These victims, like all of us, are loving partners, parents, family
members, friends and community members. They worked, went to school and
attended houses of worship. They were real people — people who did not
deserve to have their lives taken from them.
As HRC continues to work toward justice and equality for transgender
and gender non-conforming people, we mourn those we have lost in 2021:
- Tyianna Alexander, who was also known as Davarea Alexander, was a 28-year-old Black trans woman. Tyianna was shot to death in Chicago on January 6. On social media, friends of Tyianna posted that she had “good energy” and had “a beautiful light,” with one friend saying “I loved everything about her.” Said another friend, “this lady was nothing but life, encouragement, motivation and fun.”
- Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, a transgender man, was killed on January 9 in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. Samuel was looking forward to starting a new year. On January 1, he posted on his Facebook, “a new year to come, grateful for all the experiences who [taught] me how strong we really are, to life, to good and bad, and for all justice that is forth to come.” He also spoke out against violence in Puerto Rico, expressing his hope for a Puerto Rico without killings.
- Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, a Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Atlanta, Ga. on January 17. On Friday, January 29, Bianca’s friends and the Trans Housing Coalition (THC) held a vigil outside of her apartment to remember her. Said THC’s Founder and Co-Director Jesse Pratt López, “Muffin was just blossoming into herself.”
- Dominique Jackson, a Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Jackson, Miss. on January 25. According to her Facebook, Dominique was the Mother of the Haus of Redd, and the Founder of The Ladi Redd Inc. Friends are remembering her on social media, with one saying “my heart is heavy,” and another sharing “I’m at a loss for words.”
- Fifty Bandz, a 21-year-old Black transgender woman,was shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 28. Friends of Fifty Bandz and advocates said her name as they released balloons to remember her life. On Facebook, one friend shared, “When are we as a community going to do something?!”
- Alexus Braxton, also known as Kimmy Icon Braxton, a 45-year-old Black trans woman, was killed on Feb. 4 in Miami. Braxton was a hairstylist and active on social media, posting regularly. One of her most recent posts said “they can’t stop my shine.” Family and friends held a balloon release to honor Alexus’s life on February 8 and have been remembering her on social media, with one saying “I’m beyond devastated.”
- Chyna Carrillo, who also went by Chyna Cardenas, was killed in the morning hours of February 18, 2021, in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Not much is known at the time about Chyna’s personal life. One of her social media posts suggested she would have celebrated her 25th birthday just weeks before her death. “Chyna was very young and did not deserve to have her life cut short,” said HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative Tori Cooper.
- Jeffrey “JJ” Bright, a 16-year-old trans boy from Ambridge, Pennsylvania, was killed on February 22. Jeffrey was a student at Ambridge High School and was active in P.R.I.S.M. (Pride. Respect. Inspiration. Safety. Mentoring.), a non-profit organization for the LGBTQ+ youth of Beaver County, Pa. “JJ is a part of our PRISM family,” PRISM shared on their Facebook. “JJ was a beautiful person with the biggest and brightest smile.” On February 23, PRISM held a candlelight vigil in his memory.
These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners or strangers,
some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be
identified. Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias. In
others, the victim’s transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, such as forcing them into unemployment, poverty, homelessness and/or survival sex work.
While the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal
violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color --
particularly Black transgender women -- and that the intersections of
racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and unchecked access
to guns conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and
HRC Foundation’s “Dismantling a Culture of Violence” report
demonstrates how anti-transgender stigma, denial of opportunity and
increased risk factors compound to create a culture of violence -- and
provides clear ways that each of us can directly make an impact to make
our society a safer place for transgender and gender non-conforming
As is too often the case in the reporting of anti-transgender
violence, many of these victims are misgendered in local police
statements and media reports, which can delay our awareness of deadly
incidents. In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect for
transgender and gender non-conforming people in both life and death, HRC
offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on these communities.
HRC has been tracking reports of fatal anti-transgender violence for the past several years. Previous reports can be found: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015.