20-Year-Old Black Trans Woman Taya Ashton Shot Dead in Maryland

Photo via Washington Blade

A 20-year-old Black transgender woman, Taya Ashton, has become the latest victim in the violent epidemic of murder targeting the transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming community.

Tavahn Ashton of Suitland in Prince George’s County, Maryland was pronounced dead on Saturday, July 17, 2021.

On July 17, 2021, at approximately 9:55 pm, officers responded to an apartment in the 2300 block of Brooks Drive for a shooting. The victim was located inside of her apartment suffering from a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead on the scene.

Although motives for the shooting are currently unknown, police do not believe that Ashton’s killing was random and are searching for a suspect. ⁠⁠This Wednesday, July 21, friends, family, and community members will hold a vigil and release balloons in Taya Ashton’s honor., according to her grandfather Stuart Anderson. Anderson is Founder and CEO of Family & Friends of Incarcerated People.

Anderson said he and other family members were making arrangements for a vigil in Taya Ashton’s honor at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 21, at River Terrace Park, which is located in D.C. at Benning Road and Anacostia Ave., N.E. along the Anacostia River. He said the vigil would take place at or near the site of the park’s main gazebo.

Taya is the thirtyfirst trans, nonbinary or gender nonconforming person reported killed in 2021. Twenty-nine of these neighbors have been BIPOC. She is the 22nd victim who identified as Black.  In total, there have been thirty-two murders or suspicious deaths in the first 198 days of 2021, an average of one death every 6.1 days. 20 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.

73% of the victims in 2021 have been Black. 66% have been under the age of 30. 40% under the age of 25.

We are witnessing the slaughter of our Black trans youth and what are we doing about it?

Rest in power, Taya. Your family and friends are grieving deeply the loss of your smile and your love and your joy. I am sorry we do not know more about your life and lived experiences. We let you down and you absolutely deserved better. Fly high, Sis.

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.
  31. Taya Ashton – Suitland, Maryland, July 17, 2021. Age 20.

We are also still monitoring these suspicious deaths from 20/21 (in addition to the 44 documented killings.)

Trans lives