HRC was horrified to learn that a 17-year-old transgender woman, Ava Le’Ray Barrin, was shot and killed in Athens, Georgia, on Sunday, June 25. Jalen Breon Brown, 21, has been charged with Barrin’s murder, after allegedly shooting her during an altercation in an apartment parking lot. Police say that Barrin and Brown knew one another, but don’t know what led to the shooting.
In an online obituary, friends remembered Barrin as a “social butterfly” and an “amazing girl” who “loved to make people laugh.” On Monday, mourners held a candlelight service at the apartment complex where Barrin was killed, according to TransGriot.
Barrin is the youngest known transgender murder victim in the U.S. this year. Since January 1, advocates have tracked at least 14 deaths from anti-transgender violence across the country, including one woman who died of injuries from a 2016 attack. Almost every victim has been a woman of color, nearly all of them Black—a horrifying pattern that mirrors previous years, when Black women have made up the vast majority of known transgender homicide victims. In November, HRC and the Trans People of Color Coalition released A Matter of Life and Death, a report that highlights how racism, transphobia and misogyny combine to create this epidemic of violence.
Like too many transgender victims of violence, Barrin’s name and gender were misreported by local law enforcement and media outlets. Announcements that fail to respect transgender victims’ identities not only upset the victims’ loved ones, but may lead to additional violence by creating the perception that law enforcement will not protect transgender people or pursue their attackers.
HRC extends its sincere condolences to Ms. Barrin’s family and friends.
To learn more about violence against transgender people, click here.