Transgender Americans continue to face disproportionate levels of violence and deaths, with nearly two dozen trans people killed so far this year. Whether at the hands of strangers, acquaintances, partners, or unknown assailants, trans people are victims of violence all too often. Most of those killed this year are trans women of color, and most were killed by guns.
"We are in an absolute state of emergency for black transgender women,” Chase Glenn, executive director of South Carolina LGBTQ group the Alliance For Full Acceptance, told NBC.
The crisis has even gained the attention of presidential candidates, with Elizabeth Warren reading the names of every Black trans woman killed this year at a presidential forum.
In memory of their lives — and in the hope that such violence can be curtailed — here are the trans individuals known to have been killed in 2019.
Dana Martin was the first known transgender person killed in 2019. She was found in her car on the side of the road in Alabama. The state’s hate crime laws exclude sexual orientation or gender identity.
Ashanti Carmon was shot early in the morning on March 30. "She was the type of lady that wanted something out of her life,” said her fiancée Phillip Williams. “She could have made it. She could have made it."
Local LGBTQ+ advocate Michelle “Tamika” Washington was shot in the early morning in North Philadelphia. Police arrested Troy Bailey, who initially said he was a witness to the shooting before admitting to the shooting. Amber Hikes, executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, said in a statement that Washington was “a brilliant and outgoing member of Philadelphia’s transgender community, known for her advocacy and mentorship, and she will be profoundly missed.”
Chynal Lindsey was the second transgender woman killed in Dallas this year. Her body was found in a lake on June 1, and prosecutors allege that 22-year-old Ruben Alvarado strangled and beat her to death.
Zoe Spears was friends with Ashanti Carmon, a trans woman killed earlier this year, and feared that she would face a similar fate. That proved tragically prescient, as Spears was shot and killed on June 13. “She was my daughter — very bright and very full of life,” said local transgender organizer Ruby Corado. “We just want her and her friends and the people who knew her to know that she’s loved.”
Denali Berries Stuckey is remembered as “a free spirit. She was very outspoken,” according to her friend Ron’Rico Judon. “If you didn’t like the fact that she was trans, she would give you a piece of her mind.” Stuckey was shot multiple times in the face and torso on July 20, the fourth trans woman killed in South Carolina this year. The state’s hate crime law does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity.
Among those killed in the August mass shooting in Dayton Ohio was Jordan Cofer. A U.S. Forest Service worker, Cofer was shot and killed by his brother, along with eight other victims. After his death, police misgendered him and media deadnamed him.
Pebbles LaDime Doe was found in a car parked in a driveway. She was the second trans person killed in South Carolina within a month, and the fourth black trans woman killed in the state since 2018.
It took two weeks for law enforcement to identify the body of Tracy Single, found dead in a gas station parking lot on July 30. Houston officials honored her memory by lighting City Hall and a local bridge in the colors of the trans Pride flag. Police arrested her boyfriend in connection with the killing.
Police believe 17-year-old Bailey Reeves was an innocent bystander who was shot and killed in a Baltimore shooting. Her brother, Thomas Reeves, hopes to start a nonprofit to combat gun violence that affects the LGBTQ+ community.
Bee Love Slater’s body was found inside a burning car in Florida, and authorities had to use dental records to identify her remains. She had reportedly received threats online and wanted to leave town. Jamson Richemond has been arrested in connection with the killing and faces murder charges in a separate case.
Itali Marlowe was shot multiple times and died in the driveway of a home in Southwest Houston. She was the fourth trans person killed in Texas this year. Police are seeking her housemate, Raymond Donald Williams, in the killing.
Brianna “BB” Hill was the third trans or gender non-conforming person killed in Kansas City this year. The city has nondiscrimination protections, but sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in Oklahoma hate crime laws