Two more violent deaths of transgender Americans have been reported, one in December and one in January.
Destiny Howard, 23, was found shot to death in Macon, Ga., December 9, according to the Human Rights Campaign. She was also known as Destin Howard or Destin Cheves, Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents reports. Her body was found in the parking lot of a software business, notes TV station WMGT, which misgendered her.
“It is heartbreaking to learn of yet another young Black trans woman whose life was taken by gun violence,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a press release. “Destiny’s life mattered, and it was taken far too soon. Initial reports of Destiny’s death misgendered her, denying her the dignity to be seen as she desired. Our society must recognize that trans women are women and that their lives have worth, and work to end the violence that takes far too many of our lives.”
The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Howard’s death. Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (478) 751-7500 or Macon Regional Crime Stoppers at (877) 68-CRIME.
She is at least the 37th trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming person to have died by violence in 2022 — 36 of whom have been named. A 31-year-old trans woman was shot to death in Vallejo, Calif., in November, but her name has not been released.
In the January incident, KC Johnson, 27, of Wilmington, N.C., is missing and presumed dead. She was last seen January 12 or 13 in Wilmington (reports vary), and police believe she was killed January 13, according to local paper Star News. She would be the second trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming person killed in 2023.
Police have not located her remains, although they are trying to determine if a body found in Savannah, Ga., is Johnson’s, TV station WWAY reports. But they have made an arrest. William Hicks, 26, of South Carolina, is charged with first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and kidnapping, Star News reports.
Police say he met Johnson on social media, according to WWAY. He was arrested in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on a fugitive warrant, and is being held in a South Carolina jail.
Johnson was a native of Wilmington who attended Abide University and worked as manager of a Domino’s, Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents reports. Her partner, Bulla Brodzinski, described Johnson as the love of her life, the site notes.
The LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear Coast held a candlelight vigil for Johnson last Friday, going from Wilmington City Hall to the spot where she was last seen. About 50 people attended, “from people who don’t have a connection to our community to allies with deep connections,” Caroline Morin, the center’s executive director, told Star News.
Speaking to WWAY, Morin added, “I think any time we have someone from within the community — the LGBTQ community as a whole but especially the trans and nonbinary community — when they’re murdered it’s an immediate message to us that something is happening, that we’re already familiar with. So a big thing that kind of comes for us next is what’s going to happen as our community going to respond appropriately. Will some sense of justice happen in this instance, and then what do we do to keep moving forward for those of us who are left behind?”