The Human Rights Campaign tracks the killing of gender-variant and transgender people each year. In the first 25 weeks of 2021, there have already been 29 or more gender-variant and trans people killed in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. That’s a rate of more than one person killed each week among a group of people who make up about 0.6% of the population.
In 2020, 44 gender-variant and trans people were killed, according to HRC. At that time, it was the worst year on record. If the rate of murders stays the same in 2021, by the end of the year, 2021 will beat this record by at least 14 additional people.
Since we began compiling this list as a Pride month memorial of those we have lost, several additional people were killed. The most recent loss is that of EJ Boykin, a 23-year-old transgender Black man who was shot and killed in Virginia June 14. This list reflects only those who had perished as of press time.
The following information was taken from HRC’s ongoing online tracker, with some additional information added from local and national news reports. The 29 known gender-variant and trans people who have been killed thus far in 2021:
Tyianna Alexander, a 28-year-old Black trans woman, was shot to death in Chicago Jan. 6. “I am really tired of seeing us get killed,” said Beverly Ross, a trans advocate who knew Tyianna personally. Beverly added that Tyianna “loved to dance, had a great sense of humor, enjoyed life when she could and just wanted to be able to ‘vibe and thrive.’”
Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, a Latinx transgender man, was killed in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, Jan. 9. He had been looking forward to starting a new year. On Jan. 1, he posted to 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.” He was someone who spoke out against violence in Puerto Rico, expressing his hope for a Puerto Rico without killings. He was the seventh transgender person killed there within the past year.
Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, a Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Atlanta Jan. 17. “Muffin was just blossoming into herself,” said Trans Housing Coalition founder and co-director Jesse Pratt López.
Dominique Jackson, a 30-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot in Jackson, Mississippi, Jan. 25, causing her car to hit a utility pole. She died shortly after in her vehicle. Dominique was an activist and co-founder of Break-Out, an LGBTQ+ youth organization. She was an important and valued member of her community, where she will be greatly missed.
Fifty Bandz, a 21-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Jan. 28 by her intimate partner. To memorialize her, friends of Fifty Bandz and advocates said her name as they released balloons into the sky.
Alexus Braxton, also known as Kimmy Icon Braxton, a 45-year-old Black trans woman and hairstylist, was killed in her Miami apartment Feb. 4 in what police described as a “very vicious and violent attack.” One of her most recent social media posts read, “They can’t stop my shine.”
Chyna Carrillo, a 24-year-old transgender woman, was beaten to death in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, Feb. 18. She had recently moved to Pennsylvania from Arkansas, telling a friend it was supposed to be a fresh start.
Siblings Jeffrey “JJ” Bright, a 16-year-old trans boy, and Jasmine Cannady, a 22-year-old nonbinary person, both from Ambridge, Pennsylvania, were killed Feb. 22 by their mother. Bright was a student at Ambridge High School, while Cannady worked at FedEx. Both siblings were active in PRISM, a nonprofit organization for the LGBTQ+ youth. “JJ is a part of our PRISM family,” PRISM shared on their Facebook. “JJ was a beautiful person with the biggest and brightest smile.” PRISM describes Jasmine as “a sweet, shy and artistic soul.”
Jenna Franks, a 34-year-old white transgender woman experiencing homelessness, was killed in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in February. Jenna was a part of the Onslow County LGBTQ+ Community Center family. She was remembered on Facebook by friends and family as “sweet” and “a rock star.”
Diamond Kyree Sanders, a 23-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Cincinnati March 3. Her family described many loving memories in an obituary that said in part, “She valued her family and enjoyed spending time with them,” and also said Diamond was really into fashion and always coordinated her attire from head to toe, including matching hair and nails. She was known to say, “I have to be cute, honey!”
Rayanna Pardo, a 26-year-old Latina trans woman, was killed in Los Angeles March 17. “Rayanna was such a beautiful young person who just wanted to live her life and be herself,” said Trans Latin@ Coalition President Bamby Salcedo.
Jaida Peterson, a 29-year-old Black trans woman, was killed in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 4. She is remembered as someone who was always smiling and cracking jokes. She was also described as someone who would give anyone the coat off her back.
Dominique Lucious, a 26-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Springfield, Missouri, April 8. One friend shared, “Many don’t get to live in their authentic truth. You were fierce, glam, and hunny gorgeous! I love you now, tomorrow and forever.”
Remy Fennell, a Black transgender woman in her 20s, was shot to death in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 15. Fennell’s aunt wrote of her, “She was a vibrant young transgender woman who was just trying to make it & was doing it. She started her own business, graduated from cosmetology school. … She has left her mark on the hair industry.”
Tiara Banks, a 24-year-old Black transgender woman, was killed in Chicago April 21. Someone shot at her while she was sitting alone in her Ford Fusion.
Natalia Smut, a 24-year-old Black and Puerto Rican transgender woman, was stabbed to death in Milpitas, California, April 23. She was a celebrated drag artist in the San Jose LGBTQ+ community. “Natalia was beautiful. She had one of the biggest hearts you could ask for. And she would just light up a room as soon as she walked in,” said her older sister.
Iris Santos, a 22-year-old Latinx transgender woman, was killed in Houston April 23. “She was a beautiful soul,” her mother said. “She was a wonderful person. She (was) always trying to help people, and even when she doesn’t have nothing, she always gives.”
Tiffany Thomas, a 38-year-old Black transgender woman, was killed in Dallas at a car wash April 24. Tiffany is remembered as someone who had a “big heart,” was “funny” and “stayed laughing.”
Keri Washington, a 49-year-old Black transgender woman who was also known as Bobo, was killed in Clearwater, Florida, May 1. Her intimate partner has been charged with her murder.
Jahaira DeAlto, a 42-year-old transgender woman, was stabbed to death in Boston May 2. DeAlto was a well-known and beloved advocate for transgender people and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She was a founder of Berkshire Transgender Day of Remembrance and Berkshire Pride Festival. She was also a member of the ballroom community. She was remembered “as a colleague, activist and survivor who touched the lives of everyone around her with her passion, drive, humanity, humor, and fierce vision” in a Facebook post from the Elizabeth Freeman Center.
Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, a 41-year-old nonbinary person who was Shawnee by birth and Potawatomi by relations, was shot in York, Pennsylvania, while trying to stop a robbery on May 3 and died early on May 4. Friends and family are remembering them on Facebook, with one sharing “you are missed” and another remembering them as “a beautiful and kind soul.”
Sophie Vásquez, a 36-year-old Latinx transgender woman, was shot and killed in Georgia May 4. She is remembered as “the kindest person on the planet” and as someone who was “truly beautiful inside and out.”
Danika “Danny” Henson, who also went by Pryynce Daniel and Niia Da Don, a 31-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Baltimore May 4. One family member shared that Henson “always had a BIG heart … there was love behind everything!” One friend remembered Henson as “the embodiment of love,” while another shared that Henson was “so good and sweet to everyone.”
Serenity Hollis, a 24-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Albany, Georgia, May 8. Her mother said that “the person that’s responsible has no idea what they took from us. … I absolutely want to see that justice is served.” Prosecutors think her death was a hate crime.
Oliver “Ollie” Taylor, a 17-year-old white trans boy, died May 19 after being kidnapped and shot during a police-involved shooting in Gervais, Oregon, May 12. He was involved in the Gervais Future Farmers of America organization at Gervais High School. The high school held a vigil for Taylor May 20. Taylor is remembered as “an amazing child with a quirky sense of humor, who impacted so many people.”
Thomas Hardin, who according to friends identified as a woman and used both feminine and masculine pronouns, was killed in York, South Carolina, May 2. He was Black and 35 years old. Friends described her as someone who “always kept you laughing.” Hardin was shot by his ex-partner, who has been charged with four homicides in two states, including the killing of Hardin.
Poe Black was stabbed to death in Niland, California. He was a 21-year-old nonbinary transgender man who also went by Oliver Jackson and Legion; he identified as mixed Indigenious and was, according to friends, a member of the Wyandotte Nation. He was an artist and originally from Nashville. His body was found May 11 in a homeless camp called Slab City, where he was a resident.
EJ Boykin, a 23-year-old Black transgender man, was killed in Lynchburg, Virginia, by a gunshot wound, June 14. Boykin was also known as Novaa Watson. A friend expressed that Boykin was loved and liked by everyone and “one of those people that was just good vibes and energy.” Boykin was the parent of a young child, according to sources, who may have been present at the scene of the shooting.
By living as their authentic selves in a world not designed for them, gender-variant and transgender people are at risk; life is even harder for trans people who are Black or Native or people of color. This Pride, we remember every trans brother, sister and sibling who has been taken from us. May they rest in power.
Henry Behrens, Raven Drake and Emily Green contributed to this report.
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