A 26-year-old Black trans woman was murdered inside her vehicle in the Miami Gardens community in Florida. Her name was Royal Poetical Starz and while news of her murder spread among her friends and family, media failed to pick up her story.
A prime reason they didn’t know: Miami Gardens police on Oct. 4 issued a news release stating that a 26-year-old “Black male” had been slain — alongside a photo of Poetical presenting herself as a woman.
Investigators haven’t said much about Poetical’s death, except it “occurred at the 4600 Block of NW 185th Street, in Miami Gardens” about 11:26 a.m., according to the police news release.
Miami Gardens homicide detective Michael Lissade on Tuesday said the department would eventually disclose more details, but “we’re not releasing any information right now.”
According to a lawyer friend, Royal Poetical did legally change her name, but her passport was not updated. Police claim her passport was the only identification available to them.
In 2021, police find the body of a person assigned male wearing clothing that we consider female and don’t stop to consider the possibility they are responding to a trans woman? This ignorance and poor policing protocols is a terrible reflection on the community of Miami Gardens. They simply didn’t do their jobs for whatever reason — ignorance, bigotry, etc. And their failure to do so compromises their investigation into Royal Poetical’s death. Further, they create a public safety crisis by not reaching out to the trans community or at least the regional LGBTQ community organizations.
Clearly, something terrible happened that is tied to some sort of bigger investigation or they would share the details. Police keep details to themselves when they are part of an investigation. We have no assurances that other trans women in Miami Gardens are not facing a similar threat because the public safety department just said nothing.
They misgendered her, they deadnamed her, and they said nothing as if her death doesn’t even matter.
Poetical was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. She relocated to Pompana Beach, Florida and married her husband, Bruce Yoder. After his death in November 2019, she graduated from business school and maintained an active social life with her friends and family.
Poetical, as she was known, was a performance artist under the name Mr. Poetical as well as much respected fashion icon.
Her family and friends grief is pouring out onto social media — disbelief, horror, and abiding stories of love and joy she brought to their lives.
Visitation is scheduled for Thursday, October 14 with the funeral on Friday October 15 in Omaha.
Royal Poetical is the thirty-ninth trans, nonbinary or gender nonconforming person reported killed in 2021. Thirty-six of these neighbors have been BIPOC. She is the 30th victim who identified as Black. 26 of these victims were under the age of 30. That we know of, as many deaths go unreported or unacknowledged.
Rest in power, Poetical. There is no justice or reason for your untimely death. We grieve for your pain and suffering, we mourn the many possibilities you’ll never fulfill, we ache for the loss in our lives and the community. You deserved a lifetime of happiness and love.
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.
- Serenity Hollis — Albany, Georgia, May 8, 2021. Age 24.
- Oliver “Ollie” Taylor — Gervais, Oregon, May 19, 2021. Age 27.
- Thomas Hardin — York, South Carolina, May 2, 2021. Age 35.
- Poe Black / Oliver Jackson — Slab City, Niland, California, May 11, 2021 (estimated). Age 21.
- EJ Boykin / Novaa Watson — Lynchburg, Virginia, May 14, 2021. Age 23.
- Taya Ashton — Suitland, Maryland, July 17, 2021. Age 20.
- Shai Vanderpump — Trenton, New Jersey, July 30, 2021. Age 23.
- Tierramarie Lewis — Cleveland, Ohio, June 12, 2021. Age 30.
- Miss CoCo — Dallas, Texas, August 7, 2021. Age 44.
- Pooh Johnson — Shreveport, Louisiana, August 23, 2021. Age 25.
- Disaya Monaee Smith — Dolton, Illinois, September 6, 2021. Age 32.
- Brianna Ulmer Hamilton — Chicago, Illinois, September 17, 2021. Age 25.
- Kier Laprice (Kartier) Solomon — Dallas, Texas, September 30, 2021. Age 21.
- Royal Poetical Starz — Miami Gardens, Florida, October 2, 2021. Age 26.
We are also still monitoring these suspicious deaths from 20/21 (in addition to the 44 documented killings.)
Haven Bailey — Villa Park, Illinois, May 24, 2021. Age 25.