Diamond Stephens was 39 years old when she was shot in the back of the head while driving in Meridian, Mississippi. That was on June 18, 2018. Misgendering and deadnaming kept the community unaware of her death until friends and family set the record straight, a month later.
Monica Roberts at TransGriot corrected the original reporting by WTOK-TV’s Carly Blake:
Stephens was found dead from a gunshot wound to the back of the head according to Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler III
“It looked like a single shot from what I could tell without disturbing anything. The body has gone to Jackson for an autopsy and we are just waiting for the investigation to hold there,” says Cobler.
Meridian police are still looking for the shooter and a motive in the killing. MPD Chief Benny Dubose says that the gunshot wound was not self inflicted.
“Number one, she was shot in the back of the head. Number two, it appears that there might have been either one or two other individuals in the vehicle at the time she was shot,” explains Chief Dubose.
Chief Dubose says there are currently no suspects in Stephens’ murder, but confirmed they do have tips from several citizens.
“We are hurting really bad,” Stephens’s cousin Georgia Brown told WTOK. “I don’t really know what words to say other than we need God to help us and give us strength to make it through this situation and pray to God that whoever did this is found.”
I’ve been blogging about these deaths since 2013 and I notice that misgendering and other unprofessional behavior by the media seems to be on the uptick. Here in Pittsburgh, we now have only two media outlets who confirm that they use a LGBTQ style guide: The Pittsburgh Currrent and PublicSource. Our City Paper and local NPR station WESA used to use them under previous editors, but that seems to have fallen to the wayside with regime changes. As recent as last week, our CBS affiliate, KDKA TV, did a terrible job reporting on the sexual assault of a trans woman in our County jail.
I think the media outlets feel emboldened to do what they will because there is almost no accountability for professional errors around misgendering, deadnaming and the like. They sink to the lowest common denominator rather than strive to educate and inform. Infotainment seems to be prioritized over accuracy and fairness.
If anyone has information about Diamond’s case, you are urged to call Meridian police or Crimestoppers at 855-485-8477.
Diamond is the 16th trans person reported murdered in 2018 in the US to date. Obviously, her case illustrates that we often find out after the fact, if ever, when the media and law enforcement obfuscate truth.
Rest in power, Diamond. You deserved a full life without violence or harm. Your friends advocated for you to receive dignity in death, a testament to their love and appreciation for you.
- 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
- Antash’a English – Jacksonville (June 1), 38 years old
- Cathalina Christina James – Jacksonville (June 24), 24 years old
- Keisha Wells – Cleveland (June 24), 58 years old
- Sasha Garden – Orange County, Florida (July 19), 27 years old
- Diamond Stephens – Meridian, Mississippi (June 18) 39 years old
This is a post where we are updating the investigations into these homicides.