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Post submitted by Brian McBride, former HRC Digital Strategist

This post was updated on April 11, 2018. 

HRC mourns the loss of Phylicia Mitchell, a Black transgender woman who was fatally shot in Cleveland on Friday. reports Mitchell, 45, was shot in the chest outside of her home at about 6 p.m. on February 23. According to police, investigators found her body on the living room floor. She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Longtime partner Shane Mitchell told that he met Mitchell some 30 years ago. Though they never married, Phylicia legally changed her name to take Mitchell’s last name and held a small celebration at a local church in May.

Despite challenges faced by both Phylicia and Shane, he said the two grew close and that, over time, his family and friends learned to love and accept Phylicia.  

“Everyone loved her,” he said. “My nieces and nephews opened up to her so much. She was just so funny and kind.”

On April 10, reported that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Gary Sanders. Sanders, 36, was charged with aggravated murder in Mitchell's death. 

"I miss her tremendously," Shane told the paper. "That's my soulmate. We went together everywhere. We did everything together.”

Mitchell is the fifth known reported death of a transgender person this year.

HRC Foundation and the Trans People of Color Coalition released a report documenting the senseless acts of violence that made 2017 the deadliest year on record for transgender people, particularly for trans women of color.

To learn more about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit

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