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‘Kind’ woman ‘failed by the system’ is 33rd trans person killed in the US in 2021

Lily Wakefield August 9, 2021
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Tierramarie Lewis trans murder

Tierramarie Lewis was just 36 years old when she was shot and killed. (Human Rights Campaign)

Tierramarie Lewis, a “kind” woman who was “failed by the system” has become at least the 33rd trans person killed in the US in 2021.

According to the Buckeye Flame, on 12 June, police in Cleveland, Ohio, responded to a report of gunshots and found Lewis with just a faint pulse, having been shot in the chest.

Although emergency services tried to revive her, the 36-year-old died in hospital.

She was misgendered in the police report on the shooting, and local media barely covered her death.

Lewis had been receiving support as a member of the trans wellness group the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, and was homeless at the time of her death, having faced transphobia and discrimination at various shelters.

Tamika “Devinity” Jones, the centre’s trans wellness and HIV prevention coordinator, said: “She was in our care, if you will, and she’s gone because of the systems that failed.”

Recalling Lewis’ participation in the group, she added: “I just really respected her for the fact that she walked through so much.

“And she still shined such a light. She only gave kindness.”

Tierramarie Lewis was “ready to turn her life around” after struggling with addiction

According to Tamika Jones, Tierramarie Lewis moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 2020, wanting to recover from addiction and move away from sex work.

Jones said: “She was tired. She was just ready to turn her life around.”

On the horrifying number of anti-trans murders which continue to increase across the US, she added: “There’s no 40 acres and a mule and a white picket fence house —that American dream is done when it comes to trans people.

“It’s just, can I make it past 30? Can I make it to 30?”

On 28 June, Duane Lunsford, 25, was charged with aggravated murder and felonious assault. He has pleaded not guilty.

Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a statement: “Another Black transgender woman has been killed in this country. When will this violence end?

“Tierramarie should have had the chance to live the life she wanted to live. As we continue to see so much violence against trans and gender non-conforming people, everyone must speak up and take action to end the stigma and fatal violence that often targets our community.”

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