Her name was Kimberely Patricia Cope. She was 40 years old, born in Michigan and raised in Ohio. She relocated to Athens, Georgia in her adult years with her family. Two days after Christmas, her body was found in the parking lot of restaurant a few blocks from her home.
Little is known about Kimberely. Law enforcement, media, and family members misgendered her in some spaces, but used accurate gender language in others such as her obituary. Thanks to diligent community members some media sources updated their coverage to at least remove the most inaccurate content including her dead name.
We don’t know how she died or why. We do not know the results of the autopsy. We do not know why her family published an accurate obituary, but still misgendered her in their personal content. We don’t know much about Kimberely at all because her social media was tightly locked down. Is the use of correct gendered language in her obituary an accurate description of her lived life? We know she was assigned a different traditionally male name at birth, a named shared with her father, and she went to court to legally change her name to Kimberely Patricia (note the unique spelling of Kimberely) and used Kim in everday matters.
We can say that most 40-year-old Black women don’t just die in parking lots at 6 AM. Does that mean she met with foul play – well, there’s not enough information for that conclusion either in spite of the mysterious truck. If her death was accidental or due to an overdose, those results from the coroner might take longer to come back
From the GAVoice
Kimberly Patricia Cope, 40, was found dead on Sunday (December 27) in the parking lot of the Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers on Baxter Street in Athens, Georgia.
Cope’s body was found at about 6:00am Sunday morning. Friends of Cope told officers that she was last seen at 1:00 and 3:00am that morning across the street from her apartment, which was within walking distance from the scene. According to her friends, a white SUV pulled up, and the driver spoke to Cope before she disappeared. It is unknown if she got in the vehicle or not.
Clearly, something is missing – where are her friends? There are no comments on her social media, no tags on other channels, no tributes on her obituary.
I’m also thinking about the election tomorrow, Tuesday, January 5, 2020 to fill both of Georgia’s Senate seats. Will Raphael Warnock and Jon Osoff say her name and speak out loudly about the myriad of oppressions Black trans women in Georgia experience?
Kimberely wasn’t disposable. Her life mattered. Her death, whatever the cause, matters. Both are part of the incredibly important narrative of the Black trans community in the United States. But right now, all eyes are on Georgia.
Rest in power, Kim. You deserved many long years filled with joy and a chance to write your own narrative. May your memory be a revolution.