October 23, 2019 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

When Nino Fortson Died, So Did His Name

His name was Nino.

Most of the time, he went by Nino Fortson, but in the community of Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ ballroom scene, he was also known as Nino Blahnik and Nino Starr.  After he was shot to death on Sunday, the first media reports on the murder of misgendered and deadnamed the 36-year-old gender-nonconforming Atlantan.

His friends and family took to social media to express their sorrow for Forston’s death and their outrage over the disregard for his identity, rallying around the hashtag #JusticeForNino. 

For many in Atlanta’s queer community, the first time they heard the news of Nino’s death was through a Facebook post on the profile of Kamaro Blahnik, the founder of a national LGBT community provider called the House of Blahnik. The post referred to Fortson by both he/him and she/her pronouns, and called Fortson “my son.” According to Blahnik, Fortson walked the “Butch Realness” category at balls.

The Atlanta Police Department (APD) has made efforts do better with the transgender community, spearheaded by lesbian chief Erika Shields. As a part of its Community Oriented Policing Section, APD now employs LGBT liaisons officers who assist with cases involving members of the LGBT community.

“Our preliminary investigation did not in any way indicate that this individual identified as transgender,” said Atlanta police spokesperson Carlos Campos. “And we had no evidence that such an identification played any role in this death. But given the issues that are being raised publicly, we are going to engage our LGBT liaisons to work with our homicide unit and see if there are some angles that need to be looked at.”

Witnesses at the scene of Fortson’s death described an argument between Forston, two perceived men, and two perceived women. “During the argument, the victim pulled a small gun from her pocket and fired into the air,” reads an official Atlanta police statement sent to them. “The witness said he then walked away, but a short time later heard more gunshots and looked back to see the victim on the ground, and one of the males limping away.”

Fortson’s murder marks the 10th known transgender homicide this year, and the first transgender man of the group. According to a report released by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Trans People of Color Coalition, 2017 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people. This held true for Atlanta and Georgia as well. “Last year was the highest record of violence against trans people in the metro Atlanta area and in the state of Georgia,” Zahara Green, executive director of the Atlanta-based nonprofit Transcending Barriers, said to them.

The epidemic of violence against trans people is made worse by the lack of statewide protections. “There are no protections for hate crimes in the state, no anti-discrimination protections for housing or education,” said Green. “And that puts trans people in the dangerous situation of having to survive on the streets of Atlanta.”

Related Posts

WeHo Mayor Speaks About Attack on Trans Folks at Las Perlas

August 28, 2019

August 28, 2019

 wave of backlash is sweeping social media as people learn about the transphobic and homophobic abuse that transpired at Las...

Young Trans Woman Fights Homelessness After Father’s Death

July 25, 2019

July 25, 2019

For Christine Coleman, troubling news has unfortunately been a constant since childhood. But not even experiences with foster care and...

Crowning the Kollectin Queen

July 8, 2019

July 8, 2019

By Melanie Camp After finishing her first season on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Gia Ichikawa said she found herself confused. While...

Another Trans Victim from Dating App Robbery

July 2, 2019

July 2, 2019

By Jorge Paniagua Jessica Jean nearly became part of a growing statistic after downloading the popular LGBTQ+ dating/sex app Grindr....

LA Pride Fuels The Female Force Within

June 6, 2019

June 6, 2019

FEM(ME) eventkicks off LA Pride by celebrating LGBTQ+ women and raising awareness of collective struggle. By Jorge Paniagua Violence against...

Third time may be the charm for The Equality Act?

April 5, 2019

April 5, 2019

Bill providing LGBTQ+ protections is currently being reviewed by U.S. Committees. By Jorge Paniagua Republicans challenged the legislation with anti-transgender...

LA Pride, Trans Wellness Center Create Transgender Policy, Leadership and Advocacy Training Program

April 1, 2019

April 1, 2019

Registration for this four-session series that teaches how to engage in Policy Reform and fighting for Civil Rights closes April...

Cases Linked to Deaths in Ed Buck’s Apartment Still Hot, LASD Announces

March 5, 2019

March 5, 2019

The deaths of Timothy Dean and Gemmel Moore incite calls for justice within community.  By Jorge Paniagua When one of...

Memorial Night for WeHo Bartender Charles Kinsley

February 26, 2019

February 26, 2019

As the West Hollywood night scene mourns the loss of long-time bartender Charles Kinsley, the Mother Lode will be holding...

Mexican Consul visits Trans Wellness Center in Los Angeles

February 19, 2019

February 19, 2019

Carlos Garcia de Alba speaks with transgender community about a collaboration between the Consulate of Mexico and Trans Wellness Center....

Devoted to His Country, Dismissed by Trump

February 7, 2019

February 7, 2019

Transgender U.S. Army veteran, Rudy Akbarian, shares how the Trump Administration’s transphobic policymaking will not undo his patriotism. By Jorge...

Supreme Court Approves Trump’s Trans Military Ban

January 22, 2019

January 22, 2019

The Supreme Court  on on Tuesday, Jan. 22  approved the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender people from serving in the...

Long Beach City Officials authorize policies protecting transgender and gender nonconforming citizens

December 5, 2018

December 5, 2018

Councilmember Rex Richardson, in collaboration with the LB LGBTQ+ Center, create legislation which combats discrimination and upholds inclusivity. By Jorge...

COLUMN: Victoria’s Secret Trans Backlash Matters

November 29, 2018

November 29, 2018

In case you live under a rock – or have something better to do than follow the politics of underwear...

Trump Tries To Fast-Track Trans Military Ban

November 28, 2018

November 28, 2018

Just in time for the Holidays. Presumably unhappy with the results of the recent election, President Donald Trump is trying...