Mel Groves, a trans student from Mississippi is remembered for his "generous heart'

Mel Groves is the 39th transgender victim reported dead this year. But the family of Mel Groves wants people to know

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Mel Groves, a 25-year-old studying soil and plant science in Alcorn State University in Jackson, Mississippi, was the ideal tree hugger, as his acquaintance Que Bell recalled.

Bell and Groves came into contact through a common acquaintance. They were able to link together because they were all Black transgender men of about the same time. Bell told me that once the landscaping was in his backyard and Groves pulled him back before the trimming began. tree.

"He was like: 'No, no, you shouldn't do this. This is going to hurt the tree. Then I thought"OK, let's get again to drawing boards. Let's find something that's healthy for us, and also beneficial for the tree.'" Bell said, laughing. "He cared about everything, especially plants."

On the 11th of October. 11 Groves took himself off into Merit Health Central, a hospital in Jackson and then collapsed in front of his vehicle, Jackson police said. He was shot several times. Hospital staff members took his body to University of Mississippi Medical Center in the afternoon, where he passed away in the afternoon.

Groves family members said reports are reducing his existence to a mere statistic The family said he is the 39th transperson who has been killed in this year, and the most fatal in history for trans individuals as per the Human Rights Campaign, which has been monitoring fatal trans-related violence since the year 2013. The family members said that his story demonstrates the way that law enforcement and the social safety nets are failing trans individuals, but they also stress that he was not simply a figure in a growing tally.

In a memorial service on Sunday the people who knew Groves spoke of his extensive knowledge of plants and the "generous heart" and a smile that inspired people to speak to Groves.

A memorial service was held in memory of Mel Groves in Jackson, Miss. in the last week.

A memorial service was held for Mel Groves in Jackson, Miss., last week.Courtesy TC Caldwell/The Knights and Orchids Society.

Apart from studying botanical sciences, Groves was also a farmer for the Knights and Orchids Society, an organization located within Selma, Alabama, that prioritizes helping those in the Black trans and gender nonconforming communities. Bell the executive director of the organization Bell stated that Groves helped to create an initiative for community gardens following a donation from a donor. The day before his death the garden manager was set to be appointed the full-time garden director for the society.

Bell told me that they were joking that Groves simply was looking to "play in the dirt." In the years since his death Bell stated that one of Groves former professors has approached him to tell Groves about the crucial research Groves carried out in the field of the field of plant science. Another professor has told Bell that Groves often texted Groves questions about plants and that he was in awe of Groves to become a colleague someday.

"I'm just thinking that wasn't even his best," Bell declared. "That was him doing in spite of dealing and fighting all the other obstacles he had to fight through. Imagine how much he could've added to the advancement of technology science, and to agriculture in the event that he was stable and had the chance. You'll never have the chance."

Since they came together in the year 2016 Bell explained that Groves has been homeless a lot of times. His family members were not supportive when he announced he was trans, and he also experienced harassment and discrimination at the college. Groves has also stated that he frequently faced discrimination from doctors.

A dangerous system

Sam Brown, the public information officer of The Jackson Police Department, said there was no evidence of evidence that Groves were killed as a result of an act of violence against women.

However, his family members affirm that his trans person can be dissociated from his demise. Caleb Gumbs, the mutual friend who bonded Groves and Bell Bell, has read online comments that state, "Do we actually know that he was killed for being trans?"

"And that made me really think about, wow, is that really what it takes for us to understand the systems that are at play that have ultimately led to his murder, whether or not it was directly related to him being trans?" Gumbs added.

Gumbs had a relationship with Groves when they were just 19 years old. Gumbs was 26 on the day Groves passed away. He described it as jarring and revealing, as Groves and Groves had "parallel lives." They both came from families that weren't affirming. attended the historically Black schools in southern Alabama that offered full-ride scholarships, and were both close in the same age group.

"At every turn, the difference between us was so small," said Gumbs who is a Ph.D. pupil in the field of pharmaceutical research from Florida A&M University. "Everything that took place to me was a minor change and distinction just a more acceptance, a bit more luck. Then, the huge gap between us."

He stated that Groves had frequent homelessness, however he wasn't able to visit shelters, as many trans individuals report experiencing violence.

"If he didn't feel like the streets were his only option available to him, I truly do believe things would have been different," Gumbs declared.

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In a posting to Medium in which he said that Groves "embodied resilience" but the transphobic culture as well as racism and cissexism which is a less obvious type of discrimination that is that is based on gender and sex and led to his death.

"That same system that did ultimately kill him really could have killed me and still can," Gumbs stated.