#SayTheirNames: These Are the Trans People Who Lost Their Lives in 2018

We honor their legacies so they may #RestInPower.

At least 27 transgender Americans were murdered in 2017, making it the deadliest year on record for the trans community. Sadly, 2018 is already on track to outpace that, with at least 12 victims reported since January.

Much of the coverage of these victims fixates on their deaths. Below, we honor the lives they lived and the people they touched.

Please note: This is a living document, and will be updated with new information and entries as they come to light.

  1. Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42

    Christa Leigh was well known in the Massachusetts transgender community for her activism and for founding the Miss Trans New England and Miss Trans America beauty pageants.

    “Her thing was always that transgender women are beautiful and [we] need a venue for trans women to be seen as beautiful,” said longtime friend Justin Adkins.

    Another friend, Ben Power, organized a rally after her death to celebrate Christa Leigh’s life and bring attention to the epidemic of anti-trans violence. “I decided… it was time to make some noise,” said Power.

    Christa Leigh was killed on January 5, the first known anti-trans homicide of 2018. Her husband has been charged with her murder.

  2. Viccky Gutierrez

    Originally from Honduras, Viccky was an active member of the TransLatina Coalition, which works to assist transgender Latinx in the Los Angeles area. Friends and fellow activists called her “the nicest girl in the world” and “an inspiration to many.”

    She died on January 10.

  3. Celine Walker, 36

    Celine’s friends remember her as a strong and resourceful woman, who eschewed clubs and pageants: “[She] lived a low key life [and] did whatever needed to be done in order for her to survive.”

    Celine was killed on February 4.

  4. Tonya Harvey, 35

    Tonya, who also went by Kita, lived in Buffalo, New York. Friends remarked that “not only was she beautiful, she was strong.”

    She was killed on the morning of February 6.

  5. Zakaria Fry, 28

    Zakaria, who lived in Albuquerque, was remembered fondly by loved ones. “You took care of me and loved me like family,” wrote one friend on Facebook. “I’ll forever love you. I’m sorry.”

    Her body was found on February 19.

  6. Phylicia Mitchell, 46

    A hairstylist from Cleveland, Phylicia is survived by her longtime partner, Shane, who praise both her strength and her kindness. “She was my soulmate,” he said. “We did everything together. We always held hands on the bus. Years ago people didn’t respect that, but they do now.”

    Phylicia was killed on February 23.

  7. Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28

    Amia, who lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, worked at Alliance Home Health Care. She was misgendered and dead-named in initial reports of her death.

    Amia’s body was found on March 26.

  8. Sasha Wall, 29

    Sasha lived in Pageland, South Carolina, near the North Carolina border, and worked at Pilgrim’s Pride, a food production company. She is remembered by friends and loved ones as warm and friendly.

    Her body was found on the morning of April 1.

  9. Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón, 26

    Carla lived Dallas, Texas, and is remembered fondly by her friends, who called for an end to anti-transgender violence: “I met you very little, but it was always very nice to chat and laugh together… [I will] remember you with love and with that smile you always had,” wrote one friend on Facebook.

    Her body was found in her apartment on May 9.

  10. Nino Fortson, 36

    Alicia Llop/Getty Images

    Nino, who reportedly identified as genderqueer, lived in Dallas, Texas, was a member of their local ballroom scene. They are remembered by their partner, Tera.

    Nino died on May 13.

  11. Gigi Pierce, 28

    Getty Images

    Few outlets have provided personal details about the life of 28-year-old Gigi Pierce, a trans woman from Boise, Idaho, who resided in Portland, Oregon.

    Gigi lost her life on May 21.

  12. Antash’a English, 38

    CBS 47

    Antash’a, a black trans woman and nightclub performer from Jacksonville, Florida, is remembered fondly by her friends. “She was an unapologetic, bold, and loyal person,” friend Taliyah Smith told First Coast News. “We met years ago while at a gay pageant. We both were entertainers.”

    She was killed early in the morning on June 1.

  13. Cathalina Christina James, 24

    Getty Images

    Cathalina, a transgender woman in Jacksonville, Florida, lost her life on June 25. She hailed from Bishopville, South Carolina, and her death marked the third fatal shooting of a transgender woman in Jacksonville in 2018 alone.

    She is remembered by her mother, who told First Coast News that Cathalina “loved to dance and travel.”

To learn about hate violence and other issues facing transgender Americans, visit the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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