Diamond Stephens, a 39-year-old transgender woman, was shot to death June 18 in Meridian, Miss., but she has been identified as transgender only now, as local police and media misgendered and deadnamed her.
Stephens was driving home that evening when she was shot in the back of the head, causing her van to crash into a house, according to Mississippi TV station WTOK. There may have been other people in the van, Police Chief Benny Dubose told the station. Police have yet to identify a suspect.
“We are hurting really bad,” Stephens’s cousin Georgia Brown told WTOK. “I don’t really know what words to say other than we need God to help us and give us strength to make it through this situation and pray to God that whoever did this is found.”
There have been 16 known homicides of transgender people in the U.S. this year, most of them women of color. The actual number is likely higher, given that some victims are misgendered or their deaths not reported at all.
Meridian police ask for anyone with information about Stephens’s death to call the department, (601) 485-1893, or Crimestoppers, (855) 485-8477.