2020 was historically deadly for the transgender community. A record 45 trans people were violently killed last year, eclipsing the previous high of 31 in 2017. As usual, transgender women of color were disproportionately impacted by the violence. The true number of victims will never be known, as many go unreported or are misgendered in death.
Sadly, 2021 is proving deadly as well with the recent murder of Jeffrey Bright who was shot in the face and killed by his own mother. Listed below are the eight known violent killings of transgender people so far this year, making it on pace to be the deadliest ever for the transgender community.
Tyianna “Davarea” Alexander, 28, a Black transgender woman, was shot in the head while walking with a friend in Chicago early on the morning of Wednesday, January 6. She was pronounced dead at the scene in the city’s Greshman neighborhood. Her friend, 31-year-old Brandon Gowdy, was shot in the arm and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Samuel Edmund Damián, a Latinx transgender man, was found dead in Puerto Rico on Saturday, January 9. His bullet-riddled body was left in the middle of a dimly lit highway where it was run over by an unsuspecting driver. Police indicated Damián suffered gunshot wounds over multiple parts of the body, suggesting a certain level of rage by his killer.
Dominique Jackson, 30, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Jackson, Mississippi, January 25. Police discovered her fatally wounded body inside a vehicle that had struck a utility pole, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Initial police and media reports misgendered Jackson.
Friends and family describe Jackson as “sweet and kind," with dreams of competing on RuPaul's Drag Race.
Fifty Bandz, 21, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 28. Fifty was reportedly killed by a man she had been in a relationship with for over a year. Family, friends, and local advocates released balloons in her memory and plan on holding a memorial service for her as well.
Alexus Kimmy Icon Braxton, 45, a Black transgender woman, was found dead in Miami, Florida, on Thursday, February 4. The daughter of a board member of the Hollywood, Florida, LGBTQ Council, her lifeless body was found by police in a Miami condominium complex. Police have released few details regarding the case, but are investigating her death as a homicide. Family and friends are devastated by the loss, saying she was also proud of overcoming obstacles in her life.
Chyna Carfillo, 24, a Latinx transgender woman, was brutally beaten to death in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania on February 18. Her assailant, a convicted murderer named Juana Carter Hernandez released from prison in 2019, was shot and killed by police while beating Carrillo with a blunt object. Carrillo, who also was known as Chynna Cardena, was taken to an area hospital where she died a short time later. The much-loved nursing home worker had recently moved to the area to start a new life, and friends and coworkers fondly remember an outspoken and unapologetic woman.
Jeffrey Bright, 16, a transgender young man, was shot and killed by his mother in Pennsylvania on February 22. Known as JJ to friends and family, the fun-loving teen known for his jokes had been presenting as male since the age of 11. Police in Ambridge said Krisinda Bright shot JJ in the face after he pleaded for his life after she had shot and killed JJ’s 22-year-old sister, Jasmine Cannady.