US

Trans woman ‘shot dead by her own boyfriend’ as epidemic of violence spills in 2022

Maggie Baska February 25, 2022
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Naomie Skinner, a Black trans woman, is seen with hoop earrings and berry coloured lip tiny

Naomie Skinner. (Human Rights Campaign)

A Black trans woman who was shot and left for dead has become the latest victim in 2022’s “epidemic of violence” in the US.

Naomie Skinner, a 25-year-old woman who lived near Detroit, Michigan, was found dead in a hallway at an apartment complex in Highland Park.

Police were called to the area in the early morning hours of 12 February, The Detroit News reported. Law enforcement officers discovered Skinner in a fourth-floor hallway dead from a gunshot wound to her neck.

Wayne County prosecutors have said that Michael Cortez Norris, her boyfriend, is accused of killing Skinner. They believe that an altercation broke out in the apartment and ended with Skinner being shot.

Norris, 26, is accused of dragging her body into the hallway and fleeing the scene. He has now been charged with second-degree murder, tampering with evidence and felony firearm.

Skinner is at least the fourth trans person or gender non-conforming person to have been killed in 2022, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). However, the LGBT+ rights organisation said that, sadly all too often, deaths go unreported or misreported.

Last year was the deadliest year on record for the trans community in the USA as an “epidemic of violence” against trans people swept the nation.

One of Skinner’s friends described her as a “very outstanding person” while another called on people to “cherish the ones you love” while they can, the HRC said.

Tori Cooper, HRC’s director of community engagement for the transgender justice initiative, said that Skinner had her “entire life ahead of her” before she was tragically killed. She said her death is a “reminder of the epidemic of violence against Black transgender women”.

“Without action, this epidemic will continue to claim the lives of transgender and gender non-conforming people when their lives are just starting out,” Cooper said. “Naomie’s life mattered and we must continue the fight to protect the lives of not just members of the trans and LGBTQ+ community, but all of us.”

Skinner’s sister has created a GoFundMe page to help raise funeral expenses. She said Skinner was killed “due to domestic violence” and that her remains are being held in Detroit.

She said the funds would go towards helping to “get her home so she can have the service she deserves” and to give everyone a “chance to celebrate her fabulous life”.

Julisa Abad – director of transgender outreach and advocacy for Fair Michigan and a victim advocate for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office – told Fox 2 that there has been a “spike in domestic violence calls” in the area.

“A lot of people don’t seek help for a number of reasons,” she said.

She was concerned that trans people may not know where to turn for help, and she wanted people to leave abusive situations before it was too late.

Abad said in a joint statement with the HRC that trans women of colour “experience higher rates of all violence” so it was crucial they knew about the “life-saving resources in your area”.

She also called on people to come together as a community and “do better at protecting and being vigilant for our sisters”.

The community has mourned across 2022: Amariey Lej, Duval Princess and Cypress Ramos.

More: anti-trans violence

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