A Pennsylvania woman has been charged with killing her two children, one of whom was transgender and the other nonbinary.
Jeffery “JJ” Bright, a 16-year-old trans boy, and his nonbinary sibling, 22-year-old Jasmine Canady, died February 22 after both were shot in the head at their home in Ambridge, in the western part of Pennsylvania, the Beaver Countian newspaper reports. Initial coverage identified Canady as Bright’s sister, but it has now been reported that the victim identified as nonbinary, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
The two young people’s mother, Krisinda Ann Bright, was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal homicide. Police said she called 911 and said she had killed her children, and when they arrived she was covered in blood, Pittsburgh TV station KDKA reports. At least one of the children begged her not to shoot, the criminal complaint against her states.
She is being held without bond in the Beaver County Jail. A hearing on her case was scheduled to take place this week but has been postponed until May.
Police and prosecutors haven’t said if they’ve determined a motive for the crime, but friends said the siblings had a “complicated” relationship with their mother, according to another local newspaper, The Times.
At a vigil for the victims, held February 23, attendees emphasized the need to respect everyone’s gender identity and to recognize when a person is in crisis and needs the help of mental health professionals — something that might have prevented the tragedy.
Jaci Palmer, founder of the local LGBTQ+ group PRISM, which organized the vigil, said Canady and Bright would be amazed to see the outpouring of support at the event, attended by more than 100 people.
“These two kids deserve this love and support from their communities,” she said, according to The Times. “Just love your kids; tomorrow’s not promised, and all these kids want is to be loved and accepted for who they are. These tragedies don’t need to happen.”
Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, released this statement: “Jeffery and Jasmine were both so young, too young to have their lives cut short. Both Jasmine and JJ had friends, family, a community and lives that they deserved to live. Our hearts go out to everyone in JJ and Jasmine’s community. As this high rate of violence against transgender people continues, we need everyone to keep mobilizing, keep speaking up and keep supporting trans and nonbinary lives.”
The siblings are at least the eighth and ninth trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming people to die by violence in the U.S. this year. 2020 saw at least 44 such deaths. The actual number for any year is likely higher because of misgendering or lack of reporting.