Amidst the many layers of horror we must address due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one particular strand manifesting itself in Pennsylvania – transphobia. The Secretary of Health on the state level is a trans woman named Dr. Rachel Levine. She’s absolutely brilliant and has been broadcasting a live press conference with Governor Tom Wolf every single day without respite.
If you read the feed of those livecasts on Facebook, you will be diving into a morass of vicious hate fueled both by ignorance and fear as well as the inevitable scapegoating and diminishment of Dr. Levine’s personhood because people are angry with her or simply because she’s a trans woman.
Johanna Metzger was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She had traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to seek support from a recovery center. Tragically, Johanna is now the sixth known victim of fatal violence in the US during 2020. Johanna was stabbed to death on Saturday, April 11, 2020. Police responded to a call around 12:25 AM and found Johanna with a stab wound. She was transported to a hospital where she died.
According to the obituary her family posted, she was 25 years old and is survived by her parents, two siblings, and other extended family. Sadly, the obituary and most reporting has deadnamed and misgendered Johanna. Perhaps more horrific is her family’s choice of a known anti-transgender faith based group serving the homeless to receive memorial donations in her deadname.
I’d suggest you make a donation of any amount to a trans-affirming project to offset that terrible legacy.
- Trans LifeLine
- Baltimore Safe Haven
- Our Trans and Queer Project to provide face masks here in Western Pennsylvania in partnership with TransPride Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh MasQUe ProjecT
On April 14, a Baltimore LGBTQ group, Baltimore Safe Haven, held a virtual vigil (due to the pandemic) to honor Johanna’s life and mourn her death.
Detectives from the Homicide Unit are investigating this incident. Anyone with information is asked to call 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7Lockup. You can also text tips to 443-902-4824.
Rest in power, Johanna. You deserved a long life filled with joy, acknowledgement, and happiness. I am very sorry that your identity was stripped from you along with your life and hope we can find justice for you.
You deserved to be buried as your true self.
My list of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary neighbors who have lost their lives to violent deaths in the US during 2020.
- Dustin Parker – McAlester, Oklahoma. January 1, 2020. Age 25.
- Alexa Negron Luciano – Toa Baja, Puerto RIco. February 24, 2020. Age 29.
- Yampi Mendez Arocho – Moca, Puerto Rico, March 5, 2020. Age 19.
- Monica Diamond – Charlotte, North Carolina. March 18, 2020. Age 34.
- Lexi – Harlem, New York City, New York. March 28, 2020. Age 33.
- Johanna Metzger – Baltimore, Maryland. April 1, 2020. Age 25.