Penny Proud, a 21-year-old transgender woman was fatally shot on the morning of February 10 in the Treme district of New Orleans. Proud is at least the fifth transgender woman of color who has been murdered in 2015.
Lamia Beard, 30, of Norfolk, Va. was fatally shot on January 17. Ty Underwood, 24, of Tyler, Texas was fatally shot on January 26. Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, of Los Angeles, was fatally stabbed on January 31. Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, 33, of San Francisco, was fatally stabbed on February 1. Penny Proud, 21, of New Orleans, was fatally shot on February 10.
In addition to these murders, Lamar Edwards of Louisville– whom LGBT friends have confirmed to The Advocate uses the name Lamar and identified as a gay man who sometimes dressed in drag – was fatally shot on January 9; police have not released information about whether Edwards was presenting as female at the time of death.
Few details are known about Proud’s life or her tragic death, but as with many other recent cases of fatal violence against transgender women, local media misgendered her and further stigmatized her by emphasizing the prevalence of prostitution in the area where she was murdered.
New Orleans LGBT youth of color organization, BreakOUT! – which is a member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs– released a statement on her death, which included some shocking statistics from a local study of anti-transgender discrimination.
“In our 2014 report, We Deserve Better,” the statement explains, “BreakOUT! found that 84% of transgender people reported experiencing police profiling on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation in New Orleans, with 57% reporting being harassed during the encounter. Further, 42% of LGBTQ people of color reported calling the police for help and being arrested themselves, compared with zero percent of white respondents.”
Our thoughts and sympathies are with Proud’s family and friends. To learn more, read HRC’s Anti-Transgender Violence issue brief.