23-year-old Black Trans Man EJ Boykin aka Novaa Watson Dies from Gunshot Wound

Novaa via Facebook

On Monday, June 14, 23-year-old Black trans man EJ Boykin also known as Novaa Watson died in Lynchburg, Virginia from a gunshot wound. From The News & Advance:

Officers responded to the parking lot outside the Family Dollar on Fort Avenue at about 6 p.m. Monday for reports of a malicious wounding, LPD previously said in a news release.

There, they found a person the police department identified as 23-year-old [EJ] Boykin, of Lynchburg, suffering from a gunshot wound. Boykin was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital for treatment of serious injuries and died soon after.

Law enforcement and family describe EJ using male pronouns, but the media is still using his deadname.  They claim he never used a different name. Friends disagree. EJ used Novaa Watson on social media.

Torri Chippe said she’s been friends with Boykin, who’s been called “Novaa” or “EJ” by friends, since middle school.

“He was loved and like[d] by everyone,” she said in a message. “He was one of those people that was just good vibes and energy.”

EJ was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland but recently lived in Lynchburg. EJ was studying at Morgan State University. It appears EJ was the parent of a young child, who may have been present at the scene of the shooting, but was uninjured. EJ just celebrated his 23rd birthday on June 10. My heart breaks for the child(ren) involved – losing a parent, witnessing a shooting – whether they were the same child or not.

EJ is the thirtieth trans, nonbinary or gender nonconforming person reported killed in 2021. Twenty-eight of these neighbors have been BIPOC. He is the 21st victim who identified as Black.  In total, there have been thirty-one  murders or suspicious deaths in the first 165 days of 2021, an average of one death every 5.3  days. 19 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.

The police department does not have a suspect in custody and is asking anyone who may have been in the area around that time to call (434) 455-6160 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 798-5900.

Rest in power, EJ. You were a bright light for too short a period of time. Your friends and family miss you dearly. I am sorry we did not create a safer world for you or the opportunity to experience all that you brought into this world.

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.
  1. Tyianna Davarea Alexandra – Chicago, Illinois. January 6, 2021. Age 28.
  2. Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín – Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. January 9, 2021. Age 21.
  3. Dominique Jackson – Jackson, Mississippi. January 25, 2021. Age 30.
  4. Bianca ‘Muffin’ Bankz – Atlanta, Georgia. January 21, 2021. Age 31.
  5. Fifty Bandzzz – Baton Rouge, Louisiana. January 28, 2021. Age 21.
  6. Alexus “Kimmy” Braxton – Miami, Florida. February 4, 2021. Age 45.
  7. Chynaa Carrillo – New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. February 18, 2021. Age 24.
  8. Jeffrey ‘JJ’ Bright – Ambridge, Pennsylvania. February 22, 2021. Age 16.
  9. Jasmine Cannady – Ambridge, Pennsylvania. February 22, 2021. Age 22.
  10. Jenna Franks – Jacksonville, North Carolina, February 24, 2021. Age 34. **
  11. Diamond Nicole ‘Kyree’ Sanders – Cincinnati, Ohio. March 3, 2021. Age 23.
  12. Rayanna Pardo – Los Angeles, California, March 17, 2021. Age 26. ***
  13. Aidelen Evans – Port Arthur, Texas, March 2021. Age 24 ****
  14. Dominique Lucious – Springfield, Missouri, April 8, 2021. Age 26.
  15. Jaida Peterson – Charlotte, North Carolina, April 4, 2021. Age 29.
  16. Remy Fennell – Charlotte, North Carolina, April 15, 2021. Age 28.
  17. Tiara Banks – Chicago, Illinois, April 21, 2021. Age 26.
  18. Natalia Smüt Lopez – San Jose, California, April 23, 2021. Age 24.
  19. Tiffany Thomas – Dallas, Texas, April 21, 2021. Age 38.
  20. Iris Santos – Houston, Texas, April 23, 2021. Age 22.
  21. Jahaira M. DeAlto – Boston, Massachusetts, May 2, 2021. Age 42.
  22. Keri Washington – Clearwater, Florida, May 1, 2021. Age 49.
  23. Danny Henson – Baltimore, Maryland, May 4, 2021. Age 31.
  24. Whispering Wind Bear Spirit – York, Pennsylvania, May 4, 2021 Age 41
  25. Sophie Vasquez – Atlanta, Georgia, May 4, 2021. Age 36.
  26. Serenity Hollis – Albany, Georgia, May 8, 2021. Age 24.
  27. Oliver “Ollie” Taylor – Gervais, Oregon, May 19, 2021. Age 27.
  28. Thomas Hardin – York, South Carolina, May 2, 2021. Age 35.
  29. Poe Black / Oliver Jackson – Slab City, Niland, California, May 11, 2021 (estimated). Age 21.
  30. EJ Boykin / Novaa Watson – Lynchburg, Virginia, May 14, 2021. Age 23.
We are also still monitoring these suspicious deaths from 20/21 (in addition to the 44 documented killings.) Trans lives

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