Remembering the 21 trans individuals who have been killed in the US in 2019

This year, 21 trans individuals have been tragically murdered in the United States.

Transgender women in the United States in particular face extraordinarily high levels of violence. Last year, 26 trans individuals were killed in the country – a majority of which were black and Latina – and 25 of those were women.

Of course, these are only the murders that have been officially documented, and have taken place in the United States – it’s likely that there are many more undocumented murders of trans individuals elsewhere in the world.

While activists around the world fight for trans equality and acceptance, it’s also important to remember the members of the community who have tragically lost their lives, often at the hands of intolerance and bigotry.

Dana Martin, 31

Dana Martin was the first transgender casualty in the United States in 2019. The 31-year-old was found in a vehicle in Montgomery, Alabama on 6 January with bullet wounds, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Meta Ellis, director of LGBTQ advocacy organisation Montgomery Pride United, said: “Our community is devastated because the murders going on — especially of trans people of color — are just happening more and more often and very little is being done about it. And here in Alabama we don’t have laws that support hate crimes against people of other genders.” The crime is still being investigated.

Jazzaline Ware

Although the death of trans woman Jazzline Ware occurred back in March, details of her death are scarce. However, it is being investigated as a homicide. We’ll keep you updated when further details are known.

Ashanti Carmon, 27

Ashanti Carmon was murdered in the early hours of Saturday morning on 30 March outside Washington, DC in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Ashanti lost her life the day before Trans Day of Visibility after suffering multiple gunshot wounds in Fairmount Heights. No arrests have been made, and her case will be handled by the Prince George’s County Police. Philip Williams – Carmon’s fiancé – told News4: “Until I leave this Earth, I’m going to continue on loving her in my heart, body, and soul. She did not deserve to leave this Earth so early, especially in the way that she went out. She did not deserve that.”

Claire Legato, 21

Claire Legato, a 21-year-old black transgender woman, was shot on 15 April in Cleveland, Ohio, after an argument with her mother’s 61-year-old boyfriend, John Booth, the suspected shooter. He has been charged with felonious assault. Claire was taken to the hospital and treated for her injuries, but died one month later on 14 May. “Our hearts, minds, and condolences are with Claire’s chosen family, friends, and community in this time of tragedy,” said Aaron Eckhardt, director of LGBTQ organisation BRAVO. “We at BRAVO are saddened and remain outraged as our communities continue to be repeatedly targeted, and we remain steadfast in providing services to the LGBTQI communities of Ohio. We must continue to come together as a broad community of support to say hate has no home in Ohio until hate has no home anywhere.”

Muhlaysia Booker, 23

23-year-old black transgender woman Muhlaysia Booker was found dead on 18 May. Dallas police officials responded to a call in regards to a shooting shortly before 7am, and later found Muhalysia “lying facedown in the street, deceased from homicidal violence”. Muhlaysia’s murder came just a month after she was brutally attacked by a mob of homophobic men, who repeatedly punched and kicked her in the street because of a minor traffic accident. On 5 June, a 34-year-old man called Kendrell Lavar Lyles was arrested by Dallas police in connection with the murder and two other non-trans killings.

Michelle Washington, 40

Michelle Washington was fatally shot in the US on 19 May. Authorities responded to reports of gunshots being fired in the Franklinville neighbourhood in North Philadelphia, where Michelle was later found with several bullet wounds. Michelle was then transported to Temple University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The police have no suspects and the cause behind her death is unknown, according to Philadelphia Gay News. Transgender activist and candidate for Philadelphian City Council, Deja Lynn Alvarez, paid tribute to her friend – who was also known by the name Tameka – with a moving post on Facebook. “Was notified by police early this morning of another trans woman of color murdered here in Philadelphia around 5 a.m,” she wrote. “Anytime I get those phone calls and text messages it’s extremely hard, but even more so when you realize it’s someone you have known and been friends with for 20 years. Your memory will live and light will shine on through us.”

Paris Cameron, 20

20-year-old Paris Cameron was one of three homicides in Detroit on 25 May. Alunte Davis, 21, and Timothy Blancher, 20, two gay men, were found dead at the scene whilst Paris was found with bullet wounds. She was later taken to the hospital and died from her injuries. HRC National Press Secretary, Sarah McBride, said in a statement: “It is horrifying and heartbreaking that the three victims killed in Detroit last month were allegedly targeted because they were LGBTQ. The epidemic of hate violence that targets people of color and LGBTQ people, particularly Black trans people, is an urgent crisis. Our policymakers and leaders must do more to ensure the safety and dignity of every person in our country.”

Chynal Lindsey, 26

Chynal Lindsey’s body was found in White Rock Lake on 1 June in Dallas with “obvious signs of homicidal violence”. To help with their investigation, the Dallas Police Department enlisted the help of the FBI due to the death of trans activist Muhalysia Booker in the state last month. Officials raised concerns of a potential serial killer in the area. “The Dallas Police Department has reached out to the FBI because as we know, this is the second individual who is transgender, who is deceased in our community,” said Chief U. Reneé Hall during a press conference. “We are concerned, we are actively and aggressively investigating this case and we have reached out to our federal partners to assist us in these efforts. We are asking each and every one of our community members to stay vigilant. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings, make sure your friends and family members know who you are with at all times and let individuals know where you are going.”

Chanel Scurlock, 23

The body of Chanel Scurlock was found just after midnight on 5 June in a Lumberton field in North Carolina, after authorities responded to reports of multiple gunshots in the area. Although few details of the crime have been made public, the Robeson County police department told a local news outlet that they have “great leads” in their investigation and are “working diligently to bring closure to a grieving family.” One of Chanel’s friends grieved her death on Facebook, writing: “RIP baby. Chanel Scurlock You lived your life as you wanted. I’m proud of you for being unapologetically correct about your feelings and expectations of YOU.”

Zoe Spears, 23

Black transgender woman Zoe Spears was found in the street near Eastern Avenue in Fairmount Heights, and was later pronounced dead at the scene. She was killed in the same area as Ashanti Carmon, who was reportedly a close friend of the 23-year-old. There is currently no evidence to suggest both murders are linked. Transgender advocate and friend, Ruby Corado, paid tribute to Zoe on Facebook after learning of her death. “It hurts,” she said. “I want to make sure that people see what happens when our people are gone. I want you to see that this is real consequences, that when these people get killed, they had somebody that loved them.”

Brooklyn Lindsey, 32

32-year-old black transgender woman Brooklyn Lindsey was found dead on the porch of an abandoned house in Kansas City in Missouri on 25 June. Her death is being treated as a homicide. “I love you, Brooklyn Lindsey,” said a friend of Lindsey’s on social media. “I shall live on for you. Rest in power, sista.” In a statement, the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project said: “We must support one another and create a strong foundation to end the senseless violence against us all! We MUST get justice! We MUST end the silence around this black trans violence!”

Denali Berries Stuckey, 29

Denali Berries Stuckey was fatally shot in North Charleston, South Carolina, on 20 July. The body of the 29-year-old was found around 4am in North Charleston, according to local news reports. The North Charleston Police have no suspects at this current time and the investigation is still ongoing. Chase Glenn, Executive Director of Alliance for Full Acceptance, an LGBTI organization in South Carolina, said: “I am heartbroken and outraged by the news of yet another murder of one of our transgender community members. Denali is the third known black trans woman to have been murdered in South Carolina since 2018.”

Kiki Fantroy, 21

Kiki Fantroy was found in the early hours of 31 July with multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department. She was taken to a hospital and died of her injuries. Her murder is not believed to be a hate crime, although her mother, Rhonda Comer, has stated that she was targeted because of her gender identity, telling the Miami Herald: “This feeling is indescribable. The pain. The void. You know that feeling after losing a child and you losing a child for no apparent reason. Because she’s gay. And my understanding, you know, my understanding was she was killed because of her desire to be a woman.”

Jordan Cofer, 22

Transgender man Jordan Cofer was identified as one of the victims of the shooting in Ohio. Jordan was only out as trans to a handful of close friends and was remembered as “extremely bright” and “well-liked”. A friend of Jordan’s, who chose to remain anonymous, told Splinter News over Twitter: “He identified with he/him pronouns to people he trusted and knew would support him. Jordan was probably one of the sweetest people you would ever meet, a true saint. He tried to give the best to everyone.” Jordan was the sibling of shooter Connor Bennets, and was the first victim of the mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon district that tragically took the lives of nine people and left 27 wounded.

Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, 24

Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, a 24-year-old Black transgender woman, was also murdered in South Carolina on 4 August. Doe’s body was found in a car parked in a driveway in Allendale County with multiple gunshot wounds. The police currently have no suspects, and are urging anyone with information to come forward. She was remembered by friends and family as someone who “showed love” and had a “bright personality”.

Tracy Single, 22

22-year-old black transgender woman Tracy Single was killed in Houston on 30 July. Her body was found in a gas station; it took nearly two weeks for local authorities to ID her. LGBTQ activist Dee Dee Watters organised a town hall meeting, which finally led to Tracy being identified. Houston’s law enforcement are calling for witnesses because there are currently no suspects in the case. Anyone with information should call the Houston Police Department Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477. “Rest in power and peace Tracy,” said trans advocate Monica Roberts. “You were taken away from us way too soon.”

Bailey Reeves, 17

Bailey Reeves lost her life after she was shot multiple times in Baltimore on 2 September. The Baltimore Sun reported that the 17-year-old was leaving a party with friends on Parkwood Avenue, where neighbours later heard sounds of screams and gun shots. Over 50 people attended a vigil for Bailey on 6 September, where they chanted “enough is enough”. Iya Dammons, executive director of the LGBTQ+ group Baltimore Safe Haven and organiser of the vigil, told Out Magazine: “I know I speak for all trans women when I say that we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Transgender women not only here in the DMV but around the country and around the world are regularly subject to violence, brutality, mistreatment, ridicule, and violence.”

Bee Love Slater, 23

Bee Love Slater, a 23-year-old black transgender woman, was found 4 September in Florida after being tied up, shot and burned to death in a car. In an interview with NBC2, Bee’s friend Desmond Vereen said she was potentially targeted because of her gender identity. “She loved to be around people and meeting new people too because of her new lifestyle that she transitioned into,” she said. “I feel like she was targeted because of her lifestyle.”

Ja’leyah-Jamar

Ja’leyah-Jamar was murdered on 13 September. According to local activists, Ja’leyah-Jama – who was the parent of a five-year-old daughter – was shot to death in Kansas City. Activist Merrique Jenson wrote: “Another Black trans woman was killed in Kansas City this weekend! Kansas City is one of the epicenters of violence towards trans women of color, particularly Black trans women, in this country! I encourage agencies with social, political and financial power to do something about this.”

Itali Marlowe, 29

Itali Marlowe, a black transgender woman, was murdered in Texas on 20 September. The 29-year-old was shot multiple times in Southwest Houston and was found by authorities in a driveway. Marlowe was later transported to the nearest hospital and despite the paramedics’ best efforts, she was pronounced dead. Police identified 23-year-old Raymond Donald Williams as the prime suspect in the murder. He was reportedly living with Marlowe at the time of her death. If you have information on his whereabouts, contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

Brianna “BB” Hill, 30

Brianna “BB” Hill was shot to death in Kansas City, Missouri on 14 October. The 30-year-old black transgender woman was pronounced dead as soon as authorities arrived. Tim Hernandez of Kansas City police told KCTV5 that the shooter remained at the scene and has now been taken into custody. Authorities believe there were no other suspects in her murder. George Cherry, who lives near where the crime occurred, told KCTV: “I’m actually part of the LGBTQ community, but I didn’t know that it was a transgender [person] that was murdered. But that actually hits more home to me. That’s part of my family because we are out here, we are trying to survive and people take action against us, nationwide. They are human beings. Quit the violence. This shouldn’t be happening to the LGBTQ community.”

If this story has affected you, you can contact Switchboard in the UK and The Trevor Project in the US.

Related: Remembering the 26 trans individuals who were murdered in the United States last year.

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