Latinx transgender woman Maria Jose Rivera Rivera was killed in January in Houston in an apparent murder-suicide by her intimate partner.
Her death is just being widely reported now. Her body was found January 21, but she may have been dead for up to three days, according to local media. Neighbors had reported an odor coming from Rivera’s apartment, and they saw that the mail had been piling up, TV station KPRC reports. The cause of death has not been released.
Rivera, 22, was an immigrant from El Salvador. Her immigration attorney, Cristian Sanchez at RAICES Texas, told the Human Rights Campaign that all evidence indicates that she was killed by her intimate partner.
“Maria Jose was a joy to work with,” he said in a statement to HRC. “I always looked forward to speaking with her. She was lively, funny, and dynamic. My heart hurts from her loss. Transgender people who are immigrants suffer two levels of oppression and marginalization from society. This makes them especially vulnerable to harm. The transgender immigrant community deserves respect and safety.”
“It is devastating to learn of another young trans person murdered by an intimate partner,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a press release. “Maria Jose was looking to build a life in America, but that dream was shattered by someone who should have shown her love. Transgender and nonbinary people deserve a society that values their lives.”
Rivera is at least the sixth trans person to die by violence in the U.S. this year. There are likely many more who are misgendered or deadnamed by police or media, or whose deaths are not reported at all.
Related: Here Are the Trans Americans Killed in 2022 So Far
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