Dana Martin, shot to death Sunday in Montgomery, Ala., is the first transgender homicide victim of 2019.
Police found Martin, 31, in a vehicle in a roadside ditch about 11 p.m. Sunday, the Montgomery Advertiser reports. The newspaper did not mention her gender, and some other media outlets misgendered her, but local activists told The Advocate she was an African-American trans woman. She lived in Hope Hull, an unincorporated area near Montgomery.
Her identity was confirmed by Meta Ellis and Harvey McDaniel, director and educational outreach director, respectively, of Montgomery Pride United and cofounders of the Bayard Rustin Community Center. They have been in touch with police about the case and about the importance of using proper identifiers for trans people, they said. They have also contacted Martin’s friends and intend to reach out to her family.
Martin was apparently shot while driving her car, the activists said. Police have no leads but are continuing to investigate.
At least 24 trans people were murdered in the U.S. in 2018, most of them women of color. The figure for 2017 was 27, tying it with 2016 as the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans. The number for any given year is undoubtably higher, given that some victims are misgendered by police or media, or their deaths not reported at all.