Update (October 10, 2019): Since this article was originally written, NewNowNext has obtained new information about Ja’leyah-Jamar. Family and community members have clarified that Ja’leyah-Jamar was a gender nonconforming man, not a trans woman. The headline of this story has been updated accordingly, and we apologize for the error.
LGBTQ activists in Kansas City, Kansas, have identified a recent murder victim as a transgender woman.
According to The Kansas City Star, police launched a homicide investigation into the shooting death of a young victim last Friday, September 13. The victim, who was unnamed by police but died of gunshot wounds at a nearby hospital, was said to be in their 20s.
Update on 9/13/19 homicide pic.twitter.com/TG84phzIjO
— Kansas City, Kansas Police Department (@KCKPDChief) September 13, 2019
Initially, authorities identified the victim as a man. But locals claim the victim in question was misgendered and is actually Ja’leyah-Jamar, a black trans woman, The Advocate reports. In a Facebook post, Adriana Sanders, Ja’leyah-Jamar’s cousin, posted a tribute to her slain family member:
Ja’leyah-Jamar didn’t ask for this life… No one can control WHO they love God made us to live and love and to grow… It’s not our fault as a Transgender woman or a homosexual man to want to live a normal life… wanting to be in love have a family build your own legacy and because a Man could not accept who he was as himself and individual he felt the need to take my cousin’s life.
Ja’leyah-Jamar is the 19th known transgender American to lose her life to anti-transgender violence in 2019 alone. Of this year’s victims, the vast majority (18) were black trans women. LGBTQ advocates nationwide have described the high numbers of fatal hate-motivated incidents as an epidemic against transgender Americans.
This is an epidemic. https://t.co/4CNUDvgjdF
— Zach Stafford (@ZachStafford) September 16, 2019
Of the 19 transgender Americans reported murdered this year, 18 have been black women, including Ja’leyah-Jamar. https://t.co/BmKjLJfb33
— zellie (@zellieimani) September 17, 2019
Like Ja’leyah-Jamar, more than half of those victims (at least 14) were under the age of 30 when they were killed—including 23-year-old Bee Love Slater of Clewiston, Florida, who was found dead less than two weeks ago.
Police have released photos of a suspect wanted in connection with Ja’leyah-Jamar’s murder, including identifying information about his car. Anyone with information related to the homicide is asked to contact the Kansas City Police TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).