May 4, 2021 is now the deadliest day of the year 2021 with three transgender or gender-nonconforming persons murdered.
Sophie Vasquez was a 36-year-old transgender Latina living in Atlanta. Her death is the third on that date, alongside Danny Henson in Baltimore and Whispering Wind Bear Spirit in York, Pennsylvania. From Project Q:
Sophie Vasquez was shot at least once, and police found her body in the doorway of an apartment in the 400 building at Atlantic Brookhaven on May 4. The apartment complex on Windmont Drive is near Clairmont Road just south of its intersection with Buford Highway.
Police recovered five shell casings and three bullets from a .380 caliber handgun, according to an incident report from the Brookhaven Police Department. Police were called to the apartment about 8:15 a.m. The incident report indicates Vasquez was not a resident of the apartment.
Friends raised funds to cover her funeral expenses which according to online sources was held in South Carolina on May 10, 2021.
According to the Gay Times, original reporting by law enforcement and the media deadnamed and misgendered her, as is too often the case for these victims. This only adds to the burden of her surviving loved ones who must advocate for accuracy in the midst of their grief. And the inaccuracies delay warning other potential victims.
Sophie as known as “Tu Chaparita” and “Te extraño” among her family and friends. I think from her profiles that she is from Costa Rica or she and her family travel their very often. Otherwise, her content is fun and wry and a little silly, a little lighthearted. She was clearly fluent in at least two languages, Spanish and English.
Sophie is the twenty sixth trans, nonbinary or gender nonconforming person reported killed in 2021. Twenty-four of these neighbors have been BIPOC. Sophie is the seventh Latinx victim in 2021. In total, there have been twenty-six murders or suspicious deaths in the first 122 days of 2021, an average of one death every 5.07 days. 16 of these victims were under the age of 30. So far. That we know of as many deaths go unreported or unacknowledged. Note – in this summary, I include suspicious deaths that as you can read below are often later confirmed homicides.
There are two notable clusters – three BIPOC trans youth killed in Western Pennsylvania within a four day span and now three BIPOC trans adults killed on the same day in three different states. How are we responding to these communities? Where is the comfort, the resources local trans folks deserve to cope with these losses and all that comes with it? What are we doing?
Rest in power, Sophie. You deserved a future as luminous and vivacious as your personality. You are greatly missed. Your loved ones will seek justice in your name.
May your memory be a revolution.
Our list of transgender, gender, and non-binary neighbors lost to violence in 2021. Please do not copy or share this list without attribution.
- Tyianna Davarea Alexandra – Chicago, Illinois. January 6, 2021. Age 28.
- Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín – Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. January 9, 2021. Age 21.
- Dominique Jackson – Jackson, Mississippi. January 25, 2021. Age 30.
- Bianca ‘Muffin’ Bankz – Atlanta, Georgia. January 21, 2021. Age 31.
- Fifty Bandzzz – Baton Rouge, Louisiana. January 28, 2021. Age 21.
- Alexus “Kimmy” Braxton – Miami, Florida. February 4, 2021. Age 45.
- Chynaa Carrillo – New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. February 18, 2021. Age 24.
- Jeffrey ‘JJ’ Bright – Ambridge, Pennsylvania. February 22, 2021. Age 16.
- Jasmine Cannady – Ambridge, Pennsylvania. February 22, 2021. Age 22.
- Jenna Franks – Jacksonville, North Carolina, February 24, 2021. Age 34. **
- Diamond Nicole ‘Kyree’ Sanders – Cincinnati, Ohio. March 3, 2021. Age 23.
- Rayanna Pardo – Los Angeles, California, March 17, 2021. Age 26. ***
- Aidelen Evans – Port Arthur, Texas, March 2021. Age 24 ****
- Dominique Lucious – Springfield, Missouri, April 8, 2021. Age 26.
- Jaida Peterson – Charlotte, North Carolina, April 4, 2021. Age 29.
- Remy Fennell – Charlotte, North Carolina, April 15, 2021. Age 28.
- Tiara Banks – Chicago, Illinois, April 21, 2021. Age 26.
- Natalia Smüt Lopez – San Jose, California, April 23, 2021. Age 24.
- Tiffany Thomas – Dallas, Texas, April 21, 2021. Age 38.
- Iris Santos – Houston, Texas, April 23, 2021. Age 22.
- Jahaira M. DeAlto – Boston, Massachusetts, May 2, 2021. Age 42.
- Keri Washington – Clearwater, Florida, May 1, 2021. Age 49.
- Danny Henson – Baltimore, Maryland, May 4, 2021. Age 31.
- Whispering Wind Bear Spirit – York, Pennsylvania, May 4, 2021 Age 41
- Sophie Vasquez – Atlanta, Georgia, May 4, 2021. Age 36.