27 Year Old Black Trans Woman DéVonnie J’Rae Johnson Killed in Los Angeles

DéVonnie J'Rae Johnson trans woman
Via Facebook

In a storyline reminiscent of the shooting death of a trans teen in a Walgreens, a 29-year-old Black trans woman who was reportedly homeless was shot to death by a security guard in a Los Angeles grocery store.

Black trans woman DéVonnie J’Rae Johnson was shot to death in Los Angeles, CA on Aug. 7, 2023.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations West Bureau Homicide Unit is investigating a shooting on Aug. 7 in which a security guard shot and killed a homeless woman in a grocery store at Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue.

DeVonnie’s family contend that she was not the aggressor and have been demanding more investigation into her death. To date, the security guard has not been charged. It is eerily reminiscent of the shooting death of Banko Brown, a 24 year old trans man in a Walgreens in San Francisco.

California is a big state, but security guards shooting two young Black trans folx to death in retail stores within four months of each other? That’s something to notice. And discuss the disproportionate impact on trans folx, especially BIPOC trans folx.

DeVonnie was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to her mother, DeVonnie relocated to Los Angeles to pursue her transition in 2020. She was an artist. According to friends, Devonnie loved music, comedies, hanging with friends, and giving back to her community. Before her death Devonnie was looking forward to celebrating her 27th birthday. Services were led by Jazzmun Nichcala Crayton and Reverend Valerie Spencer.

Her family continues to fundraise to bring DeVonnie back to Tulsa for burial. Her mother appeared on the Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles podcast in late August to discuss Devonnie’s life and the circumstances of her death. They discussed important issues around mental health, homelessness, capitalism, and more. Her mom continues to bake plates of food to sell to fund this need. No one should be doing that much to bury their child. If you can help, please do.

DéVonnie is the 16th trans or gender nonconforming person whose violent death has been reported in 2023. She is the 13th trans person of color, the tenth Black trans person, the eighth Black trans woman, the 10th trans woman, and the 10th 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.

Rest in power, DéVonnie. Your life was important and you deserved to be protected and cherished. I am sorry that we failed you. Thank you for all that you brought to the world.

May your memory be a revolution.

his 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.
  13. Chanell Perez Ortiz – Carolina, Puerto Rico, June 25, 2023. Age 29.
  14. Jacob Williamson – Pageland, South Carolina, July 4, 2023, Age 18.
  15. Kylie Monali – Riverside, California, September 7, 2022, Reported September 2023.
  16. Camdyn Rider – Winter Haven, Florida, July 21, 2023. Age 21.
  17. DéVonnie J’Rae Johnson – Los Angeles, California, August 7, 2023. Age 27.
Trans deaths


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