The death of Miami transgender woman Skylar Heath is being investigated as a homicide, bringing the total number of trans Americans who have died by violence this year to at least 40.
Heath, 20, died November 4 in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood, and she was misgendered and deadnamed in an obituary, Planet Transgender reports. In the wake of recent social media postings, the site contacted Miami-Dade County police this week, and a spokesperson said her death was under investigation by homicide detectives. No further information was available.
The police ask that anyone with information contact Det. A. Gonzalez at (305) 471-2400 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers by calling (305) 471-TIPS (8477) or (866) 471-8477, visiting CrimeStoppers305.com and selecting “Submit a Tip,” going to Facebook.com/crimestoppers305 and selecting “Contact Us,” or downloading the P3 app and signing in to Miami for Tips.
The obit noted that Heath was “a kind and gentle soul” and “nothing short of an amazing person,” with a “warm personality” and a “friendly spirit.”
“In November alone, at least four transgender women of color have been killed in this country. This reflects a horrific rate of violence that the transgender and gender-nonconforming community, especially Black transgender women, is facing this year,” Tori Cooper, the Human Rights Campaign’s director of community engagement for its Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a press release. “We are mourning Skylar’s loss along with her friends and family. Skylar was just at the beginning of her life, and she did not deserve to have that life cut short. None of the trans and gender-nonconforming people who have been killed this year deserved to have their lives taken from them. We must continue to affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter and take action to end the devastating violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming people.”
2020 is the deadliest year on record for trans people in the U.S. since media and activists began tracking the information several years ago. Most of the victims have been Black or Latinx women. The previous record for reported homicides was 31 in 2017. The total in any given year is undoubtedly higher, as trans people are often misgendered by police or media, or their deaths not reported at all.