Last year was the deadliest ever recorded for the transgender community in America, with at least 44 known trans people dying violently at the hands of another person. Sadly, 2021 is already off to a foreboding start as a transgender woman in Chicago and a transgender man in Puerto Rico were shot and killed in the past week. They are the first two known transgender people violently killed in 2021.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Tyianna “Davarea” Alexander, 28, a Black transgender woman, was shot in the head while walking with a friend in the city’s Gresham neighborhood early Wednesday morning. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her friend, 31-year-old Brandon Gowdy, was shot in the arm and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. Reports said the deadly shots came from a vehicle, and the crime is being investigated as a homicide.
“Beginning this new year with another death of a Black transgender woman is frustrating,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the transgender justice initiative, said in a statement. “We must take action now and continue to affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter.”
Alexander is the second Black transgender woman to have been shot and killed on the streets of Chicago in the past three weeks. Courtney “Eshay” Key was also shot and killed late in the evening on Christmas Day in city’s East Chatham neighborhood.
In the early morning hours of Saturday in Puerto Rico, the bullet-riddled body of Samuel Edmund Damián, a Latinx transgender man, was left in the middle of a dimly lit highway where it was run over by an unsuspecting driver, according to a horrific report in the Spanish-language Primera Hora. Damián suffered gun shot wounds over multiple parts of the body, suggesting a certain level of rage by his killer.
Both Damián and Alexander were misgendered in initial reports.