The Murder of a 53 year old Trans Woman in Maryland

Meghan Riley Lewis via Facebook

The Crime

Meghan Riley Lewis, 53, was a white trans woman living in Maryland, parent to two children, technology professional, a Dead Head, musician, and resoundingly lauded for her compassion and kindness. On December 27, she tragically joined the ranks of trans neighbors who have died violent deaths in 2023 when a single gunshot fatally penetrated her body.

According to authorities, the murderer, Brian Delen, 47, had been delivering food to someone in Meghan’s complex in Bel Air, Maryland. He misgendered her while searching for the delivery location. That’s when she confronted him, She was on foot  and he was in a car.  As he drove away, Meghan continued to rebuke his anti-trans comments.  Finally, he exited the car, pulled out his firearm, and shot her one time. That’s all it took.

Evidently, he is currently in police custody, facing charges second-degree murder, first-degree assault, and a gun violation. On Friday, he has been released on GPS monitoring following a bail hearing, WJZ has learned.

Police said Lewis was shot in the upper torso and was taken to the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, where she died.

Honoring Meghan

Meghan Riley Lewis, 57, of Bel Air, Maryland.  She graduated from Old Mill Senior High in Millersville, Maryland. Then, she studied at University of Maryland, According to Facebook, Meghan had just celebrated her birthday on December 7, 2023.

According to the tributes on Facebook, she has two children and fostered rescue dogs and worked with many other important causes. She was also a veteran described as someone who would give anyone the shirt off her back. Lewis also founded a patient support group for trans individuals coming to Baltimore for life-saving surgery, 

Unquestionably, Meghan was a dead head and well-know among alt-music scenes. She was a fan of Baltimore sports teams and supported many local businesses. She lived a robust life as a trans woman.

EVERYONE commenting about Meghan’s life mentions her compassion, decency, willingness to help, her unfailing LGBTQ advocacy around Baltimore. They ALL have stories of her taking in strangers, showing up at funerals, and distributing food to others. TO A PERSON, they remember her sparkly personality. She had a catchphrase: “Stay sparkly.”

Like all deaths of our trans, GNC, and nonbinary neighbors, Meghan’s loss is a vicious, brutal blow as we near the end of the year. All she did was exist and resist erasure as a trans woman.

Initial police reports deadnamed her, but her friends swarmed the police and media to correct them, a stage of grief unique to this trans woman and others.

Meghan was an intellectual, spoke several languages, was an amazing cook, took in kids who needed help, opened her home to whomever needed shelter or a shoulder to cry on. She was a staunch advocate for LGBTQ rights and helped many of us understand the struggles of queer people. She was also a music fan — that’s how I knew her. She told people to “stay sparkly.” She was one of those people who made the world a way better place. And a random dude with a gun took her from her kids, her family, her friends.

Stacy K. Facebook

The Context

In brief, Meghan resisted his transphobic comments. He misgendered her, but she wasn’t having it. She was armed only with her words, her self-respect. He carried a gun. Any hint that he had made a sincere mistake in the initial encounter was shredded by the simple fact that he pulled a gun in response to her self-advocacy.

In brief, a sincere mistake would have him driving away from the scene, not fighting and shooting her. The gun charge suggests that he wasn’t carrying his gun lawfully. So much for good guys with guns. This is a bad anti-trans bigot whose bad decisions took the life of a lovely human being for no other reason than that he was carrying. A bad guy with a gun claims the life of another trans neighbor. Again.

Especially sobering is the reality that Meghan spoke up in defense of herself as a trans woman when she was misgendered. The murderer did misgender her, intentional or not. But he clearly did not respond well to being corrected and educated. We may never know exactly what was said by whom, but nothing Meghan could potentially have said warranted him pulling a gun and firing. He had a car, he could have driven away. This is what is happening in our country. And it is one reason why we cisgender allies must put ourselves on the front lines resisting anti-trans bigotry. Obviously, a trans woman like Meghan should not stand alone defending her existence.

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But obviously she was. She just wanted to be acknowledged, the simple most threatening request any trans person can ask.

Thus, the list for 2023 includes 42 names. Meghan is the 42nd person on our 2023 list, surpassing the total lives lost in all of 2022. Meghan is the 33nd trans woman on this list. At 57, she is the oldest person on our list. Further, a trans neighbor has been killed every 8.5 days in the US this year.

Rest in power, Meghan. Your life changed the world, your death will hopefully change it again. Thank you for the beauty, ferocity, and compassion you brought to this world. You walked the walk, but this price paid is too high. Furthermore, you deserved to be respected and safe in your own home. Your life as a trans woman mattered greatly.

May your memory be a blessing.

This is our list

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.
  19. Charm Wilson – Cleveland, Ohio, September 8, 2023. Age 32.
  20. Bre’Asia Bankz – Arizona, September 5, 2023. Age 27.
  21. Alexa Sokova – Palm Bay, Florida, September 5, 2023. Age 30.
  22. YOKO – New Orleans Louisiana, September 19, 2023. Age 30.
  23. Codii Lawrence – Weirton, West Virginia, September 5, 2023. Age 25.
  24. Unidentified Person – Dallas, Texas,. July 2023. Age unknown
  25. Dolli Goins – Eugene, Oregon, August 10, 2023. Age 27.
  26. Luis Ángel Díaz Castro – San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 12, 2023. Age 22.
  27. Thaddeus ‘Tad’ Keegan Bradley – Mendocino, California, Sept 21st, 2021. Reported April 27, 2023.
  28. Sherlyn Marjorie – Albuquerque, Nex Mexico, September 17, 2023. Age 35.
  29. Chyna Long – Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 8, 2023. Age 20.
  30. Skylar Harrison – Washington, DC, October 2, 2023. Age 30.
  31. A’Nee Johnson – Washington, DC, October 14, 2023. Age 30.
  32. Dominic Palace Dupree – Chicago, Illinois, October 13, 2023. Age 25.
  33. Lisa Love -Chicago, Illinois, October19, 2023. Age 35.
  34. Lovely Page – Chicago, Illinois, August 16, 2023. Age 54.
  35. London Price – Miami, Florida, October 23, 2023. Age 26.
  36. LaKendra Andrews – Dallas, Texas, April 29, 2023. Age 26.
  37. Kejuan Richardson – Toledo, Ohio, November 14, 2023. Age 21.
  38. Amiri Jean Richardson – Toledo, Ohio, November 14, 2023. Age 21.
  39. Jean Thomas Butchart – Belleville, Michigan, August 4, 2023. Age 26.
  40. Shandon Floyd – Columbia, South Carolina, November 8, 2023. Age 20.
  41. Savannah Williams – St. Paul, Minnesota, November 29, 2023. Age 38.
  42. Meghan Riley Lewis – Del Mar, Maryland, December 27, 2023. Age 53.
Trans deaths


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