Alicia Simmons, 37, of West Philadelphia was found dead in her apartment on November 3, 2019. Police are investigating the cause of death and have been careful to state there is no evidence of a suspicious cause. Philly Gay News reports:
Deja Alvarez, trans activist and co-chair of Philadelphia’s LGBT Police Liaison Committee, posted on Facebook on Monday morning that the “devastating loss of another one of our sisters Alicia Simmons is difficult for us to understand” and that the community mourns the loss of another trans woman of color.
“I know in these moments we want, need, and deserve answers as to how and why,” Alvarez wrote. “We will be working closely with the PPD to thoroughly, respectfully, responsibly and compassionately get those answers for Alicia and her family both born and chosen as well as our community. As soon as we have all the facts and after the investigation is complete we will share the information with the community so we can start the long hard process of healing from yet another devastating loss for us all.”
Some on social media have said that Simmons was found by her family in her West Philadelphia apartment, after being unreachable since Friday. Police would not confirm or deny this information but did say that the location was on Walnut Street.
As writer and activist Ashlee Marie Preston pointed out, many have assumed that Simmons was murdered. “We’re waiting for the ‘official’ cause of death — but many of us already have that familiar nauseating feeling in the pit of our stomachs,” she wrote on Facebook. “At this point, I’ve lost count of how many Black trans women (that we know of) have been murdered this year. We deserve better.”
Ernest Owens, a Philadelphia based journalist, wrote that there had been no foul play found. “Fact: Alicia Simmons was not shot or bruttally murdered,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “[There] doesn’t appear to be any signs of foul play when relatives found her in her house dead. She was found asleep peacefully. This doesn’t rule out a murder, but it doesn’t authomatically fit a lot of the recent narratives surrounding murdered Black trans women this year.”
We will follow this story and share updates as they become available. During 2019, we have lost at least 20 trans neighbors to violent deaths, 19 of them being Black trans women. Alicia’s death is the 4th to be added to a list of possible homicides.
Whatever the cause, we hope that Alicia Rests in Power having left this world too soon.
My list of transgender neighbors lost during the calendar year 2019. It is with horror that I acknowledge that each year in this process of documenting the lives and deaths of our trans neighbors, the numbers start to differ – folks are using different criteria. Details about too many deaths are obscured or never come to light making it hard to pin down just how many transgender neighbors are caught up in this epidemic each year. I try to be as accurate as possible with details for the discrepancies listed below. I know that no list like this one could ever be comprehensive or thorough.
- Dana Martin – Montgomery, Alabama. January 6, 2019. Age: 31.
- Ashanti Carmon – Fairmount Heights, Maryland. March 30, 2019. Age: 27
- Claire Legato – Cleveland. May 14, 2019. Age: 21
- Muhlaysia Booker – Dallas. May 18, 2019. Age 23.
- Michelle Simone Tameka Washington – Philadelphia, May 19, 2019. Age 40.
- Paris Cameron – Detroit, May 25, 2019. Age 20.
- Chynal Lindsey – Dallas, June 1, 2019. Age 26.
- Chanel Scurlock – Lumberton, North Carolina, June 5, 2029. Age 23.
- Jazzaline Ware – Memphis, Tennessee, March 2019. Age 34. **
- Zoe Spears – Fairmount Heights, Maryland. June 14, 2019. Age 23
- Brooklyn Lindsey – Kansas City, June 25, 2019. Age 32
- Denali Berries Stuckey – Charleston, July 20, 2019. Age 29
- Kiki Fantroy – Miami, July 31, 2019. Age 21
- Pebbles LaDime ‘Dime’ Doe – Allendale, South Carolina, August 4, 2019. Age 24
- Jordan Cofer – Dayton, Ohio, August 4, 2019. Age 22.
- Tracy Single – Houston, Texas, July 30, 2019. Age 22.
- Bailey Reeves – Baltiore, Maryland, September 2, 2019. Age 17.
- Bee Love – Clewiston, Florida, September 6, 2019. Age 21.
- Itali Marlowe, Houston, September 20, 2019. Age 29.
- Brianna Hill, Kansas City, October 14, 2019. Age 30.
** Jazzaline Ware’s body was discovered in her apartment in Memphis, Tennessee in March. Cause of death was originally death by suicide, but according to The Advocate, authorities are now investigating her death as a homicide.
*** The death of Keyiariah Quick on August 10, 2019 in Carthage, North Carolina has been called into question. We will continue to monitor those details. Keyiariah was 25.
*** The death of Elisha Chanel “Diamond” Stanley on September 16, 2019 in Pittsburgh is under investigation. We are monitoring pending reports and trying to get more details to determine the circumstances of her death.
**** Ja’leyah-Jamar Berryman was killed in September across the state line in Kansas City, Kan. Initial reports identified the victim as a trans woman, but Berryman’s family released a video saying Berryman was male. In keeping with LGBTQ media outlets, I have removed Berryman from my list pending any further information.