I learned about the murder of the 9th trans woman of color this year (in the US) from an email update. 25-year-old Tajshon Ashley Sherman was found in an empty lot in Indianapolis with “intense head injuries” by a police officer driving nearby. Her body was discovered on October 26. Police have confirmed that she was shot in the head at least one time. **Please note that there is a lot of conflicting information on what name Ms. Sherman preferred so I am including both and continuing to look for a verifiable source.
Over 100 family members and friends held a vigil Wednesday evening asking the public to come forward with information. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS. Anonymous tips can also be submitted online at crimetips.org or by texting “INDYCS” plus tip information to 274627
According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, Tajshon is the 9th trans woman of color who has died of violence in 2014 in the US. There have been countless victims worldwide, including the recent murder of Jennifer Laude in the Philippines at the hands of a member of the US military.
- June 3rd : the body of Kandy Hall was discovered in a field in northeast Baltimore in what local police believe to be a homicide.
- June 12th: Zoraida Reyes’s body was discovered behind a Dairy Queen in Anaheim, California. Her death has been ruled suspicious by investigators because it is believed her body was moved to that location, but has not yet been ruled a homicide.
- June 19th: the body of Yaz’min Shancez was found behind a Budget Truck Rental on Powell Street in Fort Myers, Florida. According to local media reports, local police believe her death to be a homicide, and her body had been burned.
- June 26th: Tiff Edwards was found shot to death in the middle of the road in Walnut Hills, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati.
- July 16th: Mia Henderson was discovered in an alley in Baltimore, Maryland while police were serving a search warrant in the area. According to police, she appears to have died from trauma to the body, indicating homicide.
- August 15th: An unidentified gender non-conforming person was the victim of a homicide in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit Police have arrested Eduardo Moss, who they believe was the victim’s partner, in connection to this homicide. Local authorities also believe this homicide is connected to two other attacks against transgender women in Michigan in August.
- September 7th: Alejandra Leos, a transgender woman of color, was shot outside her home following a domestic dispute that originated within the home. Marshall Pegues, age 21, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death.
- October 2nd: Aniya Parker was fatally shot in the head in Los Angeles, California in what the police categorized as a botched robbery.
“Tajshon Sherman’s death makes it clear that there is an alarming epidemic of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming women, specifically transgender women of color in the United States,” said Osman Ahmed of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs in a statement Thursday. “This violence is exacerbated by misgendering of victims by law enforcement and media outlets.”
I’m not sure I agree with Ahme. I don’t think anything is clear about this epidemic, in part due to the misgendering but also because the mainstream white gay and lesbian community simply aren’t paying close enough attention. Now women of color are paying attention – last week in Pittsburgh, PA a group of women spent their Friday afternoon distributing 500+ flowers to “black trans/women and girls” – you can view the photos here. Part of their stated intent was to celebrate the lives of their sisters while they are still alive.
How terrifying it is that this is a radical notion.
In honor of Tajshon Ashley and all trans women of color who live with the legacy of violence inflicted upon them, I just wanted to share the beautiful image used by the “Flowers for Black Girls” project.