Say Her Name: Three Murdered Transwomen You Should Know
Why we’re covering this: Trans rights are the new battlefield for LGBTQ activism, and unfortunately, many trans people have lost their lives due to this struggle.
Today, the news has come out that a Pakistani trans activist, Alesha, died from being refused treatment for her gunshot wounds. This was the third time she’d been shot.
Unfortunately, news of transgender women being murdered is common. Last year, in the United States, there were 21 reported murders; this year so far, there have been twelve reported murders.
We thought we’d honor Alesha by sharing the stories of other murdered trans women.
Mercedes Successful, 32
Mercedes Successful was murdered in a parking lot on May 15th. Successful was a popular performer; she’d also represented her birth country of Jamaica in the 2014 Gay Caribbean USA Pageant. She had only started on Hormone Replacement Therapy (or HRT) a month before her death. Unfortunately, as is sadly common, most local news reports deadnamed and misgendered her. Authorities have not yet identified a suspect.
Keyonna Blakeney, 22
Keyonna Blakeney was the victim of partner violence. She was murdered a few days after her birthday. She was a sex worker, and it’s expected that her killer had hired her. AutoStraddle’s coverage points out that violence against trans sexworkers is particularly common — men are willing to have sex with transwomen, but due to our cultural transphobia, men will feel shame or guilt — which can become rage, which can become violence. Two men have been arrested, and they will face a preliminary hearing on June 10th. Prosecutors say the two men planned to rob her in her hotel room, and murdered her when she struggled — leaving her to be discovered by cleaning staff the next day.
Shante Thompson, 34
Shante Thompson was shot along with a friend, Willie Sims, a month before her 35th birthday. The two were beaten with crowbars by a group of up to eight people, according to witnesses of this brazen attack. After beating them, the group — who had allegedly been harassing her for a while before her murder — stabbed and shot the two of them, and abandoned their bodies on the side of the road. An arrest has been made, though investigators are still looking for more suspects.