Celebrating the Life of Geri Judd, Transgender Woman who Advocated and Marched for Trans rights

by Meghan Olson

Geri Judd is remembered by her friends as an active participant in marches for transgender justice. Judd, a transgender woman, was fatally shot in Bossier City, Louisiana in September 2021. Judd’s death is one of at least the 57 violent killings of transgender or gender non-conforming people in 2021, and the 275th death we have recorded since HRC began tracking fatal violence in 2013.

We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported. Yet, even in spite of these limitations in reporting, 2021 reflects the second consecutive year in a row where HRC officially recorded the largest number of fatal trans violence. As we head into our tenth year of recording, Judd is also the 22nd transgender or gender non-conforming person identified as killed in Louisiana since 2013, making Louisiana the state with the third-highest number of violent deaths over the last decade.

One of the most notable memories shared by Geri Judd’s friends was marching together in for justice for Vontashia Bell, a Black transgender woman who was killed in 2018. Judd attended memorials for Transgender Day of Remembrance for years, as well as numerous rallies.

Though it was difficult, Geri Judd made the journey of marches for trans rights using her cane in recent years to fight for her community. Her dedication to advocating for the trans community was clear in the way she lived and her death will be a loss for the movement. We’re so grateful to the advocates who worked with authorities to be sure Geri was respectfully identified in the investigation. This trend of fatal violence against trans and gender non-conforming folks must end in Louisiana and throughout the country."

Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative

Geri Judd was killed in September 2021. We are just learning about her death now because initial reports did not identify her as transgender. According to The Shreveport Times, Judd had obtained accurate identification documents, with a friend sharing “Geri was one of the first trans people I had met. [G]eri had done all the work and followed all the legal steps to transition including paperwork and ID."

The Bossier City Police Department found Judd’s body during a welfare check on September 28, 2021, and an autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was a homicide.

Anyone with information about Judd’s death should call BCPD at 318-741-8610 or call Crime Stoppers at 318-424-4100. Those with information can also submit an anonymous tip online via the P3 Tips app, or online at www.p3tips.com.

At the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Louisiana are not explicitly protected from discrimination in employment, housing, education and public spaces. Additionally, Louisiana does not include gender identity as a protected characteristic in its hate crimes law. Louisiana’s legislative session begins this month and state legislators have prefiled a bill that would ban transgender athletes from participating in school sports. Though we have recently seen some political gains that support and affirm transgender people, we have also faced anti-LGBTQ+ attacks at many levels of government this year. As of this writing, more than 200 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are under consideration in state legislatures across the country, more than 90 of which directly target transgender people.

We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation at the local, state and federal levels, while also considering every possible way to make ending this violence a reality. It is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, especially Black transgender women. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive, so we must all work together to cultivate acceptance, reject hate and end stigma for everyone in the trans and gender non-conforming community.

In addition to the incidents of fatal violence that we track each year, HRC monitors several concerning deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people where details are unclear. We call for further investigation into these cases, which currently stand at 14--7 of which occurred in 2021. You may find a list of these cases here.

In order to work towards this goal and combat stigma against transgender and non-binary people, HRC has collaborated with WarnerMedia on a PSA campaign to lift up their voices and stories. Learn more and watch the PSAs here.

HRC has also launched the “Count Me In” campaign to encourage everyone, LGBTQ+ people and allies, to get loud, get visible and spread awareness on behalf of transgender and non-binary people. The more people who show they care, including allies and trans and non-binary people who speak up for the most marginalized in our community, the more hearts and minds we will change. Learn more and take action at hrc.org/CountMeIn.

In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people. HRC, Media Matters and the Trans Journalists Association have also partnered on an FAQ for reporters writing about anti-trans violence. For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/transgender.