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Trans Woman Accused of Murder; She Says It Was Self-Defense

Gaby Vidanapereyra

Gaby Vidana Pereyra will be in court Wednesday in the death of Victor Suarez. She says she shot Suarez in self-defense.

A Dallas transgender woman will be in court Wednesday on a murder charge, but she insists that she acted in self-defense.

Victor Suarez, 35, was shot to death last year in Dallas. Gaby Vidana Pereyra, 28, an undocumented trans woman, had just returned from the Miss Universe contest in Florida the night of May 18, 2021, when she encountered Suarez, activist and blogger Stacey Monroe told the Dallas Voice. Suarez, a neighbor of Vidana Pereyra's, said he would pay her to have sex with him, and she refused several times but finally agreed, according to Monroe.

Vidana Pereyra got into Suarez's truck, and "after whatever they did," Suarez told her, "Today I'm going to teach you how to be a man," Monroe related. Suarez pulled out a gun and attempted to fire it, but the safety was on. As they struggled over the weapon, the safety came off and Suarez was shot in the chest, Monroe said.

Vidana Pereyra managed to gain control of his gun when Suarez got out of the truck and appeared to be coming around to the passenger side. "Under the immediate influence of fear, she believed he was going to fight for control of the gun again," Monroe said in a statement shared with The Advocate. "Without time for cool reflection, the fear and terror he provoked turned into rage, and she followed him and shot him three times."

The next day, Vidana Pereyra called 911, and police came to her apartment, and she admitted to shooting Suarez, Monroe said. The trans woman said she was defending herself, fearing she would become the next victim of anti-trans violence, but police and prosecutors brought a murder charge against her. Some local coverage, which deadnamed Vidana Pereyra, said she was identified through surveillance video broadcast on news programs.

She was offered a 25-year sentence in a plea bargain, the Voice reports. That was subsequently reduced to 20 years and then 15 years with a possibility of parole after six years. "Gaby feels the final plea offer she received isn't fair, but she has decided to accept because the prosecutor won't negotiate any further," Monroe said in her statement. Vidana Pereyra has been in jail since turning herself in.

Monroe has put out a call on social media for supporters of Vidana Pereyra to attend the court hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Crowley Courts Building in Dallas. She's asking that attendees wear red or pink shirts to show solidarity with Vidana Pereyra, as red and pink are her favorite colors.

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