Transgender women face a Harsh reality of violent assaults — and mistreatment BY police

Reyes got into the back seat of Randy Lee Parkerson’s silver Honda, which he’d parked on a residential street in Santa Ana. Parkerson, 40, was having his own troubles. He’d just lost his job as a “team leader” at Target and went on a methamphetamine bender, smoking so much of the drug it kept him awake for six continuous days. Parkerson, who did not consider himself bisexual, told police that when high, he preferred male partners. He and Reyes, he claimed, went from oral to anal sex and she asked to have her airway restricted. While he choked her, he told police, wrapping his right arm around her neck and holding her hair with his left hand, Reyes would “grab his hand or she would make some noises, which would cause him to stop, but then Zoraida would say, ‘No, no, keep going, go, go.

When it was over 10 minutes later, Parkerson claimed, he noticed blood around Reyes’s nose and realized she was dead.

Story by Danielle Shapiro

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On the last day of her life, Zoraida Reyes had a choice: take the bus or walk to meet her blind date. Her favored method of getting around, a bright yellow bicycle that friends called the banana boat, had been stolen, and she’d never learned to drive. So she set out on foot on June 10, 2014, a mild, overcast day in southern California, from her rented bedroom in a modest ranch-­style home in Santa Ana, having arranged to meet a man she met on, the social networking site.

Only it wasn’t really a date. Reyes, a 28­-year-­old transgender woman, planned to connect with the man because he’d agreed to pay her $10 for oral sex. Tall and slender with wavy black hair and chiseled cheekbones, she had the legs of a model and a prominent Adam’s apple, of which she was especially self-conscious. Paid sex helped her get by. Reyes, a prominent local LGBTQ activist, had worked at fast­-food restaurants until getting hurt on the job at a Jack In the Box, but she hoped to return to her studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. On most Tuesday nights, she attended meetings for transgender Latina women at the LGBT Center Orange County.