46 Trans People Have Been Murdered in America in 2021
Forty-five trans people were murdered in the United States in 2020, making it one of the most deadly years on record for trans lives. And heartbreakingly, even more cases of anti-trans violence have already been reported this year.
Transgender women of color — specifically Black transwomen — are disproportionately affected by this senseless violence.
We remember these victims of anti-trans violence below.
A 25-year-old taxi driver and LGBTQ+ activist, Dustin was shot and killed in the early hours of New Year’s Day. The first known victim of anti-trans violence in 2021, he “was a steadfast friend, an amazing husband and father and generous to a fault.”
Tyianna “Davarea” Alexander
On Jan. 6, Tyianna was shot in the head while on an early morning walk with a friend. She was 28 years old, and described by friends as “a beautiful light.” One friend said, “I loved everything about her.”
Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín
Samuel was shot to death on Jan. 9 in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. Prosecutors in Puerto Rico rarely apply the hate crime law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. On Jan. 1, Samuel posted on Facebook, “A new year to come, grateful for all the experiences who [taught] me how strong we really are, to life, to good and bad, and for all justice that is forth to come.”
Bianca “Muffin” Bankz
Bianca was only 30 years old when she was shot to death in her apartment in Atlanta, Georgia. She was a former foster child and working on rebuilding her life; she loved blueberry muffins and dreamed of competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race one day.
Dominique was also 30, shot and killed in her car on Jan. 25 in Jackson, Mississippi. She had been missing for three days. Dominique was known as a “beacon in her community,” a vibrant part of that community and a mother, sister and leader.
On Jan. 28, Fifty was shot to death by her former partner during an argument. She was 21 years old. Her family and loved ones released balloons in her honor on Feb 1.
Alexus Kimmy Icon Braxton
A 45-year-old hair stylist, Alexus was found dead in her Miami apartment on Feb. 4. A recent post on one of her social media pages read, “They can’t stop my shine.”
Chyna was a beloved nursing home worker who had recently moved to New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, to start a new life. A friend and former coworker had this to say: “Whenever I was around Chyna and I knew I was working with her, it just felt like my world would light up.” She would have turned 25 in March 2021.
Jeffrey “JJ” Bright
JJ was 16. He was shot and killed by his mother, who also shot and killed JJ’s 22-year-old sibling, Jasmine. Both JJ and Jasmine were involved in a local youth organization giving support to LGBTQ community members, PRISM. In a Facebook statement, the group wrote, “JJ was a beautiful person with the biggest and brightest smile. We will miss your laugh. We will miss your jokes. You will never be forgotten. Fly high, JJ.”
On Feb. 24, 34-year-old Jenna Franks was found dead in in Jacksonville, North Carolina. She was homeless and “loved by many people in Jacksonville.” The Human Rights Campaign in a press release noted that homelessness is high in trans communities, which is a risk that can often lead to anti-trans violence.
Diamond ‘Kyree’ Sanders
Diamond was shot and killed in Cincinnati, Ohio, a victim of a robbery on March 3. She was 23 years old, and loved fashion and traveling. Her obituary states, “She was known to say, ‘I have to be cute, honey!’”
Rayanna was killed in Los Angeles on March 17 while trying to flee people who were following and harassing her. Trans Latin@ Coalition President Bamby Salcedo described her as “a beautiful young person who just wanted to live her life and be herself.” She was 26 years old.
Jaida was a beloved member of her family, friends and community. She was killed on April 4 in Charlotte, N.C., and she was only 29 years old. Her sister wrote on social media, “You are going to be truly missed, and once again we love you always.”
Dominique was 26 years old. She was shot and killed in Springfield, Missouri, on April 8. Dominique loved the TV show Empire and was described by friends as fierce and glam. The GLO Center, a Springfield LGBTQ+ community center, wrote in a Facebook post, “Trans women, particularly trans women of color, are disproportionately victims of violent crime. This murder and the other senseless slaying of trans folks must be contextualized within the anti-trans rhetoric and actions taken by too many. It is 2021 and we must understand that trans rights are human rights. Rest In Peace, Dominique Lucious.”
Described by her family as “vibrant,” Remy was a hair stylist and business owner. She was only in her 20s, and shot to death in Charlotte, North Carolina, on April 15. Sadly, Remy’s death is the second death of a Black trans woman in this area within two weeks.
Tiara was 24 years old, and killed in Chicago, Illinois, on April 21. She is the third Black trans woman killed in Chicago in four months. Not much is known about Tiara’s personal life, but her community mourns her loss.
Natalia was stabbed to death in Milpitas, California, on April 21. She was a Black and Puerto Rican drag legend and trans activist who was beloved in her community. Her sister described her as “the strongest, most beautiful, and courageous person.”
Iris was 22 years old when she was killed in Houston, Texas on April 23rd. She was sitting outside of a restaurant at a picnic table. Not much is known about Iris’s personal life, but her family has requested the help of their community to help identify the person responsible.
Tiffany was shot to death on April 24th in Dallas, Texas. She was 38 years old. Her friends and family described her as someone who was funny, “stayed laughing,” and with a “big heart.”
Jahaira DeAlto Balenciaga
At 42, she was an activist and a legend in the Boston ballroom scene, stabbed to death on May 2 in her home in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood. A house guest whose husband has been charged for the murder was also killed in the attack. A friend has said about Jahaira, “She was a mother to so many that didn’t have parents. I think that she took the most pride in her role as a grandmother and a mother, a chosen family for many individuals in the LGBTQ community.”
Keri Washington, 49, was found dead on May 1 behind an apartment building in Clearwater, Florida, after which many local media outlets misgendered her. Not a lot of details of Keri’s death are known, though police have identified a suspect. Friends have been paying tribute to Keri on social media, with several saying she went by the nickname “Bobo.”
Whispering Wind Bear Spirit
Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, 41, was an Indigenous nonbinary person. They were shot to death in York, Pennsylvania, during an attempted robbery when they attempted to stop the robbery. They died in the morning of May 4. Whispering Wind Bear Spirit was described by friends and family as “a beautiful and kind soul.”
Sophie was shot and killed in Brookhaven, Georgia, on May 4 in her apartment. She was a part of the EsTr (El / La) Community, which works to support transgender people in the Atlanta area. She was 36 years old, and described as “the kindest person on the planet” by friends.
Danika “Danny” Henson
Danika was only 31 years old when she was shot in her home in Baltimore, Maryland. According to friends and family, Danny, who also went by Pryynce Daniel and Niia Da Don, had just begun transitioning. One friend described Danny as “the embodiment of love,” and another remarked on Danny’s goodness and sweetness. Danny may also have identified as genderfluid.
Serenity was killed on May 8 in Albany, Georgia. She was only 24 years old. One of Serenity’s sisters, Shannen Osberry, believes that this act of violence was either a hate crime or an act of revenge. Serenity’s mother, Robyn Osberry, said that she “absolutely [wants] to see that justice is served.”
Oliver “Ollie” Taylor
Oliver was kidnapped and shot on May 12 in Gervais, Oregon; he died on May 19. Ollie was a 17-year-old high school student, and was described as “an amazing child with a quirky sense of humor” by his family.
Thomas Hardin, who was only 35 years old, was killed in York, South Carolina. Thomas’s loved ones say that Thomas used both he/him and she/her pronouns, and was lovingly known as a “wisecracker.”
Poe Black was just 21 years old when he was stabbed to death in Niland, California. According to his friends, Poe was also a member of the Wyandot Nation and active in Indigenous, LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter activism. He loved to paint and draw, and was a talented artist.
EJ Boykin aka Novaa Watson
EJ Boykin aka Novaa Watson was only 23 years old when he was fatally shot in Lynchburg, Virginia, on June 14. Friends and loved ones said he was loved by everyone, and described him as a person with “good vibes and energy.” They also said he went by both “EJ” and “Novaa.”
Aidelen, described by her mother as “loving” and “happy,” was found dead in a canal in Port Arthur, Texas, in March, but the police only recently announced they believe her death to be a homicide. She was only 24 years old.
Taya was killed in Suitland, Prince George’s County, Maryland, on July 17. She was the granddaughter of a community activist and only 20 years old. Though not much is known about her life, she was called “beautiful” and “a young person with so many dreams, goals, and aspirations” on Facebook.
An LGBTQ activist with a “heart of gold,” Shai was killed in Trenton, New Jersey, on July 30. She was only 23, and beloved by her family, friends and community. Her loved ones described her as someone who “loved to … smile and see everyone happy and smiling.”
Tierramarie was 36 years old and described as “a spirited girl” by a close friend. Though she was killed on June 12th in Cleveland, Ohio, due to misgendering, misnaming, and a lack of media coverage her death wasn’t reported until recently. She was known as someone who “only gave kindness.”
CoCo Chanel Wortham
CoCo Chanel Wortham, also known as Miss CoCo, was killed in Dallas, Texas on August 7. She was described by loved ones as “a giving and kind person” and “a well-known small girl with a big, bubbly personality.” She was only 44.
Pooh Johnson, who also went by the name Titanizer on social media, was killed in Shreveport, Louisiana on August 23. She was an accomplished makeup artist and only 25 years old.
At just 32, Disaya Monaee was fatally shot in Chicago, Illinois on September 6. She was described as “such a sweet individual” and is mourned by her family, friends, and community.
Brianna, “who touched so many people hearts with her presence” was fatally shot in Chicago, Illinois, on Sept. 17. She was only 25 years old. Her family has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help cover her funeral expenses, which you can donate to here.
Kiér Laprí Kartier
Kiér Laprí Kartier was fatally shot in in Arlington, Texas on September 30. She was only 21 years old, and described by loved ones as a “ball of joy.” Friends remarked on social media that she was a “very strong, independent person.” Kiér is the 5th trans person to lose their life to anti-trans violence in Texas this year.
Mel Groves, 25, was fatally shot in Jackson, Mississippi on Oct. 11. A student at Alcorn State University, Mel was studying plant soil science, and he loved agriculture and animals. He believed that “Life is a gift and so are chances worth taking.” He was beloved in his community and a member of The Knights & Orchids Society.
Royal Poetical Starz
Royal was fatally shot in Miami Gardens, Florida on Oct. 2. Only 26 years old, she was described as vibrant, ambitious, and charismatic by family and loved ones. A GoFundMe has been set up to help support her funeral, which you can donate to here. It describes her as “a person that would go out of her way to help others when they needed it the most.”
Zoella Rose Martinez
Twenty year old Zoella was shot and killed in Seattle, Washington on August 31st. Initial reports of the crime did not recognize Zoella as transgender until her family confirmed her identity in October. They also remembered her as loving and caring, with a “beautiful spirit” and “only kind words to say about others.”
Jo Acker, 26, killed in Boise, Idaho, on Oct. 26th while working security at the Boise Towne Square mall. Acker ran toward the shooter in an attempt to stop him, most likely saving lives in the process. She is remembered by her loved ones for her “selflessness and courage.”
Forty-two year old mother Jessi Hart’s body was found on Oct. 17th in the woods around Banks, Oregon. She had been previously been dealing with housing insecurity, which is often an incredibly dangerous situation for the trans community. Thoughtful and caring, Jessi leaves behind a 13 year old son who adored her.
Rikkey Outumuro, a.k.a. Tru Starlet, was fatally shot in Centralia, Washington, on the night of Oct. 30th or the morning of Oct. 31th. An incredible advocate for the queer and trans community and a former Miss Gay Lewis County, her friends remembered Rikkey as “a brilliant light for countless loved ones.” She was only 39.
Marquiisha Lawrence, 28 years old, was fatally shot in Greenville, South Carolina, on November 4th. She had “an infectious smile” and a “heart of gold” and was loved by many. Eboni Sinclaire, Marquiisha’s trans mother, remembers how “her favorite thing to do was to cook because she felt it filled the belly and fed the heart.”
Jenny De Leon
Jenny De Leon, 25, was found dead in Tampa, Florida, on Nov. 2nd. She was known as “an enigmatic, bright soul with enough energy to fill any room” and will be remembered for her spirit and tenacity.
In the words of Tori Cooper, HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, “The rate of violence against Black transgender women so far this year is devastating. … We must speak up and speak out. While we continue to affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter, everyone must take action to end the violence against our community.”
Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of these individuals, and we will continue to push back against anti-trans violence.
Featured image at top: Scott Olson/Getty Images
This article was originally published on March 16, 2021. It is being continually updated.