Black Trans Man Demarkis Stansberry, 30, Killed in Baton Rouge

Demarkis Stansberry
Photo via The Advocate

From The Advocate comes the tragic news of the murder of Demarkis Stansberry:

Demarkis Stansberry, a 30-year-old black man of transgender experience, was fatally shot Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.

Stansberry was shot in the head by 24-year-old Nicholas Matthews, reports local newspaper The Advocate. Matthews reportedly turned himself in to local police the day of the shooting and confessed to killing Stansberry.

Stansberry was shot inside Matthews’s home just before 11:30 a.m. Saturday. After finding Stansberry in the house, East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies pronounced Stansberry dead at the scene, according to KSLA TV, a station in Shreveport.

Matthews is currently in custody at the parish jail, where he has been charged with negligent homicide, illegal use of a weapon, and possession of a firearm by a felon. His bail has been set at $90,000. Parish police did not respond to requests for further information by press time.

The Advocate takes local media to task for their ongoing disregard for fairness and accuracy when reporting on the Demarkis’ death – misgendering including mixed-gendering in the reporting, using their old name, etc.

I used to live in Baton Rouge (1992-1995) so the lackluster reporting doesn’t shock me. Of course, I live in Pittsburgh now and we have the same inconsistencies here. Denying people their actual identity even in death is an atrocious final gesture of dismissal and disregard by the very people we count on the most to be accurate and fair. The Baton Rouge Advocate (warning for misgendering) seems to think that the word of Demarkis’ four-year partner clarifying his gender identity and preferred name is on the same par as people posting on Facebook. That lack of good sense is not only unprofessional, but also taints the story.

I have to also say that gun control and gun violence must be acknowledged. It appears that the killer used an unlicensed gun that “he thought” was unloaded in this incident. Why is it so hard to check to see if a gun is loaded before you handle it? This is how a culture of gun violence trickles down to claim innocent lives, over and over and over. And whether they are friends spending time together or the child of a law enforcement officer who find’s their parents service weapon, it is senseless violence that could be prevented.

Demarkis is more than a statistic even as his is the 4th reported killing of a transgender person in the United States this year. A glimpse at his Facebook page indicates his interests, his passions, his friendships.

Rest in power, Demarkis. You deserved better and I hope your memory will inspire all of us to work for a safer world for our transgender siblings.

I’ll update with information on final arrangements as they become available.

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