The 20th trans person to be killed in the US so far this year has been named
UPDATE (October 3 2019): Since this story was published, PinkNews encountered new information regarding the gender identity of Ja’leyah-Jamar, who was alleged trans as the 19th trans person to be killed.
Friends, relatives and community leaders have since stated that Berryman was a gender nonconforming man, not trans. As a result, Elisha Stanley is the 19th trans person to be killed in the US.
The 20th trans person to be killed in the US so far this year has been named by trans community leaders and groups as Elisha Stanley.
Nicknamed ‘Diamond’, Stanley was, according to trans activists, visiting “family still living in Pittsburgh [in the state of Pennsylvania]” where she was allegedly murdered.
She was based in Washington, DC, and worked as a community mental health worker at MBI Health Services LLC.
Her Facebook feed was full of smiling selfies, inspirational quotes and pictures lounging by the pool in Miami, which she had booked to visit again in October.
Pittsburgh Police “are aware of the death”.
Details of Stanley’s alleged murder are unclear at this stage.
But a Pittsburgh Bureau of Police spokesperson told PinkNews: “Police are aware of the death and detectives are investigating. The cause and manner of death will come from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner.
“As this is an ongoing investigation, police cannot comment further.”
Ciora Thomas, CEO of trans rights group SisTers PGH, posted on Facebook earlier this week that Stanley was allegedly “killed last week” and her funeral was held “last Thursday”.
Moreover, the group have organised a peaceful protest “to stand in solidarity and power” to coincide with Trans Day of Remembrance on 20 November, she wrote on Facebook. More than 100 people have reserved a space so far.
Trans group mourn the loss of a sister: “This beautiful human being was taken too early.”
Trans YOUniting, a trans and non-binary support group in Pittsburgh, issued a Facebook statement on her death.
“There’s so many different conversations being had in our city this needs to be at the top!” the group’s statement read.
“We need Justice for Elisha! This beautiful human being was taken too early.”
Loved ones appeared to have aware of Stanley’s death on or by 18 September.
A user commented on Trans YOUniting’s post who is reportedly Stanley’s child. He said: “If I could only bring her back, my hear is sore.”
On 18 September, he posted a status that read: “I’m so hurt right now”, and then tagged Stanley’s personal Facebook account.
Moreover, friends of Elisha Stanley have also taken to Facebook to mourn their loss, with one saying Stanley will be “so missed” on 19 September.
Several trans rights campaigners have tweeted about the alleged killing, several claiming that sources have confirmed the death and murder of Stanley to them.
I have just been informed that the 20th (or 21) Transgender Women of color #ElishaStanley was murdered over the weekend. The #Pittsburgh community is trying to find out more information. pic.twitter.com/iQhjwXH0J5
— ✨🌻𝕮𝖑𝖆𝖗𝖆𝖇𝖊𝖑𝖑𝖊.𝕮🌻✨#RiseUpOct8 (@MsClarabelleC) October 1, 2019
#update from @SisTersPGH #ElishaStanley died last week in Pittsburgh. The community is reporting it as a murder but the police are not actively investigating at this time. Sisters will update as info becomes more available. https://t.co/OYslbAO9Xq pic.twitter.com/62A1hQwirX
— Miracle (@MiujizaMilagro) September 30, 2019
Clarabelle Catlin, a DC-based trans rights campaigner, told PinkNews that Stanley lived in DC and was visiting family in Pittsburgh.
Stanley is allegedly the latest target of a wave of violence against trans people, in particular towards black trans women, that is snarling one of the most marginalised and vulnerable communities.
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Catlin continued: “There are so many factors why transgender women of colour are being targeted.
“A lot of transgender women are kicked out of their homes at young ages, so they are immediately setup to fail and because of that sometimes we have to put ourselves into risky situations just to survive, ie., sex work.”
Anti-trans violence on the rise in the US.
As well as Elisha Stanley, at least 19 other trans people have been killed in 2019, 18 of which are trans women of colour.
Their names are Dana Martin, Jazzaline Ware, Ashanti Carmon, Claire Legato, Muhlaysia Booker, Michelle Washington, Paris Cameron, Chynal Lindsey, Chanel Scurlock, Zoe Spears, Brooklyn Lindsey, Denali Berries Stuckey, Kiki Fantroy and Pebbles LaDime Doe. Tracy Single, Bailey Reeves, Bee Love Slater and J’a’leyah-Jamar Berryman.
The LGBT+ community has also this year mourned Jordan Cofer, a white trans man who was killed in a mass shooting.