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Three More Trans Americans Killed; Another Hospitalized for Injuries

Shakie Peters and Bree Black

Violence against transgender Americans is continuing unabated, with two homicides, one mysterious death, and a brutal assault reported in the past few days.

Bree Black, a 27-year-old Black trans woman, was shot to death in her hometown of Pompano Beach, Fla., Friday night, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. She was found lying on the ground and was pronounced dead at the scene about 10:30 p.m. 

About 25 people gathered to honor her Sunday afternoon in Pompano Beach, the Miami Herald reports. “We want some immediate answers to what’s going on and we want this investigation to be done with full integrity,” Tifanny Burks, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward, said at the event.

Broward County homicide detectives are investigating and ask that anyone with information contact Det. Louis Bonhomme at (954) 321-4377. Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS (8477) or online at BrowardCrimeStoppers.org.

In Louisiana, Black trans woman Shakie Peters, 32, was found dead Wednesday near the town of Amite, not far from Baton Rouge, according to local newspaper The Advocate (no relation to this publication). The St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office, which misgendered her in its report, is investigating her death as a homicide and has identified a person of interest, but no names of suspects had been released as of Saturday.

Natahalie Nia Faulk, a friend of Peters who is also a Black trans woman, remembered her fondly. “Shakie was a very independent person and very loyal to her friends,” she told the Louisiana paper. “She was full of laughter and an abundance of life.” Faulk called the misgendering, coming on top of Peters’s death, “traumatizing.”

Another Black trans woman, Draya McCarty of Hammond, La., was found dead in Baton Rouge in the past week, but police have so far not ruled her death a homicide, according to Louisiana Trans Advocates.

The group released a statement calling for local and state leaders to “speak out against these killings, against the ongoing, systemic devaluation of trans people that pervades our media and politics, and against the institutional racism that places almost all of this burden on trans women of color.”

“As we mourn the loss of Shakie and Draya, we must double down our efforts to ensure that all trans people across the state have access to safety,” the group added.

The deaths of Peters and Breon are the 19th and 20th confirmed homicides of trans Americans this year. Most of the victims have been Black or Latinx.

Also, in the past week California media reported that Kristian Rouse, 18, a Black transgender man from Bakersfield, is recovering from a severe attack that occurred in May. His mother, Eurydice Darrington, asked police to conduct a wellness check on him May 13 when she hadn’t heard from him for two days, as they usually communicated daily. Police said they couldn’t let her into his apartment because there was no obvious emergency, even though they could see through a window that he was lying on the floor, but she found a maintenance worker who gave her access.

“Rouse was found with marks on his neck, his face swollen and bruises on his knuckles,” The Bakersfield Californian reports. His breasts were exposed, which is a “humiliating thing for a transgender male,” his mother told the paper. He had suffered two collapsed lungs as well. Doctors initially said Rouse might have inflicted the injuries on himself, but they then concluded he could not have done so.

Rouse spent four weeks on a ventilator in the intensive care unit of a Bakersfield hospital, then was transferred to a respiratory care center in West Covina, Calif., where he is still being treated. He is unable to walk or speak, can’t use his right arm, and can barely move his right leg.

“We don’t know how long he’ll be in the hospital,” Darrington said. “It’s going to be a very, very long process for rehabilitation with his arm or leg.” He will soon have surgery for scar tissue in his throat that was caused by intubation with the ventilator.

Police are continuing to investigate but have declined to say if they consider the attack a hate crime. Darrington told the Californian there has been widespread support from the community, and numerous donations have been made to a GoFundMe account set up to cover Rouse’s medical expenses.

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