28-year-old Chay Reed was shot to death Friday in the West Little River neighborhood of Miami-Dade. She is the 9th trans woman of color to be murdered in the US during 2017.
Neighbors provided home surveillance footage to the police, telling the media that they saw several people on the sidewalk before 5 AM. One person started to run and he heard six to seven gunshots. Police confirmed to the Miami-Dade ABC tv affiliate that they found multiple shell casings at the scene.
Mic.com spoke with several friends of Chay.
Reed’s friends, Jadan Miorke, said in a phone interview that Reed’s three favorite things were to “eat, dance and clown.”
The two met in 2006 at a teen night at a gay bar and have been friends since. Miorke said Reed was living with family and would don a feminine gender expression when she could. Since Miorke knew Reed, she wore makeup and eyelashes.
“It was about the household she was in,” Miorke said. “Whatever she could throw on, she could throw on. It was that type of thing.”
Miorke said his happiest memory was being able to take her to Littman Jewelers and pick her out a pair of diamond earrings for her 23rd birthday.
“We come from the same background, she wasn’t used to it,” he said. “She couldn’t pick what she wanted and I got her these diamond earrings. She went crazy.”
Miorke said the two were in touch less frequently over the last two years, though they always remained close.
“I just wish things would’ve gone differently,” he said. “Just seems like nowadays being transgender is dangerous as a whole.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Miami Dade County Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.
Imagine not being able to buy yourself earrings and wear them at your convenience/desire because you had to pretend to be male. Imagine growing up into your adult self and being able to wear those earrings and make your own choices about expressing your identity, knowing that the forces that kept you in a pre-defined box as a youth were still at play, still looking to stifle your truth. Permanently.
Those are experiences of women. They are not experiences of men who want to be women. They are not men. This simple truth – this reality that these are women – is one of the most dangerous realities in the world right now. And our ongoing determination as cis women to parse their experiences, to ‘other’ our trans sisters as women whose experiences are lesser rather than simply different than ours, is a moral failing on our part grounded in our own ignorance, fear and privilege.
Chay deserved better. She deserved to wear earrings and eyelashes and be safe on the street. To be loved by her family. To be validated in death as well. Instead, she had to hide and deflect. We don’t know yet if her death was connected to her gender identity, but we can see with wearied and practiced clarity that the reporting of her death by the police and the media initially misgendered her. A final indignity and denial of her truth, corrected by her fast acting friends and allies in the Miami-Dade community who had to set aside their own grieving to set things right.
Rest in power, Chay. You deserved a life filled with earrings and eyelashes and love.
The list of trans women killed in 2017 thus far.
- Mesha Caldwell – Mississippi (January 4), 41 years old
- Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow – Sioux Falls (January 7), 28 years old
- JoJo Striker – Toledo, Ohio (February 8), 23 years old
- KeKe Collier – Chicago (February 21), 24 years old
- Chyna Gibson – New Orleans (February 25), 31 years old
- Ciara McElveen – New Orleans (February 27), 26 years old
- Jaquarrius Holland (Brown) – Monroe, Louisiana (February 19), 18 years old
- Alphonza Watson – Baltimore (March 22), 38 years old
- Chay Reed – Miami-Dade (April 19), 28 years old