Shade SchulerAge 22
29 Jul 2015
Dallas, Texas (USA)
TDoR list ref: tgeu/not reported/Shade Schuler
Shade's decomposing body was found on a vacant field along a short residential street between Stemmons Freeway and Harry Hines Boulevard. Her exact date of death is unknown.
As temperatures again began to stretch toward 100 degrees on July 29, 2015, Dallas police were called to a vacant field along a short residential street between Stemmons Freeway and Harry Hines Boulevard.
Someone had found a corpse that had been left for so long beneath the summer's sun, investigators were unable to determine the victim's race. The body had only faded tattoos, among them a heart bearing the name "Willie" on the right shoulder and the name "Shade" inked on the right calf.
When police issued a news release a week later, they said the deceased wore a blue-and-white cotton tube top with straps, blue shorts, a black wig, sunglasses. Also: "The victim had false fingernails with what appeared to be diamond studs on them with pink tips."
Cops, too, identified the corpse as male. And in the days that followed, that would become a point of much dispute between police and transgender-rights activists who added the name Shade Schuler to the list of transgender women killed in Dallas.
After police asked for the public's help solving the case, Schuler's murder became a headline here and abroad. Buzzfeed News, the U.K. newspaper The Guardian and the Human Rights Campaign's blog were among those to sound the alarm about the trend, the uptick, the sickening and long-running crisis that was finally coming to our attention.
Chaaz Quigley, Schuler's cousin and an LGBT activist, told The Guardian in August 2015 that he worried Shade's death would remain unsolved — "thrown under the table," he said, "just because of who Schuler is." Messages sent to Quigley on Monday went unanswered.
But as time has passed, Schuler's name faded. The murder of "Ms. Shade," as trans activists called her, remains unsolved. Just another cold case.
In death, Schuler became a symbol. And then, a statistic.
What had been sensational and terrifying only four years ago has vanished, for most, into a relentless news cycle that grinds yesterday's horror stories into the ho-hum. That is especially true when those stories involve people shoved to the furthest edges of society, out of sight and out of mind. Those are those ones we must struggle to remember. Because they are the ones that most demand our attention.
TvT project: The Guardian 13.08.2015 & Washington Blade 12.08.2015