In September 2017, a transgender teen named Ally

In September 2017, a transgender teen named Ally Steinfeld was murdered in Cabool,
Missouri. The 17 year-old was found with her eyes gouged, her genitals stabbed, and her body
burned. At the time of the murder, Ally was living with her girlfriend, Briana Calderas, and two
other people in a trailer. Andrew Vrba, a roommate, confessed to initially trying to kill Ally with
poison before resorting to torturing and stabbing her. All three of Ally’s roommates were
charged in connection to her murder and another person, James Grigsby, faced lesser charges for
helping to dispose of Ally’s remains. Surprisingly, the authorities have chosen not to prosecute
this as a hate crime. Dru Levasseur, director of a nonprofit organization that fights for civil rights
for the LGBT community, stated “There couldn’t be a more vivid example of someone being
targeted because of their gender identity than being stabbed in their genitals. I’ve heard complete
outrage from trans people about how they (authorities) could not prosecute this.” Cases like this
have increased awareness about the outbreak of violence towards transgender people during the
past few years in America and caused many to demand justice for transgender victims and their
Ally Steinfeld’s case is most closely related to the social-conflict approach, an approach
that focuses on inequality and conflict within society. Theories that stem from this approach
include the Marxist or “class conflict” theory. Karl Marx believed that society had the ability to
end human suffering, but the structure of a capitalist society with unequal wealth distribution
meant that only a few enjoyed the wealth from technological advances and industrial innovation
while many went without. Another theory is the multicultural theory, which states that social
issues are a result of racial and ethnic inequality in society. Lastly, the feminist theory works to
achieve equality between men and women. This theory centers on the many disadvantages
women face in a society where men often dominate.
The feminist theory is most closely related to Ally Steinfeld’s murder. This theory
focuses on inequality between citizens of a society based on gender. According to the feminist
theory, women suffer more poverty than men and are subject to prejudice and discrimination.
This is because women tend to lose career and education opportunities to men. When given the
choice between equally qualified men and women, society tends to give positions of power to
men over women and widens the unequal divide between the two genders. Although the
opportunities for women have increased drastically compared to past centuries, women still face
many disadvantages. They tend to have lower wages than their male counterparts and often make
up the majority of workers in low-paying jobs.
Those who subscribe to this theory would explain that Ally Steinfeld, a 17 year-old
transgender, was subject to discrimination both as a woman and as a transgender person. About
80 percent of the murders of transgender people in 2017 were women. In addition, Ally was
living in poverty and shared a small mobile home with 3 other people. Women are more likely
than men to live in poverty and transgender people are more than four times likely than the
general population to earn less than 10,000 dollars a year and are also unemployed at twice the
rate of the general population. Ally also faced violence and eventual death from a man, Andrew
Vrba. As a transgender woman, Ally Steinfeld was subject to significant disadvantages and
struggles. However, her death and the deaths of other transgender people have caused an outrage
among many Americans. They call for a change and through increased awareness and
government support, the inequality that women and transgender people face might one day
become a problem of the past.


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