HRC Mourns Itali Marlowe, Black Transgender Woman Killed in Houston

by Elliott Kozuch

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Itali Marlowe, a Black transgender woman who was killed in Houston on September 20.

Update: In October, a suspect was arrested and charged with Marlowe's murder.

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Itali Marlowe, a Black transgender woman who was killed in Houston on September 20.

Marlowe, 29, was shot multiple times and found by police in the driveway of a local home. She was transported to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead, as reported by Monica Roberts of TransGriot.

Police have charged Raymond Donald Williams, 23, with murder and are seeking his whereabouts. Williams was known to be living with Marlowe at the time of her death, and he was seen fleeing the scene of the crime. Anyone with information on Williams’ whereabouts should call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477), according to a police press release issued today.

Marlowe is the 21st known transgender person killed this year, the majority of whom were Black transgender women. She is the 4th known transgender person to be killed in Texas this year. 

Of the known transgender people killed this year, 13 have died from gun violence. Of the more than 150 known victims of anti-transgender violence from 2013 to present, approximately two-thirds of those killed were victims of gun violence.

In November 2018, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2018,” a heartbreaking report honoring the trans people killed and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence. 

These victims are not numbers -- they were people with hopes and plans, dreams for the future, loved ones and communities who will miss them every day. 

There are currently very few explicit legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. Transgender people in Houston are not explicitly protected across many aspects of daily life, including housing and employment, and they are not covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation.  

Despite marginal gains in state and local policies that support and affirm transgender people, recent years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government. We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state and federal levels because it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.

HRC will continue to hold the Trump administration and all elected officials who fuel the flames of hate accountable at the ballot box.

This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color -- particularly Black transgender women -- must cease.

For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit