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Day Rodas, Trans Woman Who Worked at L.A. LGBT Center, Found Dead

Day Rodas
Image via GoFundMe

Police have not stated a cause of death, but they are investigating her death as a homicide.

Day Rodas, a transgender woman who worked for the Los Angeles LGBT Center, was found dead Thursday morning on a roadside in Malibu, Calif., and police are investigating her death as a homicide.

Police have not stated exactly what caused her death, Los Angeles TV station KTLA reports. Her family had reported her missing after she stopped responding to calls and messages, and she didn't report to her job.

"She recently started living her life authentically as she came out to friends and family about being a trans woman," her sister, Susie Rodas, wrote on a GoFundMe page where she and her father are raising money for funeral expenses. Day Rodas, who was 27, was a deeply forgiving person and a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, her sister noted. "After being afraid for 27 years, she only got to live freely without fear for only six months which breaks our hearts," Susie Rodas continued.

Day Rodas worked in the Community Health Center program at the LGBT Center. "We are so proud of the work that Day did for the Center and our community," said a statement from LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner. "Shortly after joining our team, Day announced that she identified as a transgender woman. Her colleagues and family alike have expressed that Day seemed like she was beginning a new chapter -- one where she could finally be her authentic self. To have her life cut short in this moment -- and under such troubling circumstances -- makes her loss all the more heartbreaking."

"We are witnessing a rise in anti-trans political rhetoric and cultural phobias that contribute to hate crimes against transgender people, many of which go unsolved," Hollendoner continued. "In the moments following Day's passing last week, she was repeatedly misgendered by authorities and the local news media. We categorically condemn such carelessness, and we will do everything in our power to make sure these forces recognize our colleague as she deserves. We commit to honoring Day's life by continuing her work helping our community, and to ensure that transgender people are treated in our society with the dignity and justice that they deserve."

Rodas is at least the 36th trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming person to die by violence in the U.S. this year. That total includes a trans man and a trans woman killed in the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs November 19 as well as a trans woman, whose name has not been released, who was killed in Vallejo, Calif., last month. That is most likely an undercount, as many of these deaths go unreported or misreported, with victims deadnamed and misgendered. The nation saw a record 57 reported violent deaths among this population last year.

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