Transgender man Ray Muscat, 26, was shot to death Sunday at his home in Oakland County, Mich., becoming at least the 13th trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming American to have died by violence in 2022.
Police said he was shot by his girlfriend, trans woman Ruby Taverner, 22, who subsequently died by suicide, Law & Crime reports. Her body was discovered Monday near the apartment complex where she and Muscat lived. Her brother Bishop Taverner, 25, was also fatally shot in the apartment Sunday, and authorities believe Ruby Taverner was responsible for his death as well.
“This tragic situation has now been brought to a close, and our investigators will now pivot to see if we can answer the question on everyone’s mind — why,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a press release, according to the site.
Muscat was interested in anime and cosplay, and frequently attended conventions “to have fun and show off their unmatched talent and creativity,” notes an obituary, which deadnamed him. He had worked at Meijer, a big-box retailer, for several years, and customers and colleagues there knew him “as a kind soul who had a glowing smile,” according to the obit. A Michigan native, he had been attending Oakland Community College, studying early childhood education. He and Ruby Taverner had been in a relationship for two years.
There has been some sensationalistic and transphobic media coverage of the story, Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents reports. “Sadly, the media is whipped into a frenzy over the fact that a trans woman murdered her trans male boyfriend (and her own brother) then died by suicide,” the site reports. “The media coverage focuses on her, the murderer, and that is something often true in similar scenarios involving cisgender heterosexual couples. What’s worse is that people are using the trans identities of both one victim and the perpetrator as fodder for cruel jokes that diminish the tragedy and only serve to keep other folks from asking for help.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to provide assistance to Muscat’s family.
If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 is for people of all ages and identities.