Scroll To Top
Crime

Transgender 17-year-old Tayy Dior Thomas shot to death in Alabama

Transgender flag candles remembering Tayy Dior Thomas
image via HRC

A 20-year-old man, who her family says she had been dating, is charged with her murder.

trudestress

Tayy Dior Thomas, a 17-year-old transgender girl, was shot to death May 7 in Mobile, Ala., and the suspect is a man who her family says she had been dating.

Police found her body about 3:30 a.m. in the front yard of a home after responding to a report of shots fired in the area, according to TV station WALA. A vehicle had crashed into the house as well.

Police arrested Carl Washington Jr., 20. He is charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty this week and was denied bond.

Most news reports, including the WALA one, misgendered and deadnamed Thomas, but her family confirmed her name and trans identity to the Human Rights Campaign. The family told HRC that Thomas and Washington had been dating for about a year, and they believe Washington was afraid their relationship would become known to others.

“By all accounts, Tayy was a beautiful soul deeply loved by her family, friends, and community,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a press release. “She had so much life ahead of her, and it is heartbreaking that that potential was ripped away so violently by someone she was supposed to be able to trust. In 2015, we found that over half of all transgender and nonbinary adults were victims of intimate partner violence. So far, in 2024, nearly half of all victims of fatal violence with a known killer were killed by a romantic or sexual partner, friend, or family member. Trans people should be able to trust that the people in their lives will help protect them from this violence, not cause it.”

Tayy was “shy but so fearless” and had “natural leadership ability,” her grandmother told HRC. She “always had a huge smile on her face showing her dimples,” her grandmother added.

“In speaking with Tayy’s family, it is clear how deeply she was loved and cared for,” Carmarion Anderson, HRC’s Alabama state director, said in the release. “Her death is a massive loss for everyone who had the privilege of knowing her, and for those who had not yet had the chance to do so. We join Tayy’s family in their fight for justice, including in their call to have her murder be classified as a hate crime.” So far, police and prosecutors have not characterized it as such. Alabama's hate-crime law does not cover crimes motivated by the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity, but the suspect could be prosecuted under federal law, which does.

Thomas is survived by her grandmother, her mother, four siblings including a twin brother, and many extended family members. The family has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral expenses.

trudestress
Advocate Channel - HuluOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.