DETROIT – The murder of 19-year-old Shelly “Treasure” Hilliard (Moore) Oct. 23, 2011 sent shock waves through the transgender community in Detroit. Her torso had been decapitated, burned and stashed underneath a mattress.
People who knew Shelly, including her family, were vocal with their love and support of the young victim. The investigation progressed quickly and two men are in prison for the attack, which happened after Hilliard was involved in a police sting against one of the men. The outpouring of emotion continues as documentary filmmakers Natasha “T” Miller and Dream Hampton are producing a film about her life, her family, and the crime that took her life. The film is called TransParent, and the Kickstarter campaign to fund it already has over $12,000 of the $30,000 needed to make the film a reality.
“It’s important to share Shelly’s story if nothing else, humanize her,” Miller said. “We are not just telling a story about a death, we are telling the story of a beautiful life, of a woman who had family, who loved, who was loved, who had friends; a woman who smiled, and danced, and was just as important as any other human being on this earth.
“It’s also important that we, the LGBTQ community and allies, use our platforms to share the stories that so often go untold, of our own. The world needs to start hearing about all of the Shelly Hilliards of the world, and we all need to find some action to take to protect their community, our community.”
Miller, like so many in Detroit’s LGBT community, got word of the murder through a shocked phone call from a friend. “I was walking down an aisle at a grocery store in San Diego around 6 p.m., and a friend from Detroit called my phone to ask me if I had already heard about the case,” she said. Her heart ached at the news, and she wanted to do something. For the past 16 months she’s been following the case, and for the past eight she’s been talking with Hilliard’s mother, and even one of the men in prison for the murder.
“Both murderers are in prison. James Matthews, one of the suspects has received a 25-50 year prison sentence and is in constant contact with us, the filmmakers telling his version of the story. His voice, from a conversation we had with him from prison, is featured in the trailer for TransParent,” Miller said.
The film also features interviews with other members of the transgender community, showcasing issues of discrimination and other challenges these women face.
Miller and Hampton will be part of the Hotter Than July film festival, with a special presentation July 25. More information on the festival can be found at http://hotterthanjuly.org/htjfilmfestival.
Those who want to contribute towards the documentary can do so at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tmillerpoetry/transparent-the-story-of-loss-in-a-community-misun?ref=live.
For Previous Stories See:
Murder Silences a Treasure, 11/10/2011
Detroit Police arrest suspect in Shelly Moore Murder, 12/15/2011