Remembering Andrea Doria Dos Passos, transgender woman killed in Miami

by Kathryn Smith

Andrea Doria Dos Passos, a 37-year-old transgender woman, was killed outside of the Miami City Ballet in Miami, Florida on April 23 , 2024. Andrea’s death is at least the ninth violent killing of a transgender or gender expansive person in 2024 HRC has identified. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported.

Andrea was experiencing homelessness at the time of her death, and had been dealing with housing insecurity for some time, as reported by her family. She was sleeping near the entrance of the Ballet when a man approached her and violently beat her to death. She was found the next morning by a ballet employee who immediately called the authorities. Her murderer was apprehended shortly afterwards thanks to security footage, and was charged with first-degree murder, and denied bond, at his initial hearing.

On April 25, a vigil for Andrea was held in Miami Beach’s Old City Hall, organized by Pridelines, a local LGBTQ+ community center with which Andrea was connected. Noting that she viewed the Pridelines offices as “a safe space,” Edward Summers, the executive director of Pridelines, described Andrea as “our whole world, just having fun, enjoying the experience and being her authentic self.” Andrea’s mom, who was in attendance, expressed gratitude for the community and life Andrea had been able to build before her death, noting “I feel a bit lighter knowing that she had this group of people who loved her and accepted her.”

Other family and community members, however, have raised concerns. While the Miami Police Department has stated that “there is no evidence to suggest that Andrea was targeted because of her sexuality or gender,” local advocacy groups have called for thorough investigation. The Flamingo Democrats, Miami Dade County’s LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, issued a statement on Instagram “calling on the State’s Attorney to add a hate-crime charge” to current charges. Andrea’s stepfather further told CBS News Miami he feels “the system let her down. She was a good person.”

Andrea’s stepfather is right: the system let her down. Not only should she not have been murdered, she shouldn’t have been unhoused in the first place. We know that LGBTQ+ individuals, especially Black Transgender individuals are significantly more likely to experience poverty in their lifetime — Studies show that 30% of transgender individuals have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Our systems let her down long before she was murdered. Andrea deserved better.”

Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative

Andrea is at least the 33rd transgender person killed in Florida since HRC began tracking fatal violence in 2013–and the second transgender person killed in Florida in the last month alone, with her death occurring just two weeks after the death of Tee “Lagend Billions” Arnold, who was killed in Hallandale Beach just outside of Miami. As of this writing, Florida is home to the second highest number of incidents of fatal violence against the trans community in any state since HRC tracking began; 33 of the 350 victims identified over the last 11 years were in Florida, or more than 1 in 10 (13.2%) of all victims.

At the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Florida are explicitly protected from discrimination in employment, housing, education and public spaces; however, Florida does have multiple anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-transgender laws on its books, and Florida does not include gender identity as a protected characteristic in its hate crimes law. Though we have recently seen some political gains that support and affirm transgender people, we have also faced unprecedented anti-LGBTQ+ attacks in the states. In June 2023, the Human Rights Campaign declared a National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans, as a result of the more than 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced into state houses that year, over 80 of which were signed into law—more than in any other year.

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.

More resources:

  • Learn more about the fatal violence cases that HRC is tracking where details are unclear. You may find a list of these cases here.

  • Watch this PSA campaign elevating stories of trans joy and love.

  • Join HRC's Count Me In campaign to take action for transgender and non-binary people.

  • Read these guidelines and this FAQ for journalists to ensure greater accuracy and respect in reporting.

  • Learn about how transgender and non-binary people are combating transphobia, stigma and anti-trans violence through our Celebrating Changemakers series.