A trans woman, 28-year-old Gigi Pierce of Boise, Idaho, was shot and killed in downtown Portland, OR. late Monday evening, May 21, 2018. The suspect is in custody. Gigi died on the scene after what’s been reported as a ‘disturbance’ between the two women.
According to The Advocate, Gigi was found alive by first responders, but died on the sidewalk. A friend of Gigi’s named Amber told local media that she witnessed the altercation and that Gigi died in her arms. That’s both immeasurably sad and a little bit of comfort knowing that she wasn’t alone in those final moments.
Portland’s Q Center is planning a memorial service to honor Gigi. There’s no information available on why she came to Portland or how long she has been living there. I have yet to find a photo of Gigi.
The mainstream media initially misgendered and deadnamed Gigi which delayed notification to the community about her death. While the Portland Mercury did update their reporting and make note of the change, it is mind-boggling that PORTLAND media didn’t grasp this information going into the story. TV station KATU still has inaccurate information posted, describing the name ‘Gigi’ as her ‘street name’ like she’s a character in a 1950’s live version of West Side Story. Keep this is mind when you fetishize Portland (and Oregon) as bastions of progressive values. Progressive for whom?
The woman who killed Gigi is Sophia Grace Adler, 33, a resident of a nearby temporary shelter for women. Adler has pled not guilty There’s no information on how or if the women knew one another or the reasons for their encounter. According to The Advocate:
Josie Deleon-Summa, who said she knew both Pierce and Adler, remembered Pierce as someone “full of life, always trying to help somebody,” the TV station reports. Deleon-Summa also said Adler was “a good kid,” but “something happened … to make her snap.”
Rest in power, Gigi. You deserved more than 28 years and to be remembered for your genuine, authentic identity. You deserve to be safe in Boise and Portland. We will do our best to honor your memory.
Please note that Monica Roberts has more information on the suspicious death of Nicole Hall, a 36-year-old Dallas resident. Nicole was a Black trans woman, but until her cause of death is determined her story is left untold. We’ll be paying close attention. Nicole’s body was discovered on May 12 – meaning we learned about the deaths of 4 trans neighbors in a 12 day period.
The list that I’ve created of trans people killed in 2018 so far. Note that people and outlets reporting on these crimes have different numbers based on different factors – some don’t include officer related shootings, others don’t include non-trans GNC individuals, while others include any violent death including death by suicide. The most important thing that unites us all is that we want the violence to stop. We need to keep asking ‘Where is the outrage?’ During 2017, we lost at least 25 trans neighbors. May 2018 be more merciful.
- Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien – Massachusetts (January 6) 42 years old
- Viccky Gutierrez – Los Angeles (January 9), 33 years old
- Tonya ‘Kita’ Harvey – Buffalo (February 6), 35 years old
- Celine Walker – Jacksonville, Florida (February 4), 36 years old
- Phylicia Mitchell – Cleveland (February 23), 46 years old
- Zakaria Fry – Stanley, New Mexico (February 19), 28 years old
- Amia Tyrae Berryman – Baton Rouge (March 26), 28 years old
- Sasha Wall – Chesterfield, South Carolina (April 1), 29 years old
- Karla Patricia Pavon-Flores – Dallas (May 9), 26 years old
- Nino Fortson – Atlanta (May 13), 36 yeas old
- Gigi Pierce – Portland (May 21), 28 years old