28 Year Old Black Gender Nonconforming Person Killed

Thomas Robinson
Via Facebook

A 28-year-old Black gender nonconforming person was the victim of a fatal gunshot injury on Thursday, August 17, 2023 in Indiana. Thomas ‘Tom-Tom’ Robertson died at the scene, a victim of a shooting targeting someone else.

Calumet City police were responding to the 300 block of Paxton Avenue for a ShotSpotter alert at 11:45 p.m. when someone called 911 and reported a gunshot victim in the same block.  

Officers found two people, ages 25 and 28, suffering from gunshot wounds. 

Despite life-saving measures, the 28-year-old victim was pronounced dead at the scene, police say. 

The 25-year-old victim was transported to an area hospital in critical condition.

There is no update on the investigation. Detectives from Calumet City and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force are conducting the investigation. Call the Calumet City Police Department at 708-868-2500 if you have any information.

Thomas was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He relocated to East Chicago, Indiana. Thomas graduated from Thornridge High School in 2013 and was working as a cook at a local IHOP. He frequently changed his hairstyle and color, posting many online photos of his artistry. His images are gorgeous.

There are two crowdfunds set up for final expenses. I reached out to GoFundMe to confirm if they are both authorized by the family.

Celebration of Life for Thomas Robinson by Zakyra Jordan

Thomas Robinson by Victoria Williams

Thomas’ friends are grieving the loss of their friend, remembering his as a source of smiles and laughter.

Sadly, the tragedy is compounded by the ignorant public comments about Thomas’ photos, hair, and aesthetic. One media site identified Thomas as transgender, but there is no evidence to support that. Assigning people labels based on their photos is transphobic. It would be appropriate to describe Thomas as gender nonconforming or gender creative, reflections on the image he presented to the world with his social media. And while gender nonconforming identity can often be found under the transgender umbrella, it does not serve anyone to make that assumption. The comments on that post unleash a torrent of ugly intolerance that dishonors the commenters.

The ways in which anti-trans violence seeps into already violent and tragic experience never fails to amaze me. Resistance sometimes means stepping in to provide accurate information and clarity to help the bereaved stay focused on their own journeys. And to remind everyone that people who do not conform to our constructs of gender can be described with care and respect, not devalued at their worst moments.

Thomas is the 17th trans or gender nonconforming person whose violent death has been reported in 2023. He is the 14th person of color and the11th Black person, 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, Thomas. You brought joy, laughter, and beauty into the world. You deserved so much more from the world, least of which is to be safe as you walked among us. Thank you for your gifts. I am so sorry that we failed 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 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. Camdyn Rider – Winter Haven, Florida, July 21, 2023. Age 21.
  16. Kylie Monali – Riverside, California, September 7, 2022, Reported September 2023.
  17. DéVonnie J’Rae Johnson – Los Angeles, California, August 7, 2023. Age 27.
  18. Thomas ‘Tom-Tom’ Robinson – Calumet, Indiana, August 17, 2023. Age 28.
Trans deaths


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