As we say goodbye to 2020, we also remember the reported 44 transgender people killed in the United States, the deadliest year ever. This surpasses the previous high of 31 known violent killings in 2017. Much like in previous years, transgender women of color are disproportionately impacted.
Listed below are the transgender lives that were taken in 2020. It is important to note that these are only the reported killings — trans murders have a history of being misreported or unreported so the true numbers are likely higher.
Dustin Parker, 25, a transgender man, was fatally shot while driving his taxi in McAlester, Oklahoma, in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day. Parker left behind a wife, Regina, and four children, and was a founding member of the McAlester chapter of Oklahomans for Equality, an LGBTQ+ rights group.
Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, a transgender woman, was shot to death in Roa Baja, Puerto Rico, February 24. She was killed just 12 hours after someone reported her to police for using a women’s restroom at a McDonald’s.
Yampi Méndez Arocho, 19, a transgender woman, was shot twice in the face and killed in Moca, Puerto Rico, March 5. Arocho, who had been the victim of an assault hours earlier, was misgendered and deadnamed in the media following her death.
Monika Diamond, 34, a Black transgender activist and businesswoman, was shot to death while being treated in an ambulance in Charlotte, North Carolina, March 18. Prentice Bess, 32, was arrested and charged with murder after he shot Diamond multiple times.
Scott/Scottlynn DeVore, a white gender-nonconforming person, was found dead near a highway in Georgia March 30. The 51-year-old from Augusta was found dead near a Georgia highway March 30 after having been missing for two weeks. Ronald Harris Jr., 40, of Wrens, Georgia, has been charged with DeVore’s murder.
Johanna Metzger, a transgender woman, was stabbed to death in Baltimore, Maryland, April 11. A college graduate and self-taught musician, Metzger was staying at a recovery center at the time of her killing.
Serena Angelique Veláquez Ramos, 32, a transgender woman, was murdered in Humacao, Puerto Rico, April 21. Also murdered was Layla Pelaez Sánchez, 21, another transgender woman. Their bodies were found in a car under a bridge. They had been shot and the car set on fire.
Layla Pelaez Sánchez, 21, a transgender woman, was murdered in Humacao, Puerto Rico, April 21. Also murdered was Serena Angelique Veláquez Ramos, 32, another transgender woman. Their bodies were found in a car under a bridge. They had been shot and the car set on fire.
Helle Jae O’Regan, 20, a transgender woman, was stabbed to death as she prepared to open the Diesel Barbershop with two other employees in San Antonio, Texas, May 6. Damion Campbell allegedly yelled “God sent me here to kill you because you have done something wrong!” during the killing. Campbell was arrested and charged with murder.
Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was shot and killed in a confrontation with police in Tallahassee, Florida, May 27. It was later revealed McDade was suspected in the earlier stabbing of Malik Johnson, who may have been involved in a violent assault against McDade.
Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a Black transgender woman, was brutally slain in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 9. Her dismembered body was found alongside the Schuylkill River, and police are treating her case as a homicide.
Jayne Thompson, 33, a transgender woman, was killed in a confrontation with police in Mesa County, Colorado, May 9. Concerned witnesses called police after she was reportedly exhibiting “odd behavior” by standing still for hours in the same position. Thompson was shot after allegedly threatening police with a knife.
Selena Reyes-Hernandez, 37, a transgender woman, was shot and killed in Chicago, Illinois, May 31, by a man who allegedly bragged to police about the murder. Police say Orlando Perez, an 18-year-old high school student, confessed to killing Reyes-Hernandez after learning she was transgender, and returning a short time later to shoot her lifeless body multiple times because he was so enraged.
Brayla Stone, 17, a Black transgender girl, was shot and killed in Little Rock, Arkansas, June 25. Her body was found in a car on a walking path in the Little Rock suburb of Sherwood, and a person on social media later claimed he was paid five thousand dollars to kill her.
Merci Mack, 22, a Black transgender woman, was found unconscious and suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the head in Dallas, Texas, June 30. There were no witnesses to the shooting, but residents in the area reported hearing gunshots around 5:00 a.m., but apparently did not call 911 according to phone logs. A passerby did call to report the discovery of an unconscious Mack at 6:15 a.m., but Mack was pronounced dead at the scene.
Shakie Peters, 32, a Black transgender woman, was found dead outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 1. The local sheriff’s office is investigating her death as a homicide, but also misgendered Black in their reporting.
Bree Black, 27, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Pompano Beach, Florida, July 3. Her body was found shot to death in her home after neighbors reported hearing gunshots to police. Black was initially deadnamed by the media.
Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, 34, a Black transgender woman, was stabbed to death in Portland, Oregon, on July 28. Rhone-Spears, also known as Rocky Rhones, had been at a vigil for Tyrell Penney. An altercation broke out amongst some of the mourners, and Rhone-Spears was fatally stabbed during the fight.
Kee Sam, 24, a Black trans transgender woman, was found suffering from a gunshot wound at a hotel in Lafayette, Louisiana, on August 12. Officers administered first aid at the scene before transporting her to the hospital in critical condition. She passed away from her injuries the following day.
Mia Green, 29, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed on Monday, September 28, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Police say they stopped a vehicle that ran a stop sign and found her in the front passenger seat suffering from gunshot wounds to the arm and neck. She was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas, a Latinx transgender woman, was found dead in San Germán, Puerto Rico, in the early morning hours of September 30. Vargas, believed to be in her mid-30s, was studying at Ponce Paramedical College to become a nurse. Her body was discovered suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Vargas has been identified in some reports as Michelle Ramos Vargas and Michellyn Ramos Vargas.
Felycya Harris, 33, a Black transgender woman, was found shot to death October 3 in Augusta, Georgia. Authorities found her lying on the ground and unresponsive, and she was declared dead at the scene a short time later. The self-employed interior decorater was known for her lively personality and spirit.
Sara Blackwood, a white Transgender woman, was shot while walking home from work in Indianapolis, Indiana, late in the evening on October 11. She was taken to a local hospital where she later died. Blackwood’s death is the 6th violent killing of a transgender person in the last 23 days.
Angel Haynes, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed last week in Tennessee. The body of the 25-year-old cosmetologist was discovered in a motel in the Whitehaven neighborhood of Memphis, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head, according to WTAN News.
Yunieski Carey Herrara, a Latinx transgender woman, was stabbed to death in her Miami, Florida, condo on November 17. The 39-year-old Carey was a well-known dancer, model and beauty pageant contestant in the local community. Her XX-year-old husband, Ygor Arrudasouza, was charged with second degree murder after allegedly fatally stabbing Carey with fork and knife during a drug-fueled rage.
Chae’Meshia Simms, a Black transgender woman, was found dead in her car on November 23 in Virginia. Police found Simms, aged in her 30s, in the wreckage of a Chevrolet Impala that had crashed into a detached garage in the city of Richmond. She was suffering from a gunshot wound and pronounced dead at the scene.
Kimberly Fial, 55, a white transgender woman, was fatally stabbed with a chef’s knife while volunteering at a homeless shelter in San Jose, California, on December 3. Fial was one of two deaths and multiple stabbing victims resulting from the violent attack at the Grace Baptist Church. Police arrested Fernando Jesus Lopez, 32, for the crimes.
Jaheim Pugh Jaheim Barbie, a Black gender non-conforming person, was shot and killed December 13 in Alabama. The 19-year-old was shot while attending a Christmas party in Pritchard wearing a rainbow jumpsuit when shot while attending a Christmas party, and video was posted to social media showing the final moments of Barbie’s life while onlookers stood by and offered no help.
Courtney “Eshay” Key, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed late in the evening on Christmas Day in Chicago. Police initially thought she was the victim of a hit and run crash, but later found several gunshot wounds. Early reports misgendered Key.