Texas resident Aidelen Evans, 24, has been identified as the 30th transgender, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming person to die by violence in the U.S. this year.
Evans, a Black trans woman, was found dead in a canal in Port Arthur, Texas, in March, but police announced just this week that they believe her death is a homicide, The News of Port Arthur reports.
Port Arthur police initially investigated, but now police in nearby Beaumont have taken over the case, due to evidence that she was killed in Beaumont and then taken to the canal. They have not commented on how she was killed.
Local media have called Evans a transient who had spent time in Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Houston, but her mother told San Antonio TV station WOAI that Evans could turn to family members for shelter.
"My child was loving. My child was very happy. My child lived in her truth every day," Joy Griffin said.
Evans had been harassed for being transgender and was even shot when walking with a group of friends in 2017, Griffin said.
Griffin hopes to start a support group, called Aidelen's Angels, for parents who have lost children to violence.
The 30 violent deaths (at least) of trans people in the U.S. this year means that 2021's total is likely to exceed 2020's record of 44. Undoubtedly many other such deaths go unreported because the victims are misgendered and deadnamed by police or media.
"The loss of another Black transgender woman is heartbreaking and infuriating. Aidelen did not deserve to have her life taken from her -- none of the transgender and nonbinary people who have been killed deserved to have their lives cut short," said a statement from Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign's Transgender Justice Initiative. "The violence that continues to impact transgender and gender-nonconforming people, especially Black transgender women, must stop. We need everyone to speak out against stigma and in support of trans lives."
Anyone with information that may aid in the investigation is asked to call Beaumont police at (409) 832-1234 or submit an anonymous tip to Southeast Texas Crime Stoppers at (409) 833-TIPS (8477).