This year alone, several black transgender persons have been murdered in heinous crimes. In 2020, more than 44 deaths of non-binary or gender nonconforming deaths were reported. Unfortunately, over the past three weeks the black transgender community is suffering yet two more losses this year,
On August 23rd, “Pooh” Johnson, a black transgender woman, was found dead in Shreveport, Louisiana. Another African-American transgender woman by the name of Disaya Monaee was also murdered in Chicago on September 8th.
“Pooh” Johnson who went by the name Titanizer Mua on social media, fell victim to gun violence. Reports say that Johnson worked as a successful makeup artist well before her murder. Unfortunately, her career in cosmetology became short-lived.
According to the police report, that Johnson was shot multiple times and died from fatal wounds inside an unidentified car. Further details reveal that the murder took place a little after 5:30am on 300 Block of West 74th Street in Shreveport, Louisiana. Currently, the results from the autopsy are still pending.
While police try and identify Johnson’s killer, they have one running theory on the killer’s motive. Police are trying to determine if Johnson’s sexual identity played a role in her murder.
Johnson’s family members do believe wholeheartedly that her sexual identity led to her murder. Though, as of now the police haven’t released any other information surrounding “Pooh” Johnson’s death.
Unfortunately, Johnson’s death marks one of several deaths that resulted from gun violence in Louisiana. In October of 2020, 20-year-old Brooklyn DeShauna was shot and killed. The woman’s body was discovered on 7200 Block of Bernstein Avenue in Shreveport.
Shockingly, the murder took place just blocks away from where Johnson’s body was found. Earlier this year, a Black trans woman who went by the name Fifty Bandz died from gunshot wounds in Baton Rouge as well. The crimes committed against these women come as a direct attack against the black transgender community.
It also highlights Louisiana’s glaringly obvious disregard for nonbinary individuals. The state does protect an individual’s sexual orientation, but not their gender identity. Even more alarming, transgender and nonbinary individuals “aren’t explicitly protected from hate crimes in the workplace, housing, education, or public spaces on a state level.”
In regards to “Pooh” Johnson’s death, Tori Cooper, the director of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign’s Transgender Justice Initiative expressed her distraught over the massive loss. “It is heartbreaking to witness another Black trans woman stolen from us by transphobia and gun violence.” If only the world were different, people could accept each other.
Victoria Kirby York, the deputy executive director The National Black Justice Coalition also issued a statement in regards to Johnson’s wrongful death.
“This epidemic of violence continues to take life after life and each senseless loss is devastating. The trans and nonbinary community needs support in this moment, and they need protection. Lawmakers must introduce and pass legislation that will prioritize the safety of trans and gender-nonconforming people. Law enforcement must work to hold those responsible for these murders accountable.”
York seeks to put pressure on lawmakers and the state of Louisiana to carry out justice for the victims of hate crimes. Her efforts seem promising.
However, more hate crimes against black transgender women continue to plague other parts of the U.S.
Disaya Monaee Smith's death was initially reported by Beverly Ross on Instagram, Sept. 7th. On September 8th, the entertainment website T TIME NETWORK further reported on Instagram the death of Disaya.
T TIME NETWORK posted two photos of Monaee striking a pose with long braids, a white shirt and demi jacket, with a purse in hand. In the captions, the entertainment site wrote, “ . . . Sending love and prayers to Disaya’s friends and family. @bravespacealliance is helping with funeral arrangements. #stopkillingus #disaya #blm. Black transwomen must be protected!!!!!!”
At this time, little information has been provided on the death of Disaya. Reportedly, the family has not yet spoken out publicly about her death. Gaye is currently investigating contacts to close family members.
Hopefully, the site’s message acts as a wake-up call to lawmakers everywhere.