May 26, 2022 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

Venice Pride Festival and Parade Around the Corner

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Live music, DJ sets, Sunday parade and more come to Venice Beach Recreation Center June 4 & 5  By Staff...

Trans Fans Praise Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Auntie Diaries’ Track

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

By Susan Payne “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,” by Kendrick Lamar wrestles big issues, but his track “Auntie Diaries”...

LGBTQ Center Long Beach to Host Final Do Say Gay Workshop Friday

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

By Susan Payne Join LGBTQ Center Long Beach this Friday for its final Do Say Gay art workshop that explores...

California Trans Child Molester Faces New Kern County Murder Charge

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

By Susan Payne After authorities recently charged Hannah Tubbs in connection to a 2019 robbery, the convicted 26-year-old trans child...

Happening Now: West Hollywood’s LGBTQ+ Arts Festival

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

By Susan Payne Happening now through the end of June, WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival celebrates the artistic contributions of...

Alcohol a Factor in Griffith Park fatal Hit and Run of Senior Gay Cyclist

May 13, 2022

May 13, 2022

77-year-old Andrew Jelmert killed in April 23 hit and run training for AIDS/Lifecycle By Susan Payne The Los Angeles Police...

Kaiser Permanente Hospitals Receive LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader Designation

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

Kaiser Permanente’s 15 hospitals recognized by Humans Rights Campaign  By Susan Payne This year, Kaiser Permanente’s 15 hospitals in southern...

‘Match the Stars’ During MisMatch Game Performance Benefitting the LGBT Center

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

By Susan Payne An unstoppable comedy phenomenon is set to reach a $200,000 goal in money raised for the Los...

Confidential Settlement Made With Many LGBTQ Students at USC Over Alleged Doctor Misconduct

May 5, 2022

May 5, 2022

More than 80 former patients accuse Dr. Dennis Kel of sexual battery, harassment and inappropriate remarks By Susan Payne In...

Audio Meets Reality in ‘Being Trans’ Podcast Series Showcasing the Lives of Four Transgender Individuals of the LA Area

May 5, 2022

May 5, 2022

Through narrative-style storytelling, BEING Studios gives listeners an intimate, first-person access into the worlds of people they may not otherwise...

Orange County Man Faces Federal Charge on Suspicion of Making Anti-LGBT Threats Against Merriam-Webster

April 29, 2022

April 29, 2022

Jeremy Hanson of Rossmore charged in connection to October threats  By Susan Payne  An Orange County man faces a federal...

Palm Springs Approves Universal Income Pilot Program for Transgender, Nonbinary Residents

April 29, 2022

April 29, 2022

Payments to start in 2023 By Susan Payne A guaranteed income pilot program that would provide transgender and nonbinary residents...

Nobel Laureate and Education Activist Malala Yousafzai to Speak in Beverly Hills

April 28, 2022

April 28, 2022

May 15, 2022 at Saban Theatre Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel recipient and activist for education and equality is coming...

Compton Man Arrested for Allegedly Targeting, Robbing 20+ Gay Men He Met on Grindr

April 24, 2022

April 24, 2022

By Susan Payne Authorities have announced the arrest of a Compton man who allegedly targeted and robbed more than 20...