A transgender person has been shot and killed in Georgia, making them the 11th reported death of a trans person in the US so far in 2018.
Nino Fortson was shot multiple times following an argument in Atlanta, Georgia during the early hours of May 13.
Forston, a trans-masculine and gender non-conforming member of the Atlanta ballroom scene was reportedly shot on the intersection of Woods Drive and Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway after an argument with four other people.
Police were nearby and quickly headed to the scene after hearing multiple gunshots.
Forston was promptly taken to the nearby Grady Memorial Hospital but later died from their injuries.
The death of the 36-year-old is the first known death of a trans masculine-presenting – a transgender person whose gender expression is masculine but does not identify as a man – or gender non-conforming person in 2018.
Forston, who also went by the name Nino Starr, was an established member of Atlanta’s gay ballroom scene as part of the group the House of Blahnik, frequently performing under the “Butch Realness” category.
Kamaro Blahnik, the head of the nationally known performance house, mourned Forston’s death on social media.
Blahnik wrote in the post: “I know a lot of you were close to Nino. My heart goes out to each of you and please keep me in your prayers as I mourn the loss of my Son as well.”
As is often seen in the deaths of transgender people, local reports originally misgendered Fortson, identifying them as a woman.
The hashtag #JusticeForNino began in response to the misgendering and the lack of attention on their death.
“His name is Nino. He deserves better than this crappy, misspelt blurb that refuses to acknowledge his beautiful truth,” one activist wrote.
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Police do not currently have any suspects in Forston’s death and were not originally treating this as a transphobic incident.
Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos told them: “Our preliminary investigation did not in any way indicate that this individual identified as transgender. We had no evidence that such an identification played any role in this death.”
“But given the issues that are being raised publicly, we are going to engage our LGBT liaisons to work with our homicide unit and see if there are some angles that need to be looked at.”
Friends and family of Forston remembered them as a great person who was highly important to the Atlanta community.
One friend wrote: “This is a loss for our community. I won’t question why you were called home.”
A vigil was held for the 36-year-old on Tuesday.
In the US, 11 transgender people have died under suspicious circumstances so far in 2018, with 10 of those confirmed as homicides.
On May 12, the day before Forston was shot to death, an unidentified transgender woman was found dead in a Texas creek.