On Saturday March 19, 2022, a 19-year-old Asian-American autistic trans woman living with mental illness issues was murdered by her father in their family home. Her father then died by suicide using the same gun.
Her name was Kathryn (Katie) Newhouse. A native of Illinois, Kathryn was most recently living with her family in Canton, Georgia. Kathryn was a Minecrat and UberSpire enthusiast, an advocate for trans rights, had a bright smile, enjoyed changing up her hair styles, and attentive to world events. She enjoyed hiking and sight seeing. She was proud of her AAPI heritage; she was of Filipino heritage. She believed the credo “Model best behavior in your own sphere, break down stereotypes, and speak out.”
This is a story with many unknown details and a narrative that is right now controlled by her surviving brother and mother. That narrative suggests that she is now “in a better place” or “at peace” – saying unambiguously that these media narratives enable further murder is essential. This is not about attacking her surviving family, it is about finding out the facts and determining how to ensure other young folx like Kathryn and their families have access to information and resources and supports to prevent more murders.
Please note that I have consulted multiple experts about this. In some cases, I am paraphrasing them.
It’s so, so important here that someone rejects the narrative that this was about services falling through the cracks or martyrdom. I am one such person. I am working to connect with multiple people who are far more influential, resourced, and connected than me to respond to the murder of Kathryn. I am also asking for media narratives that are informed by data about the intersections of Kathryn’s identity, the supports that are available, and the current socio-political context of our times.
We have to acknowledge that violence against disabled people, against trans women, against API folks, against people who have been in the foster system is not rare. It is a hard thing to balance between talking about this and not using the death of a community member as a platform to talk about systemic injustice.
According to court records, Kathryn’s father was previously arrested for assaulting her in 2019 when she was 16.
According to arrest warrants on April 9, 2019, Howard Newhouse was accused of “intentionally or without provocation” causing physical pain and harm to his daughter at their home by “holding her down on a bed by her throat.”
Records show the father was arrested by deputies for a misdemeanor charge of simple battery, described as family violence. Additional records show Howard went through a pre-trial diversion program and met the necessary requirements for his case to be dismissed on April 30, 2020.WXIA-TV
Between his arrest and the completion of his diversion program, police arrested Kathryn when at their home she struck a cup in her father’s hand forcing it into his face and glasses, cutting his nose. In both cases, the charges were the same.
Court records show prosecutors though determined it was in the public’s best interest to dismiss the case, with Kathryn being ordered to write an essay apologizing for the incident while also taking a life skills course and receiving other treatment. Her case was dismissed one year after her arrest.WXIA-TV
Equating a grown man holding a teenage girl on her bed by her throat with a teenage girl knocking a glass out of his hand as comparable examples of domestic violence is appalling. If we go based on these facts, he was assaulting her and she was assaulting his cup. I wonder if the courts saw the need to ensure her father was properly versed in how to help Kathryn manage her symptoms rather than restrain her by her throat?
In no circumstances is a father murdering his own daughter acceptable or understandable or a solution. It is murder. This does not include self-defense or accidents; there is no evidence here yet that suggests either possible motive.
This post is not adequate, but there has been no coverage of the murder of Kathryn in LGBTQIA+ media so I am stepping forward to inform our community of her life and death. I do not have answers right now and I do not have anywhere near all the facts. We must respond in an informed, authentic way, in coordination with autistic leaders, mental health experts, AAPI leaders, advocates for foster children, disability advocates, and the trans community to support other young people who could be in immediate danger as this story unfolds in the media.
Kathryn’s death is a horrific tragedy and she deserves to still be here with us. That there are options– if you can’t care for your child, there are other options, even if that is abandoning them at an ER, at least they get to live.
This case warrants a significant investment of LGBTQIA+ time, energy, and resources in a time when most of those things are focused on fighting back against the legislative and political attacks against trans youth, especially in Southern states. How can that happen? I don’t know, but it must.
These are resources that might help you and others process Kathryn’s murder and support all of our neighbors. It is not comprehensive, but it is a start.
- The Family Acceptance Project® is a research, intervention, education and policy initiative to prevent health and mental health risks for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified (LGBTQ) children and youth, including suicide, homelessness, drug use and HIV — in the context of their families, cultures and faith communities.
- 2022 Anti-Filicide Toolkit from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network
- The Ruderman White Paper: Media Coverage of the Murder of People with Disabilities by their Caregivers
General supports for trans folx and other LGBTQIA+ persons who are struggling with this news or similar circumstances might be found via
- Trans Lifeline
- PFLAG national
- The Trevor Project
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Transgender Resources from GLAAD
- LGBTQ National Hotline
- Georgia Equality (similar Equality groups in most US states and territories)
- I encourage people to reach out the local Childline or Adult Protective Services if they believe a child or disabled adult is at risk/being harmed
I will add more resources to this list as I find them. The important takeaway is that there are resources and supports. Our duty is to ensure people are aware of them and can access them. Our duty is not to decide how to “free them” from their experiences.
Kathryn is the eighth transgender person reported as a victim of fatal violence in 2022. She is the sixth woman of color from these neighbors and the first victim who identified as Asian-American. At age 19, she is the youngest victim this year to date. Their collective deaths come on the heels of 2021, the most violent year in recorded history with the deaths of 57 trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people in the United States alone. Note that the tabulation includes a significant number of reports of folx murdered in 2021. This might be confusing. Of course it is confusing. I tried to sort it out below.
On her Facebook page, Kathryn quoted Joan Didion in her profile. This quote was from a commencement address at the University of California, Riverside, in 1975
“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”
People in graves don’t embrace, sing, write, engage other people or the beautify of this world or ‘touch their children.’
My final note – attacking her surviving family accomplishes nothing even though that grief and anger is understandable. Centering her family as the victims may cause harm. I urge you to reach out for support if you need it and to invest in those supports if you are outraged by any of this.
Rest in power, Kathryn. You absolutely deserved to still be here with us and to receive the supports you needed to live your best and brightest life. It was not up to your father or anyone else to decide what a better place would be for you. I am sorry we failed to create a world that valued and celebrated your whole self. I am sorry for your suffering. Thank you for all that you gave to our world.
May your memory be a revolution.
Updated to reflect the criminal charges levied against Kathryn and her father.
This is our list of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming neighbors who have been victims of the campaign of terror in 2022. Please do not copy or share this list without attribution. As of today, we have documented a total of 57 deaths in 2021. And we have listed at least seven victims of the terror campaign in 2022 as well.
As six additions to our 2021 list have been revealed in 2022, I am adding them in a separate list below to try and make any sense of this increasing horror. These folks deserve their lives and deaths to be honored and remembered. The complexity only underscores their realities.
- Amäriey Lèį (Myara) – Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. January 1, 2022. Age 20.
- Duval Princess – Jacksonville, Florida. January 2, 2022. Age 24.
- Naomie Skinner – Detroit, Michigan, February 12, 2022. Age 25.
- Cypress Ramos – Lubbock, Texas, February 13, 2022. Age 21.
- Paloma Velasquez – Houston, Texas, February 26, 2022. Age 29.
- Matthew Spampinato – New Castle, Delaware, February 9, 2022. Age 21.
- Tatiana LaBelle – Chicago, Illinois, March 18, 2022. Age 33.
- Kathryn Newhouse – Canton, Georgia, March 19, 2022. Age 19.
Deaths in 2021 (see this link for deaths reported during the 2021 calendar year) These are deaths reported in 2022 and beyond.
- 52 Za’Niyah Williams – Houston, Texas. December 20, 2021, reported on Jan 5, 2022. Age 21.
- 53 Nikki Turrietta – Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 31, 2021, reported on January 27, 2022. Age 31.
- 54 Keeva Scatter – Baton Rouge, Louisiana, October 15, 2021, confirmed on February 13, 2022. Age 34.
- 55 Rubi Dominguez – Brownsville, Texas, July 15, 2021, confirmed on February 13, 2022. Age 29.
- 56 Martina Caldera – Houston, Texas, December 6, 2021. Age 38.
- 57 Geri Judd – Bossier, Louisiana, September 28, 2021, confirmed March 1, 2022. Age 60.