White Trans Woman Fern Feather, 29, Murdered in Vermont

Fern Feather via Facebook

The body of 29-year-old Fern Feather, a white trans woman was discovered on Tuesday morning on the side of Duhamel Road near Cadys Falls Road in Morristown, Vermont. The autopsy determined the cause of death was a stab wound to the chest, and the manner of death was homicide. She is the 12th US victim of the campaign of terror traumatizing the trans community in the nation and around the world.

The suspect Seth Brunell, 43 is in police custody. He was sighted by police with Fern in a vehicle just a few hours before her body was discovered, according to Patch.com (Link includes deadnaming and misgendering.) Brunell is claiming self-defense, but police say there is no physical evidence to support that allegation.

Fern’s friends are overwhelmingly shocked, commenting on their gentle nature and kind heart. A co-worker posted

Fern was part of my sweet, weird, fun-loving Salt Café family. We dressed however we wanted — Fern in flowey garb with feathers in their hair; William in skirts and a squirrel tail — and served the Vermontiest farm-to-table food to politicians, farmers, New York Times journalists, culinary school kids, lawyers, the singer Jewel’s mom, visitors from Australia, and so on.

Fern was the best at making citrus plates: they’d form mandalas of the fruit slices — in a different formation every time — for customers to add to their glasses of ice water.

For one menu, Fern “invented” mushroom-stuffed-mushrooms, and was delighted when it was the week’s most popular item.

Then-governor Shumlin was a regular at Salt, and Fern was always so tickled when Peter recognized them on the streets of Montpelier, and greeted them with a shout and a wave. “The *governor* said hello to me today,” they’d report upon showing up for work.

Suzanne P.

Fern had lived an adventurous life, traveling around the country, and recently announcing her transition in late March. Just a few weeks ago.

It’s time to tell the world I’m a Hot Trans Woman in a currently male Hot Body Suit !! dang sure took long enough eh ?! Please share this to liberate our other beautiful ones !

Born in Montpelier, Vermont, Fern graduated from Lake Region Unified High School District 24 and worked at Salt Cafe. Her Facebook page is overflowing with nature-themed photos, memes, and posts. Clearly, she was deeply connected to the natural world. It was easy for this blogger to get lost in her timeline amidst the many amazing images.

The Pride Center of Vermont plans to host a space for community to come together and mourn; more information to follow shortly. In the meantime, SafeSpace advocates are available to support at (802) 863-0003 or via the anonymous chatline https://www.pridecentervt.org/safespace/

People’s Pride Vermont expressed their sorrow and anger

Fern Feather, universally adored by everyone who knew her, was taken from us Tuesday morning by a transphobic man who had recently wormed his way into her life and gained her trust.Local news outlets have begun coverage, predictably deadnaming and misgendering her, as well as universally avoiding the phrase “Hate Crime”. We urge you to submit corrections wherever relevant, especially if you’re an ally. Links to offending articles will be posted in the comments of this post (and we urge you to add any that you find)Her suspected killer, Seth Brunell, has attempted to exploit the age-old transmisogynistic spectre of sexual aggressiveness to wriggle out of taking responsibility for his brutal actions. The evidence does not support his claims, but it doesn’t have to: His claims fit the narrative creeping across our state, our nation, and our world, and as such will be a suitable excuse in the eyes of many,

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People’s Pride Burlington

I admire Fern’s friends and comrades for vehemently defending her and calling truth to power on the hate underlying her murder and the alleged defense by the murderer. I admire them for tackling the media outlets dead naming and misgendering Fern. I am sad that they must add this task to their grieving process, but appreciate that they do so. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about the filicide of 19-year-old Kathryn Newhouse whose narrative was controlled by family who described her murder as a mercy-killing because of her disabilities. Her friends didn’t even know she had died and were unable to immediately respond to those narratives, but they have since taken control of the narrative.

What I read above sounds to me like grooming, earning her trust and then killing her when she was vulnerable. It was deliberate and vicious. These are the crimes we must center when we repudiate hateful rightwing rhetoric about LGBTQ grooming. Our most at-risk community members require all of us to ramp up our resistance.

Fern is the 12th transgender person reported as a victim of fatal violence in 2022. She is the first white trans woman reported murdered in 2021 that we know of so far. At age 29, she is among the three oldest victims in 2021 to date. Her death means a trans neighbor has been murdered every 8.5 days in 2022 in the United States. To date the victims include 7 Black trans women, 2 Latinx trans women, 1 AAIPI trans woman, 1 white trans man and 1 white trans woman. The youngest was 17, the oldest was 33. Nine were 25 or younger. Their 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.

Rest in power, Fern. Your gentle soul was much loved by your friends and neighbors. You gave so much to our world, from reminding us to stop and literally smell the roses to showing compassion for all living creatures. You made this world a better place for all of us. I am so very sorry that your life was ripped away from you with a violence you personally abhorred. I am sorry your legacy of peaceful coexistence is challenged by a hateful narrative that is belied by how you led your life. I am sorry we did not create a safer world for you.

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.  

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.

  1. Amäriey Lèį (Myara) – Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. January 1, 2022. Age 20. 
  2. Duval Princess – Jacksonville, Florida. January 2, 2022. Age 24.
  3. Naomie Skinner – Detroit, Michigan, February 12, 2022. Age 25.
  4. Cypress Ramos – Lubbock, Texas, February 13, 2022. Age 21.
  5. Paloma Velasquez – Houston, Texas, February 26, 2022. Age 29.
  6. Matthew Spampinato – New Castle, Delaware, February 9, 2022. Age 21.
  7. Tatiana LaBelle – Chicago, Illinois, March 18, 2022. Age 33.
  8. Kathryn Newhouse – Canton, Georgia, March 19, 2022. Age 19.
  9. Kesha Webster – Jackson, Mississippi, March 26, 2022. Age 24.
  10. Miia Love Parker – Chester, Pennsylvania, April 1, 2022. Age 25.
  11. Ariyanna Mitchell – Hampton, Virginia, April 2, 2022. Age 17.
  12. Fern Feather – Morristown, Vermont, April 12, 2022. Age 29.

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.


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