The founder of the Miss Trans America Pageant was found stabbed to death in her Massachusetts home on Friday. Mark Steele-Knudslien, 47, has been charged in the murder of his wife, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, after confessing to the crime. He is being held in the Berkshire County Jail without bail.
Police say that they did not know of any history of domestic violence between the couple.
Christa Leigh was an active transgender advocate, founding both Miss Trans America and Miss Trans New England. She married Mark last summer and posted publicly about her marriage on Facebook, even as recently as December 25, 2017: “Had a AMAZING Christmas with hubby & great friends,” she wrote. “Hopefully yours was as AMAZING.”
Police have not yet released information about a motive, though her death is believed to be the first reported homicide of a trans American in 2018.
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien is the 1st known transgender person to be killed this year.
Violence against transgender people, especially trans women of color, must receive more national media attention.https://t.co/9NtNsvCRRU
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 8, 2018
In 2017, at least 27 transgender Americans were murdered, making it the deadliest year on record for the transgender community.