The Trans Lives We Lost in 2017

For the transgender community, the death count is still high, and the price of living out loud in a prejudiced society grows more perilous by the year.

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As of today, 26 transgender individuals have lost their lives due to hate crimes. Of this large number, only one death shy of last year, which ranked as the most violent year in history for trans people, there are many similarities between the victims besides the targeted manner in which they died. Most of these victims were women. Most of them were women of color. Many of them had suffered harassment from friends, ex-lovers, current lovers, even family members before their deaths. Most of them were misgendered in initial police reports, or blamed for their own deaths. Many were misgendered by the families they left behind. All of them, except the few too young to have struck out on their own, were tax-paying citizens of this country. All of them were under the age of 50. In remembering these individuals as people less defined by their deaths than their remarkable, short lives, we hope to give them the respect that they deserve and were denied during their last moments of life.

1. Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow

28 years old, resident of Sioux Falls, SD

Who She Was: Part of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, Jamie identified as a Two-Spirit and was a member of a Two-Spirit and Allies group in Sioux Falls. She was a student of social work and nursing.

What She Left Behind: Friends who had a “one in a million bestie” in Jamie.

2. Mesha Caldwell

41 years old, resident of Canton, MS

Who She Was: A hairstylist and makeup artist who won “many hair battles,” according to her close friend Keith Dupree.

What She’s Remembered For: Her “style, personality,” and how she “always had something good to say.”

 

3. Sean Hake

Age Unknown, resident of Sharon, PA

Who He Was: A good-hearted man who struggled with his own demons and ended up taking his own life on January 6.

What He’s Remembered For: “always being there for other people.”

4. Jojo Striker

23, resident of Toledo, OH

Who She Was: A woman whose death caused Equality Toledo to serve: “a direct invitation to all media sources in the Toledo area to a workshop on how to appropriately report on the lives of the LGBT community, particularly our transgender siblings.”

What She Left Behind: A heartbroken Toledo community and a mother who remembers that “everybody loved Jojo. Everybody.”

5. Tiara Lashaytheboss Richmond

24, resident of Chicago, IL

Who She Was: “The life of the party”

What She Left Behind: Laughter, love, and two beloved siblings.

6. Jaquarrius Holland

18, resident of Monroe, LA

Who She Was: A friend, a daughter, a kid just out of school.

What She’s Remembered For: Helping her friends “accept who they were.”

7. Chyna Doll Dupree

31, New Orleans, LA native

Who She Was: A talented drag performer and ball scene fixture.

What She’s Remembered For: Her fierceness and her pure heart.

8. Ciara McElveen

21, resident of New Orleans, LA

Who She Was: A proud mentor and member of the New Orleans LGBTQ+ community.

What She Left Behind: Shocked friends who remember Ciara “never bringing trouble to anybody.”

9. Alphonza Watson

38, resident of Baltimore, MD

Who She Was: “a caring, passionate, fun person to be around.”

What She Left Behind: A mother who misses her daughter “Peaches.”

10. Chayviss Reid

Age unknown, resident of Opa-locka, FL

Who She Was: “A human being, a person, my child.”

What Will Be Remembered: “She didn’t have to die like this.”

11. Kenneth Bostick

59, resident of New York City, NY

Who He Was: A “quiet, unassuming presence” who cut a “Dylan-like” figure on the streets of New York.

What He Leaves Behind: Activists working toward a better future for at-risk trans folks experiencing homelessness.

12. Sherrell Faulkner

46, resident of Charlotte, NC

Who She Was: A woman assaulted and left for dead by a dumpster in one of Charlotte’s “gay-friendly” neighborhoods.

What She Leaves Behind: An anguished community still trying to make sense of her death.

13. Kenne McFadden

26, resident of San Antonio, TX

Who She Was: A poet who also loved to sing.

What Will Be Remembered: Her “goofy and uplifting” personality.

14. Josie Berrios

28, resident of Ithaca, NY

Who She Was: A drag performer at Ithaca’s House of Merlot.

What She Leaves Behind: The memory of a resilient personality that wouldn’t quit.

15. Ava Le’Ray Barrin

17, resident of Athens, GA

Who She Was: An “unapologetically real” young woman.

What Will Be Remembered: Someone who “wanted nothing more than to have fun in life.”

16. Ebony Morgan

28, resident of Lynchburg, VA

Who She Was: A beloved member of the Lynchburg Diversity Center.

What She Leaves Behind: A violent killer still at large.

17. Troy “Tee Tee” Dangerfield

32, resident of College Park, GA

Who She Was: A “best friend,” an “all-around beautiful person.”

What She Leaves Behind: A family wondering why she’s gone.

18. Gwynevere River Song

28, resident of Waxahachie, TX

Who They Were: A UT Austin alum, a femandrogyne, a deep thinker.

What Will Be Remembered: “the beauty, thoughtfulness and imagination [they] brought to this world.”

19. Kiwi Herring

30, resident of St. Louis, MO

Who She Was: A visiting caregiver, mother.

What She Leaves Behind: A spouse and three children.

20. Kashmire Redd

28, resident of Gates, NY

Who He Was: A member of the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley, a victim of domestic abuse.

What He Leaves Behind: A grieving community determined to show other victims they’re not alone.

21. Derrika Banner

26, resident of Charlotte, NC

Who She Was: A “playful spirit” and “go-getter.”

What Will Be Remembered: Her enjoyment of life.

22. Ally Steinfeld

17, resident of Cahool, MO

Who He Was: A very “loving, outgoing person” who was about to undergo gender confirmation surgery.

What He Leaves Behind: An accepting, loving, heartbroken family.

23. Stephanie Montez

47, resident of Robstown, TX

Who She Was: Someone with a “great outlook on life.”

What Will Be Remembered: Her sweetness, dancing ability, and skilled drag performances.

24. Candace Towns

30, resident of Macon, GA

Who She Was: A generous friend who would “give you the clothes off her back.”

What She Leaves Behind: Friends determined to find justice.

25. Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson

31, resident of Oklahoma City, OK

Who She Was: A daughter, friend, sister, and activist.

What Will Be Remembered: How hard she “worked to establish her identity and a place for herself” in the world.

26. Brandi Seals

26, resident of Houston, TX

Who She Was: “A beautiful person.”

What Will Be Remembered: A woman who, even in death, was misgendered and misunderstood.

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