Her name is Jasmine Star Mack. She was 36-years-old, Black, and a trans woman. She may have been homeless. She died from a stab wound on the same day (night) that the 118th Congress was sworn into office. And that is all that we know right now about the first victim of fatal anti-trans violence in the United States in 2023.
The DC Metropolitan Police provide the details of her death.
Her body was found on Saturday, January 7, 2023, in the 2000 block of Gallaudet Street, Northeast, a neighborhood referred to as Ivy City.
At approximately 3:00 am, members of the Fifth District were flagged down at the listed location for a check on the welfare. Upon arrival, the members located an adult victim suffering from an apparent stab wound. DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and after finding no signs consistent with life, the victim remained on the scene until transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.Metropolitan Police Press Release
The Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for each homicide committed in the District of Columbia. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at 202-727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by sending a text message to 50411.
No photo, no details about her identity, no family.
While I was writing this, WUSA9 put up a solid story with video interviews of Jasmine Star’s sister, Pamela Witherspoon, neighbors, and community members.
What did happen is that almost every other media outlet used her deadname. So that’s not a good start to the response to this campaign of terror that we all know will escalate in 2023. Deadnaming like its 2013 when I first began writing these posts. I was sickened that The Washington Post deadnamed her. What’s next if the preeminent outlets are falling back on outdated journalistic standards? Democracy isn’t the only thing dying in darkness, my friends. Shame on WaPo. i hope that their out journalists will go to bat for literally the most vulnerable members of our community and demand they do better.
A longtime trans activist Earline Budd spoke with NBC 4 about Jasmine Star, confirming her identity.
“You know there has to be some way that there can be peace, and the violence must stop. The violence has to stop, we are killing us,” Budd said.
Budd said she and others are planning on holding a vigil for Mack later in the week.
Where was she born? What made her smile? Did she go to school somewhere? What were her hopes and dreams? What was her favorite food? Favorite song? Did someone love her? Is she going to be missed? Why did she use the name Star?
Jasmine deserved better. She died seemingly alone on the roadside after being stabbed. No one deserves that. Her life is more than being the first death reported in 2023. We didn’t make sure she had adequate housing while she was alive, at least in recent years, and we left her to bleed to death alone on the side of a road. If you think the distance from restricting trans kids from playing soccer to this disregard for Jasmine in life and death is vast, you are a fool.
Jasmine is the first transgender person known to be murdered in the United States in 2023. She is the first trans woman. She is the first Black trans person and Black trans woman. Her death means a trans person has reportedly died a violent death every 7 days in 2023.
So what will you do now that you’ve read this post and wept, perhaps quietly for our neighbor? Will you volunteer with a local trans led program? Will you invest with a donation? Will you send trans folx a sign that you are standing with them? Share this post? Will you look for the helpers in the trans community and follow their lead? Or will you keep scrolling?
Rest in power, Jasmine Star Mack. I am so sorry we did not create a safer, more just world for you. A softer world. Thank you for the gifts you gave to us.
May your memory be a revolution.
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.
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.
- Jasmine ‘Star’ Mack – District of Columbia, January 7, 2023. Age 36.