SAG Awards Celebrate Excellence in Motion Pictures and Television The prestigious Screen Actors Guild Awards® celebrated the excellence in motion...

Waymo’s LA Expansion Hits Roadblock: CPUC Temporarily Halts Self-Driving Company’s Plans

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

California Public Utilities Commission suspends Waymo’s service expansion for 120 days. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has put a temporary...