Alicia Simmons, a Black trans woman, was found dead in Philadelphia apartment on Sunday night according to reports. The news has slowly begun to spread across social media but is still an open investigation, at its preliminary stages.
Very few details have been released at this time.
The case is with Southwest Detective Division, according to a statement sent to Out from the Philadelphia Police Department's Office of Public Affairs. “At this point, it is too early to determine exactly what caused her death, and we want to be careful to avoid speculation,” a spokesperson wrote.
“We will provide an update when one becomes available," the department added.
Some on social media have said that Simmons was found by her family in her West Philadelphia apartment, after being unreachable since Friday. Police would not confirm or deny this information but did say that the location was on Walnut Street.
As writer and activist Ashlee Marie Preston pointed out, many have assumed that Simmons was murdered. “We’re waiting for the ‘official’ cause of death — but many of us already have that familiar nauseating feeling in the pit of our stomachs,” she wrote on Facebook. “At this point, I’ve lost count of how many Black trans women (that we know of) have been murdered this year. We deserve better.”
Ernest Owens, a Philadelphia based journalist, wrote that there had been no foul play found. "Fact: Alicia Simmons was not shot or bruttally murdered," he wrote in a Facebook post. "[There] doesn't appear to be any signs of foul play when relatives found her in her house dead. She was found asleep peacefully. This doesn't rule out a murder, but it doesn't authomatically fit a lot of the recent narratives surrounding murdered Black trans women this year."
The news comes on the fourth day of Trans Awareness Month, which was ushered in on November 1 in San Francisco with a flag and light display. The month was formed to celebrate not only those who live in the transgender and gender nonconforming communities, but also those who have passed away or been murdered.
Out will update this story as more details surface.