There were 44 transgender people killed in the US in 2020, making it the deadliest year thus far. 2020's record currently surpasses the previous record of 31 known violent killings in 2017. Statistics show that amongst these murders, transgender women of color are disproportionately impacted, being approximately 4 in 5 of all anti-transgender homicides.
Correspondingly, 2021 has just begun and yet another trans death has recently been reported, making this the 7th known violent trans death this year.
Sadly, in this article we will provide information on the known trans murders of 2021. The true number of trans deaths will never be known as for many are unreported or misgendered in death.
Tyianna "Davarea" Alexander
28 year old Tyianna “Davarea” Alexander, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in south side Chicago just six days into the New Year; Alexander was pronounced dead at the scene. At the time of her murder, she was walking with a friend, Brandon Gowdy, who was also shot and later died. Alexander’s killer has not yet been identified.
“Beginning this new year with another death of a Black transgender woman is frustrating,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the transgender justice initiative, said in a statement. “We must take action now and continue to affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter.”
Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín
On January 9th, just three days after the untimely demise of Tyianna Alexander, Samuel Edmund Damián, a Latinx transgender man, was found dead in Puerto Rico. His bullet-riddled body was left on a dimly lit highway.
According to the local news site WAPA, a motorist was driving on an unlit section of highway in Trujillo Alto, a municipality about 15 miles southeast of San Juan, when she hit something, As she got out of the car, she realized it was a dead body and notified authorities, who identified the victim as Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín.
Due to the extreme nature of his body, police indicated definite rage by his killer. Samuel’s killer has not been identified. Samuel was very hopeful for this New Year. On January 1, he 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.”
He also spoke out against violence in Puerto Rico, expressing his hope for a Puerto Rico without killings.
Bianca "Muffin" Bankz
30 year old Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in her Atlanta apartment on January 17. Bankz had just recently moved into her new place, after struggling with homelessness.
Police believe her killer was a man named Moses Allen and have classified the incident as a murder-suicide. Both of their bodies were found by Bankz’s roommate. A vigil was held outside of her apartment to celebrate her beautiful life.
Dominique Jackson, 30, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Jackson, Mississippi on January 25. Investigators say she was shot at around 9:30pm on Rose Street at Grand Avenue, causing her vehicle to hit a utility pole. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to her Facebook, Dominique was the Mother of the Hause of Redd. Her
friends and family describe Jackson as “sweet and kind," with dreams of competing on RuPaul's Drag Race.
21 year old, Fifty Bandz a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 28. According to local reports, Fifty was killed by a man she had been in a relationship with for over a year. Witnesses described their relationship as “very volatile”. He “was not open or forthcoming” about dating Bandz, which “caused personal problems” for them both.
Brooks told law enforcement that he pulled the trigger during an argument at the 5000 block of McClelland Drive in the Brookstown neighbourhood. Many expressed their sadness at the loss of Fifty Bandz, with one friend sharing, “When are we as a community going to do something?!”
Alexus Kimmy Icon Braxton
Alexus Kimmy Icon Braxton, 45, a Black transgender woman, was found dead in Miami, Florida, on Thursday, February 4. Braxton was the daughter of a board member of the Hollywood, Florida, LGBTQ Council. Her body was found by police in a Miami condominium complex. There are few details released surrounding her death, however, it is currently being investigated as a homicide.
The murder of Chyna Carrillo (also was known as Chynna Cardena) is the 7th violent trans death this year. Chyna was a Latinx transgender woman who was brutally beaten to death in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania on February 18. Her killer, a convicted murderer named Juana Carter Hernandez was shot and killed by police while beating Carrillo with a blunt object.
Carrillo was taken to a hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. Mayra Carrillo, Chyna’s aunt, said Chyna was her “beautiful, magical mermaid.”
“I always called her that,” said Mayra Carrillo. “She’s my mermaid, and we miss her. We miss her terribly.”
Jeffrey “JJ” Bright
Jeffrey “JJ” Bright, a 16-year-old transgender boy who was killed in Ambridge, Pennsylvania on February 22. His death is the 8th and most recent and known violent trans death this year.
According to Rights Campaign, both Jeffrey and his older sister, Jasmine, were shot and killed in their home by their mother. According to PRISM, (Pride. Respect. Inspiration. Safety. Mentoring.), a local non-profit outreach organization for the LGBTQ+ youth of Beaver County, Pa.; Jasmine, who was 22 years old, occasionally attended PRISM with Jeffrey and also participated in a summer program several years ago. The mother has been arrested and charged with two counts of homicide.
It is very important for us to accurately report on these incidents to bring awareness to the violence against the trans community. Often times, our trans brothers and sisters are misgendered in reports and are demeaned by those who are ignorant to trans lives. Gaye Magazine sends our sincerest condolences to each family suffering the loss of their trans loved ones.