Violence Against the Transgender Community in 2016

In 2015, advocates tracked at least 21 deaths of transgender people due to fatal violence, the most ever recorded. These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners and strangers, some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified. Although some of these cases involve anti-transgender bias, some are not bias-related and still others don't have apparent motives.

While the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable.

Sadly, 2016 has already seen at least 21 transgender people fatally shot, stabbed and killed by other violent means. As HRC continues to work toward justice and equality for transgender people, we mourn those we have lost:

  • Monica Loera, 43, a Latina transgender woman from North Austin, Texas, was fatally shot January 22, following an argument outside her home. A suspect, Jon Casey Rowell, has been arrested and charged with first degree murder.
  • Jasmine Sierra, a Latina transgender woman from Bakersfield, Calif., was found dead on January 22. Her body showed signs of trauma, but a cause of death has yet to be determined and no suspects have been identified.
  • Maya Young, 25, a Black transgender woman from Frankford, Penn., was fatally stabbed on February 21. A female suspect has been arrested and more arrests are expected.
  • Demarkis Stansberry, 30, a Black transgender man from Baton Rouge, La., was fatally shot on February 28. An acquaintance, Nicholas Mathews has confessed to shooting Stansberry, and has been arrested and charged with negligent homicide.
  • Kendarie Johnson, 16, a Black gender fluid youth from Burlington, Iowa, was fatally shot on March 2. The killing is still under investigation and no suspects have been arrested.
  • Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum, 32, a transgender woman of color, was fatally shot March 23 outside her Los Angeles apartment complex in what appears to be a dispute with her former boyfriend.
  • Shante Thompson, 34, a Black transgender woman from Houston, Texas, was beaten and shot to death by a group of assailants on April 11. The group also killed a man walking with Thompson. Twenty-three-year-old Tariq Lackings has been arrested and charged with capital murder.
  • Keyonna Blakeney, 22, a Black transgender woman from Montgomery County, Md., was killed April 16th. Police have not yet identified any suspects and have only said that she suffered "trauma to her upper body."
  • Reecey Walker, 32, a Black transgender woman from Wichita, Kansas, was fatally stabbed May 1. A 16-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
  • Mercedes Successful, 32, a Black transgender woman from Haines City, Fla., was fatally shot May 15. Police have not identified a suspect.
  • Amos Beede 38, a transgender man, succumbed to his injuries after he was attacked at a homeless encampment in Vermont. An investigation into the attack is ongoing.
  • Goddess Diamond, 20, of New Orleans, was found dead of blunt force trauma in a burned car on June 5. No suspects have been identified.
  • Deeniquia Dodds, 22, a transgender woman, was critically shot on July Fourth in Northeast Washington, D.C. She passed away on July 13 after 10 days on life support. On September 15, police arrested a man in connection to Dobbs's murder.
  • Dee Whigham, 23, a Black transgender woman, was killed on July 23 in St. Martin, Mississippi. Dee was a registered nurse at a hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. During a court hearing in September, a sheriff’s deputy revealed that Dee was stabbed a 119 times. 
  • Erykah Tijerina, 36, a transgender woman, was found dead in her El Paso, Texas, apartment on August 8. Twenty-one-year-old Anthony Bowden was arrested and charged for murder on September 13, 2016. 
  • Rae’Lynn Thomas, 28, a transgender woman from Columbus, Ohio, was brutally murdered the week of August 8. Thomas’s family reports witnessing her death at the hands of James Allen Byrd, an ex-boyfriend of Thomas’s mother who lived in the family home.
  • T.T., 26 or 27, a Black transgender woman who was found murdered in Chicago’s Garfield Park on September 11. Reports say she was well-known in Chicago’s transgender community; her friends recalled T.T. as a “lovely” and “happy, cheerful” person who was always laughing.
  • Crystal Edmonds, 32, a Black transgender woman, died after being fatally shot on September 16 in Baltimore.
  • Jazz Alford, 30, a Black transgender woman, was found shot to death in a Birmingham, Alabama motel on September 23.
  • Brandi Bledsoe, 32, was found dead in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 9. Bledsoe was an artist and worked at Home Depot. Authorities believe her death was likely the result of foul play.
  • Noon Norwood, a Black transgender woman who was shot near her home in Richmond, Virginia and died the next day. Police are looking for a man who may have been nearby at the time of the shooting.

Three other transgender people died in 2016. On February 4, a 24-year-old Kayden Clarke, a transgender man from Arizona, was shot and killed by police in his home, after they responded to a call that Kayden was threatening suicide and had a knife. The body of Nino Acox Jackson of Dallas was found in a lake on February 16. And Veronica Banks Cano of San Antonio was found dead in a bathtub on February 19. Skye Mockabee, who passed away in Cleveland in July, was originally thought to be a victim of violence; authorities now believe her death was an accident.

For more information on anti-transgender violence, including analysis of contributing factors and calls-to-action for lawmakers and community advocates, visit www.hrc.org/trans-violence.