June 30, 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

Santa Monica’s Building Bridges Art Exchange Presents: J.J. Martin’s “Role Models”

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

A traveling exhibit in partnership with Indianilla Cultural Center, Mexico City and Real de Catorce Cultural Center, Real de Catorce,...

Los Angeles Frenchie Reaches Record Age Milestone for Its Breed, Surpassing Recent Life Expectancy Report by Three Fold

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

Learn about Rocco the French bulldog  By Susan Payne Native to Brazil, Rocco the French bulldog has reached an age...

44 Years Later, MLB’s First Openly Gay Player Glenn Burke Now Celebrated by Dodgers

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

Glenn Burke celebrated at Dodgers Pride night By Susan Payne The Los Angeles Dodgers’ ninth annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night celebrated...

The Book Jewel Celebrates Pride Month as a Community

June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022

Westchester bookstore hosting series of events this month The Book Jewel in Westchester is hosting several events this month that...

A Staple Tamales Vendor’s Truck Was Stolen. Friends of the Vendor Are Asking for LGBTQ+ Support to Bring Back Her Only Source of Income

June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022

By Susan Payne For nearly 16 years, a 52-year-old single mother of two has been serving the Los Angeles LGBTQ+...

LGBT Center Welcomes Incoming CEO Joe Hollendoner

June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022

By Susan Payne In an in-person sustaining donor event last November, longtime Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean for the...

Culver City Pride Ride and Rally Around the Corner

June 14, 2022

June 14, 2022

Sunday, June 26, 2022, 9 AM Pride Ride | 11 AM Rally Culver City’s second ever Pride celebration is set...

Police: Catholic High School Football Players Sexually Assault New Student

June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022

By Susan Payne Months of controversy over an alleged hazing scandal at a private high school in Santa Ana have...

Media Matters: Anti-Trans Violence Increases as TV News Coverage Drops 20%

June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022

By Susan Payne A report released by Media Matters’ LGBTQ Program found that national cable and corporate broadcast TV networks...

Oil Can Harry’s Named Historic-Cultural Monument

June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022

By Susan Payne For its historic and social significance to San Fernando Valley and the LGBTQ+ community, Oil Can Harry’s...

Music of Queen Preformed by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles at Fairmont Century Plaza

June 7, 2022

June 7, 2022

Free event June 18th at 7p.m. To celebrate PRIDE the Fairmont Century Plaza located will host an incredible performance by...

SaMo PRIDE Returns!

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

Month-long Pride celebration brings together community, families and LGBTQIA+ supporters of all ages SaMo PRIDE has returned! The city-wide celebration...

Rainbow on Royce Hall for Pride 2022

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

To mark the beginning of Pride Month on June 1, UCLA lit up one of its iconic buildings to acknowledge...

Pride Is Here. Here’s What You Can Expect in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Los Angeles and Long Beach

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

By Susan Payne West Hollywood Pride: With Liberty, Diversity, Inclusion and Progress for All As California enters Pride month, WeHo...