Ke’Yahonna Stone has tragically become the 51st trans or gender non-conforming person to be killed in America this year.
Content warning: This story may include topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable.
Stone, who was from Indianapolis, Indiana, was just 32-years-old at the time of her death on 28 December.
According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the victim was at a nightclub on Christmas Day when she tried to break up a fight in the venue’s car park.
The situation quickly escalated, resulting in Stone being hit in the head by one of the shots being fired.
She passed away after spending two days on life support.
Police continue to investigate the incident, with Latroya Rucker, a friend of Stone who was there at the time of the incident, stating that the victim was “breaking up a fight, trying to defuse a fight that was going on. My sister didn’t have nothing to do with nothing that was going on out there.”
Stone was known by friends and family for her LGBTQ+ activism and was even about to start work at a local trans resource centre – something which will now never happen.
“Losing any member of our community is tragic and it is compounding when they are actively advocating for the betterment of all transgender people,” said Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative.
Cooper continued: “Stone was wholeheartedly invested in helping other trans folks like herself and was about to embark on a new professional path that would have furthered her activism. We need activists like Stone. I hope this tragedy inspires others to take the helm she left behind.”
The HRC tracked violent fatal incidents against transgender and gender non-confirming people throughout 2021, with the year being the most violent since records began in 2013 due to a total of 51 fatalities.
According to the HRC, in 2020 approximately seven in ten transgender and gender non-conforming people killed as a result of fatal violence were killed by an acquaintance, friend, family member or intimate partner.
2021’s first recorded violent killing of a trans person was 28-year-old Tyianna Alexandra, who was fatally shot on 6 January.
Galop is an LGBTQ+ charity there for those who have experienced abuse or have been the victim of a hate crime. They can be contacted Monday to Friday from 10am-4pm on 0207 7042040 or at HateCrime@galop.org.uk. You can find out more about them here.