Transgender Day of Rememberance was established in 1999 to memorialize Rita Hester, a trans woman who was brutally murdered the year before. Her murder remains unsolved, as do many of the crimes committed against transgender and gender-nonconforming people. This year, sadly, is no different, as the official website reports that hundreds of transgender people were slain in the world this year, and more than a dozen in the United States. Here is some information about those who were lost in the U.S.
Ashley Sinclair, 30, was found shot to death in a heavily wooded area in Orange County, Fla., in the early morning hours of April 4. Neighbors called police when they saw a black sedan approach the area and heard four gunshots. Investigators said Sinclair was "an obvious victim of homicide," but no arrests have been made. Sinclair was a beloved member of Orlando's LGBT community and frequently performed at one of the city's oldest LGBT clubs, Parliament House.
Kelly Young was shot April 3 and died in a Baltimore hospital the next day — making April 4 an especially deadly day for trans women in the U.S. Young was 29 years old when she was shot inside her home on Barclay Street in east Baltimore. Family and friends say Young was well-liked in her community, and they urge anyone with information surrounding her death to come forward. Baltimore police were investigating the homicide as a possible hate crime but have yet to declare a definitive motive or arrest a suspect.
Domonique Newburn, 32, was well on her way to realizing her dream of becoming an out transgender music star, as she had just finished filming the latest season of the Web series, Hollywood Houseboys, when she was found brutally murdered inside her apartment in Fontana, Calif., August 20. Police have offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Dantjier Powell, 18, a former partner of Newburn's who police believe beat her to death in August and then fled the city with his girlfriend, Jamie Nicole Cotton. Despite widespread media coverage of Newburn's death and the recovery of her car, in which Powell is believed to have escaped, no arrests have been made.
Islan Nettles, 21, was on her way to turning her life around when she was beaten to death on the street across from a police station in New York City's Harlem neighborhood in August. Living on her own, working at H&M, and designing her own fashion line, Nettles was apparently doing well in her new identity as a transgender woman until a confrontation with a group of men on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, reports The New York Times. Nettles was struck in the face multiple times, fell into a coma, and then died. Police arrested a college student, Paris Wilson, but another man later came forward and confessed to the crime; the case against Wilson was dismissed Tuesday.
Cemia "CeCe" Dove, a 20-year-old trans woman, was found in an Ohio pond, stabbed several times and tied to a concrete block. As if her death wasn't horrible enough, she was disrespected by the local media, especially The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, which refused to use her chosen name. Andrey Bridges, 36, was arrested and charged with murder in Dove's death.
Eyricka Morgan was never accepted by her family and ventured out on her own in her early teens. She would eventually be embraced by the African American Office of Gay Concerns in Newark, N.J., where she became a maternal figure to younger LGBT kids. Morgan was stabbed to death in September at a boardinghouse in New Brunswick. Devonte Scott, 21, has been charged with the crime.
Evon Young, a 22-year-old transgender rapper from Milwaukee, was the victim in a gang killing January 1. Three men have since been convicted in the murder, and two others arrested. Young was suffocated, beaten, and shot before being dismembered and set ablaze, but his body was never recovered and given an appropriate burial.
Artegus Konyale Madden, 34, was known by friends as the life of the party, but the multitalented performer was found beaten to death September 1 at her home in Savannah, Texas. Artegus left many friends behind, some of whom are questioning why the police department has been so slow to turn up any leads. As of yet no arrests have been made.
Diamond Williams was brutally murdered and dismembered before her body was disposed of in a vacant lot July 14. A 43-year-old man was charged with the crime, but her friends, family, and residents of the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood in Philadelphia still mourn the loss of the young and energetic woman who was known as loving, caring, and creative.
Melony Smith, 31, was found dead in a motel room in Baldwin Park, Calif., in September, and investigators later determined that she was beaten to death. Stephen Gonzales, 28, was already in police custody for drug possession but was also charged with the murder.
Milan Boudreaux, 26, was found dead with her 22-year-old boyfriend, Akeem Boudreaux, in their Metairie, La., apartment in February. Their bodies were discovered by concerned friends who entered their apartment after not hearing from them for several days. The two, who local TV station WGNO reports were known as "an ideal couple," had been together for six years. An acquaintance of the couple, Melvin Miller, was discovered to be driving the couple's car, and possessed a cell phone and laptop that belonged to them. He was taken into custody and charged with the double homicide.
Amari Hill, 22, was found dead in an alley in Richmond, Va., earlier this month, two months after she began the process to transition. Hill's friend Danielle Davis told GayRVA.com that she was certain she was murdered because of her gender identity, but Richmond police say they do not consider Hill's death a hate crime.
A murder victim whose body was found in a trash can in Detroit November 8 has not been identified, but both LGBT advocates and police say the victim was a transgender woman. The body was discovered by a mother and son looking for bottles and scraps in trash cans. The can was located in an alley behind a bar. Little information has been released on the nature of the victim’s injuries.
Written by Sunnivie Brydum, Neal Broverman, Michael Regula, Michelle Garcia, and Trudy Ring.