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Two black trans women found dead on the same day, in Chicago and Louisiana

Sofia Lotto Persio September 1, 2018

The bodies of two trans women of colour were found on Thursday in two different locations in the US—in both cases, the police are conducting a homicide investigation.

Dejanay L. Stanton, a 24-year-old woman, was found on a street in Chicago on Thursday morning with a gunshot wound to the head, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Stanton’s family and friends held a vigil in her honour on Friday and dozens of people left tributes on social media remembering the young woman, who also had a Facebook account under the name De’janay Lanorra.

Friends described her as a sweet, kind and loving person. “This young lady was special and so innocent. One of the sweetest presence I’ve seen and known!” her friend Trisha Holloway wrote.

“Domestic violence and violence in general is so big in our community! We are killed at alarming rates and Justice is never ours! I cry today for her because I see myself in her! We are one because of our struggles, our life we live and the many that inflict harm on us!” she added.

Stanton’s brother Darius thanked people for their thoughts. “As I’m seeing all these post about my sister I could tell she was love by many she supported every decision y’all made from making money to changing yourself… she was the back bone to some of y’all… she stayed bringing people home even tho we didn’t have much she offered it all….” he wrote on Facebook.

Black queer activist LaSaia Honey Wade paid tribute to the two women (Facebook)

The other woman, 18-year-old Vontashia Bell, was also found in a street in Shreveport, Louisiana, with gunshot wounds to the chest and wrist.

Police and local media have initially misgendered the victim. The authorities are offering $1,000 reward for information on the case that would lead to an arrest, and can be contacted at 318-673-6955, or 318-673-7373 to give information anonymously.

The local Louisiana Trans Advocates organisation condemned the shooting in a statement on Thursday.

“Vontashia Bell must not die in vain,” the group wrote, calling on the authorities to take action against violence against transgender people.

“Shreveport and Louisiana leaders must speak out against these killings, against the ongoing, systematic devaluation of trans people that pervades our media and politics, and against the institutional racism that places almost all of this burden on trans women of colour,” the organisation said.

A candlelight vigil (Scott Olson/Getty)

Black queer activist LaSaia Honey Wade, who manages the Brave Space Alliance in Chicago, remembered both women in a touching statement on Facebook.

“My sisters are being killed, Vontashia Bell in Shreveport, LA and Dejanay Stanton here in Chicago tonight we mourn, we cry and we tell the ancestors to now watch over them. My heart is hurting so much,” she wrote.

Stanton and Bell’s deaths mark the 17th and the 18th known killing of a transgender person in the US this year.

“Bell’s death marks the 13th known killing in Louisiana since January 2013, the highest among all 50 states,” the Human Rights Campaign, which keeps a record of the killings of transgender people, said in a statement, expressing sadness at the news of the recent deaths.

More: Chicago, louisiana, trans deaths 2018, trans women of colour, US

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