On Saturday, February 22, a young Latinx trans woman was found murdered in her home. Her boyfriend returned from work and discovered her body. Reports indicate she had been there alone for hours with no neighbors hearing gunshots. There was no sign of forced entry.
What happened to her?
With baited breath, we waited for her identity to be confirm and her name released. It is so rare that law enforcement and early media reports are respectful, that it felt her death was a tipping point in a state that had just redefined child abuse to include parents supporting medical care for their trans children. Of course they are connected. Of course our turning a blind eye to funding trans-led responses to this terror campaign has laid the groundwork for targeting children. It always has.
Her name is Paloma Velasquez. She was 29. She emigrated to the US six months ago to escape persecution.
The Organization for Latina Trans in Texas said Vazquez had only just immigrated to the U.S. six months ago from Latin America. They did not specify the country she fled.
She was identified by Ana Andrea Molina, founder of Organización Latina de Trans en Texas (OLTT),
Paloma was a member of OLTT, a Houston-based group dedicated to protecting and securing human rights for trans Texans. The organization will host a #Justice4Paloma rally at Houston City Hall today, March 3, at 4 p.m.
“They are killing us,” Ana Molina wrote on Facebook. “Today was Paloma, maybe tomorrow it will be me.”
Paloma is the fifth transgender person reported as a victim of fatal violence in 2022. She is the fifth trans woman of color and the second Latina. The first four victim were 25 and under. Their deaths come on the heels of the most violent year in recorded history with the deaths of 55 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.
Paloma does not have a known last name or age or backstory yet, but she clearly had people who loved her.
HPD says it is investigating the murder, but at this time they have no known motive or suspects.
Anyone with information on Paloma’s murder should call HPD’s homicide division at 713-308-3600, or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
Rest in power, Paloma. I am truly sorry we did not create a safer world for you or have the opportunity to watch you flourish and grow. While I am grateful law enforcement has been seemingly respectful, I am also sorry it has taken to long to learn your name. You deserve to be remembered and honored while the crime is solved.
May your memory be a revolution.
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. The list for 2021 is available. As of today, we have documented a total of 55 deaths in 2021. Those reported in 2022 will be listed here. Until I figure out a better way to share this information. As of today, five trans neighbors have experienced violent deaths in 2022 – that we know of. Texas is way overrepresented in this list.
- Amäriey Lèį (Myara) – Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. January 1, 2022. Age 20.
- Duval Princess – Jacksonville, Florida. January 2, 2022. Age 24.
- Za’Niyah Williams – Houston, Texas. December 20, 2021, reported on Jan 5, 2022. Age 21.
- Nikki Turrietta – Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 31, 2021, reported on January 27, 2022. Age 31.
- Keeva Scatter – Baton Rouge, Louisiana, October 15, 2021, confirmed on February 13, 2022. Age 34.
- Rubi Dominguez – Brownsville, Texas, July 15, 2021, confirmed on February 13, 2022. Age 29.
- Naomie Skinner – Detroit, Michigan, February 12, 2022. Age 25
- Martina Caldera – Houston, Texas, December 6, 2021. Age 38.
- Cypress Ramos – Lubbock, Texas, February 13, 2022. Age 21.
- Paloma Velasquez – Houston, Texas, February 26, 2022. Age 29.