Remembering the Transgender Americans Killed in 2019

Transphobic violence is at epidemic levels in the United States and abroad.

Violence against members of the transgender community in the United States has reached epidemic levels. Last year, at least 25 trans or gender non-conforming Americans—mostly trans women of color—lost their lives. Paired with the Trump administration’s repeated attacks on the protections and freedoms of trans people, these facts should serve as both a call to action and a moment of reflection for all of us—gay or straight, cisgender or transgender.

Much of the media coverage of these victims fixates on the brutal circumstances of their deaths. Below, we highlight the lives they lived, share the words of the people they touched, and #SayTheirNames loudly and clearly.

Please note: This is a living document and will be updated accordingly as new information comes to light. For more information about the perils of hateful rhetoric and anti-transgender violence, visit the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Dana Martin, 31

Dana Martin lived in Montgomery, Alabama, and is remembered by members of her local LGBTQ community. Dana was killed at the start of the new year, on January 6. (She was misgendered in initial reports of her death.)

“She was a person that was loved by many, and you can see it all over Facebook,” said Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd, founder of the non-profit Transgender Advocates Knowledgeable Empowering (TAKE).

“Dana Martin was a well-loved person in the community and she will be greatly missed,” shared Meta Ellis and Harvey McDaniel, of Montgomery Pride United, in a statement to NBC.

Friend Cruz Burnett told Out Martin was “a very private, sweet person,” who liked listening to Aaliyah and watching her favorite movies: Friday and The Players Club.

“Everybody liked Dana and the people that didn’t like her just didn’t know her. Dana was very quiet and reserved for the most part, very easy to get along with and mild-mannered.”

Jazzaline Ware, Age Unknown

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Jazzaline Ware, a black transgender woman living in Memphis, Tennessee, was found dead in her apartment this March. According to the Transgender Law Center, local police are investigating her death as a homicide.

In a call to Tennessee lawmakers to shoot down the state’s “Slate of Hate” anti-LGBTQ bills, Kayla Gore, southern regional organizer for Transgender Law Center@Southerners On New Ground, remembered Jazzaline:

When our elected officials shout from the mountain tops that trans and gender nonconforming people should have less access to public resources and fewer rights as cisgender people, anti-trans violence increases. 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. For that to change, the Slate of Hate must be stopped in the capitol building in Nashville.

Ashanti Carmon, 27

Ashanti Carmon lived in Maryland, and was found deceased on the border of Washington, D.C., on the morning of March 30, on the eve of International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Earline Budd, a local transgender activist, reported the community was “stunned” by the news of Carmon’s passing, adding, “I’ve been getting calls all day about this murder.”

Carmon was engaged, and was well liked by the community, which held a vigil in her memory. Friends described her as being full of joy and kind to others.

“[She had] so much motivation, passion, and [was] just very driven to actually be somebody,” friend Tia Corry said at her vigil, WUSA9 reports.

Claire Legato, 21

Claire Legato passed away in Cleveland, on May 14, from injuries sustained on April 15. The 21-year-old was mourned with posts on social media, with many remembering her as being “full of life,” according to HRC.

“Love you, cousin,” wrote one individual. “I’m hurt, sad, angry all in one. Fly high.”

Friends and family also honored her with a balloon launch, according to a post on a Cleveland remembrance page.

Muhlaysia Booker, 23

Muhlaysia Booker made headlines earlier this year for the courage she showed after becoming the victim of a brutal mob beating caught on video in Dallas, Texas, where she lived.

At a rally held on her behalf, she noted that in many instances where a trans person is attacked, those gathered in attendance would instead be at a vigil. She pledged to “stay strong with your support.”

Tragically, less than a month later came the shocking news that she had been killed, discovered by police deceased on May 18.

Friend Jessica Anderson told The New York Times Booker had “a heart of gold” and that she “wanted everyone to pay attention to the injustice.”

Community members held a vigil in her honor.
 

Michelle “Tamika” Washington, 40

Michelle “Tamika” Washington became the third black trans woman killed within a week, passing away on the morning of May 19, in Philadelphia.

Friend Deja Lynn Alvarez described her as a tough, “no nonsense” type of person.

Amber Hikes, executive director of the Office of LGBT Affairs, said Washington was a “brilliant and outgoing member of Philadelphia’s transgender community, known for her advocacy and mentorship,” who would be “profoundly missed.”

“The news of the murder and death of Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington has hit so many in our community hard. More than a news story, she was a friend, a loved one, a beloved. The Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs offers our solidarity, our commitment to #SayHerName, and a commitment to ending the plague of anti-black, anti-trans, and queerphobic violence that plagues not just our nation, but our own local community,” said Raquel Evita Saraswati, chair of Mayor Jim Kenney’s Commission on LGBT Affairs.

“She was really wonderful. She kept me laughing and she would do anything for you. Tamika was just that type of person. She would go above and beyond,” said Donna Kinley, Washington’s aunt, at a vigil for her niece, Philadelphia Gay News reports.

Paris Cameron, 20

candlelight vigil
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Paris Cameron was shot and killed in Detroit on May 25, along with two men, Alunte Davis, 21, and Timothy Blancher, 20. Police have charged a man in connection with the killings, and prosecutors say they were targeted because they were members of the LGBTQ community.

“This case illustrates the mortal danger faced by members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community, including transgender women of color,” said Alanna Maguire, president of Fair Michigan.

Chynal Lindsey, 26

Chynal Lindsey was discovered deceased on June 1, the first day of Pride Month. She is the third black trans woman killed there within a year, and the second in two months. The community mourned her passing on social media, and called for justice.

She and Booker were honored with a moment of silence at a Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting before the reading of a resolution recognizing Pride Month.

Chanel Scurlock, 23

Chanel Scurlock’s body was discovered in a field in Lumberton, North Carolina, in the early hours of June 6. Scurlock’s mother, Brenda Scurlock, said her child’s spirit lives on, and a friend remembered her as being unapologetically herself.

“This cowardly act has to be addressed and a person or persons will be held accountable and brought to justice,” said Sheriff Burnis Wilkins of the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.

Zoe Spears, 23

Zoe Spears was found shot to death on June 13, in Fairmount Heights, a suburb of Washington, D.C. She was friends with Ashanti Carmon, and reportedly witnessed her murder, causing her to fear for her own life. Her body was discovered less than half a mile from where Carmon’s was found. The murder is under investigation.

Activist and Casa Ruby founder Ruby Corado knew Spears and said her “heart is broken” to hear she had been killed. Another activist, Earline Budd, described Spears as being a “vibrant young person.”

Brooklyn Lindsey, 32

Brooklyn Lindsey, a black transgender woman living in Kansas City, Missouri, was shot and killed on June 25. She was identified a day after her death on June 26. Not much is known about Lindsey, but her death was noted by LGBTQ activist and TransGriot blogger Monica Roberts, who tweeted in memory of Lindsey when news of her passing came to light.

Her death is currently being investigated as a homicide.

Denali Berries Stuckey, 29

Denali Berries Stuckey was discovered dead from a gunshot wound in Charleston, South Carolina, in the morning hours of July 20. A vigil was planned by the community for July 22 to honor her life.

“I am heartbroken and outraged by the news of yet another murder of one of our transgender community members. Denali is the third known black trans woman to have been murdered in South Carolina since 2018,” said Alliance for Full Acceptance Executive Director Chase Glenn.

“We refuse to become numb. We will continue to say the names of these women and remember them how they would have wanted to be remembered.”

Marquis “Kiki” Fantroy, 21

Marquis “Kiki” Fantroy was killed July 31 in Miami, Florida.

Her mother, Rhonda Comer, remembered her as a loving and driven person who wanted to move to California and get into the entertainment industry. She said her daughter loved music and photography.

Jordan Cofer, 22

Jordan Cofer was a victim of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on August 4. Friends reported Cofer’s transgender identity, as he was most likely not yet out to his family. A close friend said Cofer “was probably one of the sweetest people you would ever meet, a true saint,” who “tried to give the best to everyone.”

“I will remember him as probably one of the biggest, best parts of my life. All of my best experiences involved him,” the friend added.

Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, 24

Dime Doe was found dead on August 14 in Allendale County, South Carolina, marking the second time a trans person was killed in the state in less than two weeks. She was also misgendered and deadnamed in initial reports of her death. Friends recalled her “bright personality” and loving spirit.

““If I knew Friday was my last time seeing you,” one friend wrote on social media, “I would have hugged you even tighter.”

Tracy Single, 22

Tracy Single’s body was discovered in a parking lot on July 30, but wasn’t publicly identified until two weeks later.

“Rest in power and peace Tracy. You were taken away from us way too soon,” wrote Monica Roberts, a Houston-based advocate and publisher of TransGriot.

The city honored Single by lighting up City Hall as well as a stretch of arched bridges in the transgender Pride flag colors.

Bailey Reeves, 17

17-year-old Bailey Reeves was leaving a Labor Day party on September 2 with some friends in Baltimore, Maryland when she was shot and killed. Police do not believe she was targeted.

A vigil was held to remember her and celebrate her life on September 6.

“I’m just tired of little kids, people my age just getting shot and killed for no reason,” a 16-year-old neighbor told local ABC affiliate WMAR. “This violence has got to stop.”

Bee Love Slater, 23

Bee Love Slater’s body was discovered in a burned car on September 4, in Clewiston, Florida. She was identified two days later.

Her friends held a vigil in her honor on September 6, using it also as a call for justice. Friends described her as always having a smile on her face and being the life of the party.

Itali Marlowe, 29

Itali Marlowe was discovered in a driveway in Houston, Texas, on September 20, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. She was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased. She is at least the fourth black trans woman killed in Texas this year alone.

Brianna “BB” Hill, 30

Brianna “BB” Hill, 30, was shot to death in Kansas, on October 14. She loved playing football and sharing funny videos with friends, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Her alleged killer remained at the scene and was arrested by the Kansas City Police Department.

Nikki Kuhnhausen, 18

Nikki Kuhnhausen was found dead after a six-month search that ended in a grassy field in her hometown of Vancouver, Washington on December 7.

“My beautiful baby girl is gone,” her mother Lisa Woods wrote on her Facebook. “God please help me.”

Police arrested 25 year-old David Y. Bogdanov with the murder after it phone records revealed the two planned to meet over Snapchat, and he had been in the area where Kuhnhausen was found dead.

*Advocacy groups have further mourned the deaths of Layleen Polanco, 27, who died under suspicious circumstances while detained at Rikers Island and Johana ’Joa’ Medina, 25, who died after being detained by ICE. Both trans women have been added to many 2019 transgender remembrance lists, which honor homicide victims.

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