Nov. 20 marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, designated to honor transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been lost to anti-LGBTQ violence.
The honorary day was created by trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 after Rita Hester, a transgender woman, was murdered in 1998. At least 22 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been killed in the U.S. in 2019, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group.
“Every year, we still find ourselves with a list of people who have been violently murdered for simply being themselves,” Smith wrote for HuffPost in 2012. “This day we mourn our losses and we honor our precious dead ― tomorrow and every other day, we shall continue to fight for the living.”
Violence against the trans community has been an ongoing epidemic. The life expectancy for transgender women of color in the U.S. is 35 years old; it’s about 78 years old for their cisgender counterparts. The number of known trans and gender non-conforming deaths was at an all-time high in 2018 with 26 recorded deaths, according to the HRC, which steadfastly tracks anti-trans violence.
Below are the 22 trans and gender non-conforming people ― the overwhelming majority of whom are Black transgender women ― known to have been killed in 2019.
1. Dana Martin
Dana Martin, a Black transgender woman, was found shot to death in a car in Montgomery, Alabama, on Jan. 6. The Montgomery Police Department deemed Martin’s death a criminal homicide and opened an investigation. Initial local reports identified Martin, 31, by her dead name ― her given name before she identified as a woman.
2. Jazzaline Ware
Jazzaline Ware, a Black transgender woman, was found dead in her apartment in Memphis, Tennessee, in March. Many of the case’s details are unknown but Kayla Gore, a southern regional organizer for Transgender Law Center at Southerners On New Ground, said Ware’s death was being investigated as a homicide.
“Right now, our community in Memphis is mourning the death of Jazzaline Ware, a Black trans woman and beloved friend. Trans women of color, especially Black trans women, are the targets of violence on the streets simply for existing,” Gore said in a March statement.
3. Ashanti Carmon
Ashanti Carmon, a Black transgender woman, was found shot to death on a street corner in Fairmount Heights, Maryland, on March 30. Carmon, 27, had been shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are still investigating the death as a homicide.
Donshia Predeoux, a friend, described Carmon as bright and vivacious to The Washington Post. Predeoux said Carmon loved to dance and was always cheerful.
The Post reported that Carmon was a sex worker. She left behind her fiance, Phillip Williams.
4. Claire Legato
Claire Legato, a Black transgender woman, was shot in the head in Cleveland on April 15 after a fight broke out between her mother and suspected shooter John Booth. Legato, 21, died from her injuries on May 14.
Booth was arrested and charged with felonious assault.
5. Muhlaysia Booker
Muhlaysia Booker, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Dallas on May 18. Booker, 23, had been the victim of a brutal attack a month prior in which multiple men beat her up while someone recorded the assault on a camera phone.
Friend Jessica Anderson described Booker to The New York Times as having “a heart of gold.”
“She didn’t want to experience all of this tragic stuff, but she wanted everyone to pay attention to the injustice,” Anderson added.
Kendrell Lavar Lyles was arrested and charged with Booker’s murder in June. Lyles was also charged with two other counts of murder for allegedly killing two other transgender people.
6. Michelle “Tamika” Washington
Michelle “Tamika” Washington, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Philadelphia on May 19. Washington, 40, was found with several gunshot wounds to her body and was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital.
“Anytime I get those phone calls and text messages [about a trans death] it’s extremely hard but even more so when you realize it’s someone you have known and been friends with for 20 years,” Washington’s friend Deja Lynn Alvarez wrote on Facebook. “Your memory will live and light will shine on through us.”
Troy Bailey, 28, was arrested and charged with the murder days after Washington’s death.
7. Paris Cameron
Paris Cameron, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Detroit on May 25 in a home on the city’s east side. Alunte Davis and Timothy Blancher, two gay men, were also fatally shot in the attack. An additional two other victims were shot but survived. Local reports initially identified Cameron as a man.
“This case illustrates the mortal danger faced by members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community, including transgender women of color,” Fair Michigan President Alanna Maguire told The Detroit Press at the time.
Devon Robinson was arrested and charged with killing Cameron, Davis and Blancher. He faces three counts of first-degree murder, in addition to a slew of other charges.
8. Chynal Lyndsey
Chynal Lindsey, a Black transgender woman, was found dead in Dallas on June 1. Dallas police reported “obvious signs of homicidal violence” and investigated Lindsey’s death as a murder.
“It’s devastating,” Lindsey’s cousin told local news outlet WFAA. “This was a person that I had never seen mad… I just can’t see anyone hurting [her].”
Ruben Alvarado was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in Lindsey’s death on June 20.
9. Chanel Scurlock
Chanel Scurlock, a Black transgender woman, was found shot to death in Lumberton, North Carolina, on June 5. Police and local news outlets initially misgendered Scurlock, 23, and identified her by her dead name ― her given name before she identified as a woman.
“You lived your life as you wanted,” friend Kandice Stigger wrote on Facebook. “I’m proud of you for being unapologetically correct about your feelings and expectations of YOU.”
Javaras Hammonds was arrested later that month and charged with first-degree murder in Scurlock’s death.
10. Zoe Spears
Zoe Spears, a Black transgender woman, was found shot to death on a street corner in Fairmount Heights, Maryland, on June 13. Spears, 23, was killed in the same area as her friend Carmon had been in March.
Spears was “very bright and very full of life,” friend Ruby Corado, the founder and executive director of Casa Ruby, told the HRC. “Casa Ruby was her home. Right now, we just want her and her friends and the people who knew her to know that she’s loved.”
“My Zoe had a lot of people who loved her, and I was the main one,” Corado added. “I was her number one fan. I love her so much.”
Gerardo Thomas was arrested in July in connection with Spears’ murder.
11. Brooklyn Lindsey
Brooklyn Lindsey, a Black transgender woman, was found dead at an abandoned house in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 25. Lindsey, 32, showed clear signs of trauma to her face, although the cause of death was not reported.
“She was outgoing, happy-go-lucky. She always liked helping people, doing what she can. She would do anything for anybody,” friend Raven Johnson told BuzzFeed News.
Marcus Lewis was arrested in July and charged with second-degree murder in Lindsey’s death.
12. Denali Berries Stuckey
Denali Berries Stuckey, a Black transgender woman, was found shot to death in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 20. Multiple local news outlets used Stuckey’s dead name, calling her by her given name before she identified as a woman.
“She was a free spirit. She was very outspoken,” family friend Ron’Rico Judon told ABC News. “If you didn’t like the fact that she was trans, she would give you a piece of her mind.”
Dominick Archield turned himself in and was charged with Stuckey’s murder in August.
13. Tracy Single
Tracy Single, a Black transgender woman, was found dead at a gas station in Houston on July 30. It took almost two weeks for authorities to identify Single.
“Rest in power and peace Tracy,” Monica Roberts, a friend and Houston-based transgender advocate, wrote. “You were taken away from us way too soon.”
Single’s boyfriend, Joshua Dominic Bourgeois, was arrested and charged with her murder in August.
14. Bubba Walker
Bubba Walker, a Black transgender woman, was found dead in Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 30 after being reported missing on July 26. Walker, 55, was discovered burned beyond recognition in the remains of a house that had been set ablaze in late July. The cause of the house fire was undetermined
″[Walker] was a kind soul,” friend Clarabelle Catlin told Planet Transgender. “She was always smiling and was a people person. She lit up everywhere she went and everyone loved her.”
Local media outlets initially misgendered Walker and identified her by her dead name — calling her by her given name before she identified as a woman.
15. Kiki Fantroy
Kiki Fantroy, a Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Miami on July 31. Fantroy, 21, was found with multiple gunshot wounds and died at a hospital.
“My baby ain’t hurt nobody. My baby, my baby. Please help bring justice to my baby,” Fantroy’s mother Rhonda Comer said.
William Watson was charged with Fantroy’s murder in August.
16. Jordan Cofer
Jordan Cofer, a transgender man, was one of the nine people killed in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 4. Cofer, 22, was only out to a handful of close friends, the HRC said.
“Jordan was my closest friend,” an anonymous friend of Cofer’s told Splinter News. “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, but he was also very scared constantly. He tried to give the best to everyone.”
Cofer was initially misgendered and identified by his given name before he identified as a man.
17. Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe
Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, a Black transgender woman, was found dead from gunshot wounds in Allendale County, South Carolina, on Aug. 4. “[Doe] always been a friendly person to everyone. The joy of anyone’s life,” family member Barbara Kolberg told local outlet WJBF.
Doe, 24, was initially misgendered and identified by her given name before she identified as a woman.
18. Bailey Reeves
Bailey Reeves, a Black transgender teenage girl, was shot and killed in Baltimore on Sept. 2. Reeves, 17, was found with multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to a hospital where she died from her injuries.
Reeves’ brother, Thomas Reeves, told The Baltimore Sun that his sister “was a person who lived her life to the fullest.”
19. Bee Love Slater
Bee Love Slater, a Black transgender woman, was found dead in a torched car in Lewiston, Florida, on Sept. 4. Her remains were so badly burned that it took investigators several days to identify her through dental records.
Slater’s best friend, Kenard Wade, told CBS News that Slater had a “really, really good heart.” “She would never harm anyone, never put anyone in harm’s way,” Wade said. “How could someone go to that extreme to get rid of her?”
Multiple outlets identified Slater by her dead name ― her given name before she identified as a woman ― citing information from the sheriff’s office. Jameson Richemond was arrested in September in connection with Slater’s murder.
20. Jamagio Jamar Berryman
Jamagio Jamar Berryman, a Black gender non-conforming person, was found shot to death in Kansas City, Kansas, on Sept. 13.
“Ja’leyah-Jamar didn’t ask for this life,” cousin Adriana Sanders wrote on Facebook. “No one can control WHO they love. God made us to live and love and to grow.”
Berryman left behind his 5-year-old daughter, Ja’Mya.
21. Itali Marlowe
Itali Marlowe, a Black transgender woman, was found shot to death in Houston on Sept. 20. Marlowe, 29, was shot multiple times and found by law enforcement in the driveway of a local house.
Raymond Donald Williams was arrested and charged with Marlowe’s murder in October.
22. Brianna “BB” Hill
Brianna “BB” Hill, a Black transgender woman, found shot to death in Kansas City, Missouri, on Oct. 14. Hill, 30, was pronounced dead when police arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting.
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