November 20, 2017 marks the 19th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day designated for remembering trans people who have lost their lives to anti-trans violence throughout the year. So far in 2017, at least 25 trans people have been victims of fatal violence in the US alone, according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign. This number marks an alarming high, and there have likely been additional victims never reported.
The new report notes that the majority of fatal violence against trans people is committed against women and people of color: 84 percent of trans people killed this year were people of color, and 80 percent were women.
The increased killing of trans people this year comes at a time when 16 states considered anti-trans bathroom bills, and when many states still do not include gender-motivated crimes among hate crimes. The Trump administration has also been openly hostile to trans people. In October, the Justice Department declared that workplace anti-discrimination laws do not apply to transgender employees, and earlier in the year, president Donald Trump reinstated a recently lifted ban on openly trans people serving in the military. A court has partially blocked the president’s reinstatement of the ban.
To remember and honor those who were lost to fatal anti-trans violence in 2017, here are the 25 trans individuals named in HRC’s report.
Mesha Caldwell was 41-years-old when she was killed on January 4 this year. Caldwell, a hair stylist and makeup artist, was shot to death near Canton, Mississippi, the Advocate reported. Evonne Caho, who had once lived with Caldwell, told the Advocate, “She was always happy and she was always smiling and she always had something good to say to everyone.”
sean ryan hake
Sean Ryan Hake was 23 years old when he was fatally shot by police in Sharon, Pennsylvania on January 6, just two days after Caldwell was killed. Police arrived to Hake’s mother’s home after a 911 call to report an assault, Penn Live reported at the time. Police shot Hake multiple times, killing him, and Hake’s family later sued the Sharon Police Department for civil rights violations and excessive use of force, the Sharon Herald reports.
jamie lee wounded arrow
Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and identified as two-spirit and transgender. Wounded Arrow was 28 years old when she was found dead in her apartment on January 6, according to the Advocate. Wounded Arrow was also a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, worked in customer service, and studied social work and nursing. Twenty-five-year-old Joshua Rayvon LeClaire was charged with Wounded Arrow’s murder in January.
Jojo Striker was found dead from a gunshot wound in her garage at the age of 23 on February 8 in Toledo, Ohio. Striker was initially misgendered in media reports of her death, Mic reported at the time. Shanda Striker, Jojo’s mother, told local news station WTOL that Jojo was loved by her family, and called her death a “hate crime.” A local trans woman and advocate for trans rights, Phaylen Fairchild, told Mic that the community was shaken by Jojo’s killing: “This is the struggle with a lot of transgender women. They’re looking for a place for acceptance and looking for peace of mind.”
18-year-old Jaquarrius Holland was found dead in Monroe, Louisiana on February 19. Like many trans people who are killed, Holland was also misgendered in initial reports of her death, and it was not known by the public at large that she was trans until her family and friends corrected initial reports, according to HRC’s report. According to a local report, Holland and Malcom Derricktavios Harvey had a “verbal altercation,” after which Holland was shot. HRC reports that Harvey is awaiting trial for second-degree murder.
Tiara Richmond, who also went by the name Keke Collier, was 24 years old when she was fatally shot in Chicago on February 21. Richmond was taken to the hospital after being shot in a car multiple times by a man who was in the car with her, and was initially listed in “stable” condition, but was later pronounced dead, DNAInfo Chicago reported at the time. Twenty-six-year-old Retta Collins, who was friends with Richmond, told the Chicago Tribune that Richmond “loved to dance all the time.” HRC’s report states that Chicago police still do not have any leads for Richmond’s killer.
Chyna Gibson was a 31-year-old ballroom dancer, and was fatally shot on February 25 in New Orleans. Gibson was in town visiting family and friends and for a scheduled performance during Mardi Gras festivities when she was killed, according to HRC’s report. The 31-year-old performer had been living in Sacrament, and the Sacramento Bee reported at the time that vigils were held for Gibson in Texas, where she also had friends and fans.
A witness to 26-year-old Ciara McElveen’s killing said she was stabbed in New Orleans on February 27, according to the HRC report, only two days after Chyna Gibson was also killed in New Orleans. McElveen was still alive when she was taken to the hospital, but later died due to the injuries. Loved ones held a vigil for McElveen in early March, according to NOLA.com, where she was remembered as “a fun and loving person.” HRC also states that McElveen worked with homeless people in her community.
Thirty-eight-year-old Alphonza Watson was shot and killed in Baltimore, Maryland on March 22. Local newspaper City Paper reported that witnesses heard cries for help before hearing multiple gunshots fired, then saw two men speed away from the scene where Watson was fatally shot in the stomach. After her death, the Baltimore Transgender Alliance held a vigil for Watson. Peggy Walker, Watson’s mother, told the Baltimore Sun that Watson went by the nickname “Peaches,” adding: “She was a very caring, passionate, fun person to be around, always in a talkative and playful mood.”
Kenne McFadden was 27 years old when she was found dead in San Antonio, Texas on April 9. Initial reports of her death both misgendered her and called her death a drowning, but police later declared her death a homicide, according to the HRC report. A longtime friend of McFadden’s told the San Antonio Current that McFadden “always kept us smiling and laughing.” The Current reported that McFadden loved to sing and write poetry.
Chay Reed was 28 years old when she was fatally shot in the stomach while running across the street in Miami, Florida on April 21. Quinae’ Donnell, a friend of Reed’s told the Miami Herald that she loved to dance. The Herald also reported that friends remembered Reed as funny and always fun to be around.
Kenneth Bostick was 59 years old when he was fatally struck in the head with a metallic object in New York City on May 7. According to the Village Voice, Bostick had been homeless for much of the last decade, and was a familiar presence in his neighborhood. Bostick struggled with mental illness, according to the Village Voice, and those who knew him said that he had a sense of humor and could sometimes be playful. A social worker Bostick was close to told the Village Voice, “He used to say to me, ‘Slow down. Don’t work so hard. Act like you’ve had some tequila.'”
Sherrell Faulkner was 46 years old when she was died in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 16, succumbing to injuries from an attack on November 30. Faulkner’s body was found near a dumpster in an LGBTQ-friendly part of Charlotte after an apparent attack, according to LGBTQ Nation. The HRC report states that Faulkner was remembered by loved ones as “hilarious” and “genuine,” and was very religious.
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Kendra Marie Adams, who also went by Josie Berrios, was found dead on June 13 in Ithaca, New York. Democracy Now! reported that Adams’ body was found with burns on it near a construction site. Adams was a local performer and a founding member of the Ithaca drag theater, House of Merlot, according to the HRC report. Forty-five-year-old Michael A. Davis, who reportedly had a personal relationship with Adams, was charged with her murder and also with arson charges, according to the Ithaca Journal.
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Ava Le’Ray Barrin was only 17 years old when she was fatally shot in Athens, Georgia on June 25. The Atlanta Journal Constitution, which also used Barrin’s given name in reports of her death and initially misgendered her, according to the Daily Beast, reported that Barrin was shot in the chest by 21-year-old Jalen Breon Brown. The HRC report states that Barrin’s friends remembered her as a “social butterfly” and “unapologetically real,” and also loved to make her friends laugh.
Twenty-eight-year-old Ebony Morgan was shot multiple times in Lynchburg, Virginia on July 2. Morgan was taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead. Following Morgan’s killing, the Lynchburg Transgender Alliance posted to Facebook: “This is a sad day for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community of Virginia. And a very sad day for us in Lynchburg,” local news News and Advance reported. Kenneth Allen Kelly, Jr., 22, was arrested for Morgan’s killing, according to local news WBDJ.
TeeTee Dangerfield was 32 years old when she was fatally shot in College Park, Georgia on July 31. Dangerfield’s body was found with multiple gunshot wounds near her car outside of her apartment. According to HRC’s report, Dangerfield was a server and worked in a union shop, and had recently bought a home. She was well-liked by her friends and co-workers, according to HRC.
gwynevere river song
Gwynevere River Song was 26 years old when they were killed in their home in Waxahachie, Texas on August 12. Song used “they” pronouns and identified as bisexual, according to the Advocate, and was shot to death when an argument at her home escalated. HRC’s report states that Song’s mother called them “incredibly smart.” Song graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015.
Kiwi Herring was 30 years old when she was shot and killed by police in St. Louis, Missouri on August 22. Herring was married and had three children. Herring was killed by police after allegedly stabbing her neighbor at a barbecue, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. HRC’s report notes that Herring’s family has said that the neighbor Herring was accused of stabbing was transphobic. A vigil held for Herring by local LGBT groups made headlines after a vehicle drove into the crowd and caused minor injuries to some of the mourners. Kiwi’s nephew, Nicholas Herring, told the Post-Dispatch that Kiwi was “kind, caring and hilarious.”
kashmire nazier redd
Twenty-eight-year-old Kashmire Nazier Redd was stabbed and killed by his partner in the apartment they shared on September 5 in Gates, New York. Redd’s partner, 40-year-old Doris Carrasquillo, has been charged with first degree manslaughter in Redd’s death. Redd ran out of the apartment and collapsed on the front lawn before police arrived to the scene, and was pronounced dead later at the hospital, according to the HRC report.
Twenty-six-year-old Derricka Banner was found shot to death in a car on September 12 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Montavious Sanchez Berry, 18, was arrested in connection to Banner’s death, according to HuffPost. Denise Helton, who was Banner’s godmother, would speak to Banner on the phone daily just to say “I love you,” according to HRC’s report.
17-year-old Ally Steinfeld was fatally stabbed in early September. Steinfeld was stabbed in many parts of her body, and then her body was burned in Cabool, Missouri, which is in the Ozarks, according to the Kansas City Star. Steinfeld had only recently come out as trans, and was killed by a group of people. Three people were charged with Steinfeld’s murder and one more person was charged with lesser but related crimes relating to Steinfeld’s killing. Steinfeld’s death was not ruled a hate crime. Maria Carma, Steinfeld’s partner said she was “sweet, kind, loving and caring,” according to HRC’s report.
Twenty-one-year-old Scout Schultz was fatally shot by a Georgia Tech Police Department officer on September 16 in Atlanta, Georgia. Schultz, who was a student at Georgia Tech and president of the school’s Pride Alliance, identified as non-binary and intersex and used they pronouns. Officer Tyler Beck fatally shot Schultz while they were apparently suffering from a psychiatric crisis, according to local news WSB-TV. Police initially said Schultz was wielding a knife, which was later identified as a multi-tool, according to CBS News.
Stephanie Montez was 47 years old when she was shot multiple times and killed near Robstown, Texas on October 21. HRC’s report notes that Montez was initially misgendered by police, who called Montez “a man in a dress.” Montez’s friend of about 30 years, Brittany Ramirez, told the Caller-Times that she “was one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet” and loved to dance.
30-year-old Candace Towns was fatally shot and found at the top of a hill near the home where she had been staying in Macon, Georgia, on October 31. Local paper the Telegraph noted that Towns had been shot before in 2009, only a couple of blocks away from where her body was found in October. Malaysia Monroe, a close friend of Towns, told the Telegraph that Towns was a very generous person, saying, “If I needed anything she would give it to me. She would give me the clothes off her back.”
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