Black Trans Woman Ashia Davis Killed in Detroit

Black trans woman Ashia Davis wearing a white top, a pink sports jacket and a silver heart chain.
From Facebook

The reported killing of a 34-year-old Black trans woman in Detroit highlights the violence and anti-trans sentiments permeating the 2023 Pride season in the United States and beyond. Ashia Davis – also known as Asia Davis – died early Friday morning on the second day of Pride month.

According to CBS Detroit

Highland Park police contacted the Michigan State Police Special Investigation Section for assistance after they received a 911 call at about 1:30 a.m. on Friday, June 2, about a murder at the Woodward Inn located at 16375 Woodward.

Asia’s friend Allonna Anderson spoke with Fox 2 Detroit outside the hotel where Asia’s body was found.

“We’ve (known) each other since we were (children), since we were younger,” said Anderson who is also transgender. “And we loved each other that was a good friend of mine.”

Michigan State Police are handling the investigation. As of now, they have not identified a motive or released a cause of death. Witnesses told reporters that Asia had been shot. They also report that her pet Yorkie was missing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact 855.MICH.TIP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. 

Asia (styled Ashia on Facebook and Instagram) was born and raised in Detroit. She graduated from Cherryhill School of Performing Arts in 2007 and was recently enrolled at Wayne State University as of 2018. She was a woman of faith, often posting inspirational messages on her Facebook page. She was a fan of a nearby drive-in movie theater as well as fashion and makeup pages and pet style companies. Ashia’s humor and joy permeate her social media postings.

Ashia turned 34 this past December. She was devoted to her little pup Clyde who is missing. Friends have posted a reward for his return. Clyde was clearly her little love – she had a stroller, lots of accessories, and so many sweet posts about him.

Ashia’s friends have set up a crowdfund for her final expenses.

Small Update – some friends are reporting that Clyde has been located. And while it may seem small to focus on a dog in light of the death of Ashia, he mattered to her and I know from my own experiences reporting here in Pittsburgh on Andre Gray, that the fate of beloved animal companions is very important to survivors. They know. My friend Victoria Gray who lost her bisexual Black son Andre to a homicide in 2014 knows. We created a memorial bench for Andre and his BFF is a dog park close to his home.

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Ashia is the twelfth trans or gender nonconforming person whose violent death has been reported in 2023. She is the 11th trans person of color, the ninth Black trans person, the seventh Black trans woman, the 10th trans woman, the ninth trans woman of color whose death have been recorded in the United States this year.  Reported* is an important distinction to make as we know there are more folx whose deaths go unacknowledged. At age 34, she is the third oldest of those reported deaths.

All this context matters not only because it helps us understand the disproportionate impact of the anti-trans terror campaign in our nation, but this data also reminds us of the real lived lives of our neighbors. They are Christian. They have beloved pets. They have grieving families. They like to cook, to create, to entertain. They go to school, work, and contribute to our community. Their lives and identities are diverse, but not so different from our own.

Ashia died in the early morning hours in a motel. Was she alone? Afraid? Did someone hold her hand as she slipped away? Did she know Clyde was okay? Will her death be thoroughly investigated? Will her life be used as fodder for a rightwing hate machine that is determined to pulverize trans people for political gain?

It was a decade ago that I began to intentionally document this campaign of terror. Since then, I have written 287 memorial posts for trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming neighbors whose lives ended violently in the United States. I’ve joined task forces and community groups to do this important work. And two things never change for me – I wonder how this neighbor experienced their final moments and I struggle to end the post, to say ‘farewell’ to someone I never met. A third thing is that I weep for all of my beautiful trans friends and neighbors.

I will update as final arrangements are made and the police make headway in the investigation. As you continue your Pride celebrations, please think of Ashia and her surviving loved ones.

Rest in power, Ashia. Your good heart and generous spirit have left their mark on so many of your friends and family. You brought joy to this world, joy and love and beauty. I hope you find peace and forgive us for not creating a safer world for you. Thank you for being among us.

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.
  4. Unique Banks – Chicago, Illinois, January 23, 2023. Age 21.
  5. Zachee Imanitwitaho – Louisville, Kentucky, February 3, 2023. Age 26.
  6. Maria Jose Rivera Rivera – Houston, Texas, January 21, 2023. Age 22.
  7. Cashay Henderson – Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 27, 2023. Age 31.
  8. Tasiyah ‘Siyah’ Woodland – Mechanicsville, Maryland, March 24, 2023. Age 18
  9. Ashley Burton – Atlanta, Georgia, April 11, 2023. Age 37.
  10. Rasheeda Williams – Atlanta, Georgia, April 18, 2023. Age 35.
  11. Banko Brown – San Francisco, California, April 27, 2023. Age 24.
  12. Ashia Davis – Detroit, Michigan, June 2, 2023. Age 34.
Trans deaths


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