Chanel Scurlock has become the ninth black trans woman to be killed in the United States this year, and the fifth within the past month.
The body of the 23-year-old was found just after midnight on Wednesday (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 Scurlock’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.”
Scurlock is the ninth transgender casualty this year in the United States, after Muhalysia Booker, Dana Martin, Jazzaline Ware, Ashanti Carmon, Claire Legato, Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington, Paris Cameron and Chynal Lindsey.
Transgender women in the United States 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.
The Human Rights Campaign has offered guidelines for journalists and those in the media who report on “transgender and gender expansive people” in the “pursuit of accuracy and respect” – see here.