The wave of unrelenting violence against transgender women of color has claimed another life this week. A black trans woman in her 20s, identified only as T.T., was found murdered in Chicago Sunday, Windy City Times reports.
As has become incredibly common, initial police and media reports misgendered T.T., and it wasn't until friends spoke up publicly that it was known that the victim was a trans woman.
A vigil was held Monday for T.T. in Garfield Park, the west side neighborhood where she was found, where local friends came to remember the woman's life. One of those friends, Jaliyah Armstrong, told Windy City Times that T.T was a very happy person and that she was "laughing all the time." Armstrong went on, "You could be going through a bad day, but once you saw [T.T.], she was such a happy, cheerful person, all that changed." T.T. hoped to become a hairdresser, Armstrong added.
The Advocate spoke with Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Michelle Tannehill, who repeatedly insisted that the police do not currently believe that the victim was a trans woman. She said police were proceeding with investigation of the case as a the homicide of a man, and had no suspects or potential motive at this time.
T.T. is at least the 20th transgender person known to have been murdered in 2016, the vast majority of them being trans women of color. This summer has been especially deadly, with six trans women of color reported murdered since June.
Trans women of color face incredible levels of homicide in the U.S., and the number of trans women of color murdered has risen every year for the last several years. By comparison, 21 trans women were reported murdered in all of 2015, and 12 such deaths were reported in 2014.
It is believed that far more trans women of color are murdered each year than are reported in the media, as police departments often fail to disclose or document the fact that victims are transgender.