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Police investigating the death of young Somali trans woman in Canada

Molly Rose Pike February 25, 2015

Sumaya Ysl, a popular member of Toronto’s LGBT community, was found dead on 22 February. Police are not treating her death as suspicious.

Toronto Police are investigating the death of Sumaya Ysl, a young Somali trans woman who was found on 22 February.

Police are asking anyone with information to come forward, they said they would not normally make a public appeal but following the online speculation surrounding Sumaya’s death they will make a thorough investigation.

On the night she was found, Sumaya was unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene. She was 26.

Sumaya had been a popular member of the city’s LGBT community. She was the subject of a documentary called ‘An intimate portrait of Somalian trans-woman’ made by artist Abdi Osman in 2012. She was born in Somalia to a Muslim family and migrated with her family to Canada at the age of 3. Sumaya began her transition in 2011.

In a statement, Toronto Police said: “At this time, we have no evidence to indicate the death is suspicious. If the investigation leads us to believe otherwise, we will provide an update.”

The statement from Toronto Police

Twitter users have been utilising the site to bring attention to Sumaya’s death. Mourners are using the hashtag #JusticeForSumayaYsl to remember her and defend her memory from those posting transphobic and Islamophobic comments.

Speaking to the National Post, a police spokesperson confirmed that the investigation is in response to the outcry on social media. They said: “We certainly are sensitive to the relationship between the Toronto Police Service and trans communities. We’ve worked very hard over the last little while to improve that relationship.”

A memorial for Sumaya is planned for March 3. Organisers called Sumaya a “bold, brave and brilliant young woman who loved her friends fiercely and whose tenacity to be the best version of herself inspired us all.”

More: Americas, Canada, Canada, sumaya ysl, Toronto, toronto police, trans death, trans woman, zumaya

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