2022 Murder of Black Trans Woman Destin Howard Comes to Light

Destin Howard via Facebook

Sadly, we have to add another loss to our list 2022 transgender neighbors who experienced violent deaths. Her name was Destin Howard also known as Destin Cheaves. In some places, she’s been listed as Destiny.

On December 9, 2022, her body was found near Macon, Georgia near the parking lot of an empty business. Police at first were unable to identify her. The person who found her body called 911 around 9:30 that morning.

According to 41NBC

The individual was found to be fatally wounded by gunfire and pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Coroner Stone. The identity of the victim is unknown at this time. 

A few days later on December 12, they updated the description of the victim to help find their identity. I shake my head at this description paired with male pronouns, not even allowing for the possibility that Destin was not a cisgender male.

He has brown skin with long braided extensions that come to his waistline. He has long eyelash extensions, a single diamond stud earring in his ear, a nose ring and his toenails are painted French manicured.

He was wearing brown jogging pants and a gray tee-shirt,  black slides and two beaded bracelets. He appears to be in his 20’s.

Destin Howard was born and raised in Macon, Georgia. Born in 1999, She graduated from Westside High School in 2019. She had five brothers and five sisters. According to her family, she loved fashion. Friends have shared video clips of her dancing and laughing.

Destin was buried on December 23, 2022. Police have shared no further updates about the investigation into her murder.

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office at 478-751-7500 or Macon Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-877-68CRIME.

And that’s what we know. I haven’t located more information about Destin’s life, her passions, her hobbies, or what she experienced in her 23 brief years. Her death was first reported by HRC after a friend of a friend sent them a tip.

So while we wait for the investigation to proceed, we can focus on the misgendering and deadnaming by the media. Without Destin’s own social media accounts as a primary source, we can only speculate about most of these details. It is reasonable to say that the delay in accurately reporting her identity delayed justice. It also delayed the larger transgender and LGBTQ community from knowing that she died and that the person who killed her is still at large.

Why on earth would the officers who shared the description of her body not at least open their minds to the possibility she was a trans woman? It is clear that those details provided the identification within a few hours from someone. So why not connect those dots when they found her body?

This is Georgia. I just wrote another memorial post yesterday about a nonbinary Indigenous person killed by police in Georgia last week. So my faith in local justice systems prioritizing trans victims is a little wobbly. They seem to forget that securing justice for Destin also protects other people who might be killed by someone with so little regard for human life.

And so we wait for justice for Destin and everyone.

Destin’s death was reported in 2023, but she was killed in 2022. So let me put her death in context.

Destin is the 41st transgender person reported as a victim of fatal violence in 2022.  She is the 33rd person of color from these neighbors respectively. Destin is the 22nd Black trans woman She is the 30th woman of color from these neighbors. Her death means a trans neighbor has been murdered every 8.3 days in 2022 in the United States. To date the victims include 22 Black trans women, 5 Latinx trans women, 2 AAIPI trans women, 1 Native/Indigenous person, 2 white trans women, 3 Black trans man and 3 white trans men. The youngest was 15, the oldest was 50. Thirteen 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.

Rest in power, Destin. You absolutely deserved many more years to grow and experience this world. We failed to create a safe space for you to be yourself. Thank you for all that you brought to us. You will be forever missed.

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 2023. Please do not copy, modify, or share this list without attribution.  

  1. Jasmine ‘Star’ Mack – District of Columbia, January 7, 2023. Age 36.
  2. KC Johnson – Wilmington, North Carolina, January 13, 2023. Age 27.
  3. Tortuguita – Weelaunee Forest, Georgia, January 18, 2023. Age 26.

In 2022, we reported on the violent deaths of 40 trans and nonbinary neighbors in the United States. There were more, I know because I am still pursuing some of those cases. We are also updating as new reports come in dating back to 2022.

  1. Destin Howard – Macon, Georgia, December 9, 2022. Age 23.

Trans deaths


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