The violent deaths of two more transgender people have been reported, bringing this year’s toll for trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming Americans to at least 24.
Sophie Vásquez, a 36-year-old Latinx trans woman, was shot and killed in her apartment in Brookhaven, Ga., May 4, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Black trans woman Danny Henson, 31, who also went by Pryynce Daniel, was fatally shot in her home in Baltimore the same day, according to Pgh Lesbian Correspondents.
Vásquez was shot multiple times; Brookhaven police found five shell casings and three bullets at the scene. Police have released little information about the crime, saying they don’t have a suspect and haven’t determined a motive. But local activists accused them of downplaying the incident because of Vásquez’s gender identity.
“We demand justice and accountability,” Li Ann Sanchez, executive director of Community Estrella, told the Journal-Constitution. “We will not let her death go in vain or be swept under the rug.” But a police spokesman said keeping a lid on information may lull the perpetrator into a false sense of security and therefore make apprehension easier.
A vigil to honor Vásquez was scheduled for today. Friends on social media have remembered her as “the kindest person on the planet” and someone who “lit up the whole room and made us laugh until we cried.”
The investigation into Henson’s case is ongoing as well, but family members say she may have been killed by someone she knew and possibly was in a relationship with, Baltimore TV station WMAR reports.
A vigil for Henson was held Thursday. “I’m still emotional, but I’m trying to hold it together,” brother Michael Henson said at the event.
Friend Ashley Evang recalled Danny Henson as “just the embodiment of love,” adding, “We need to stop having all these black men, black women, black trans people dying and no justice being found.”
The total number of trans people reported to have died by violence in the U.S. last year reached 44, the highest since activists and media have been keeping records. The number in any given year is likely much higher, given that many are misgendered and deadnamed, or their deaths not reported at all.