A Black transgender woman from Clifton, Ohio, was killed early this month, marking the latest in several murders of transgender individuals in recent weeks.
According to a press release from the Cincinnati Police Department, Diamond “Kyree” Sanders, 23, was shot on March 3 near the Clifton Colony Apartments at 3200 block of Morrison Avenue. Authorities discovered the victim alive in a parking lot, but she later died from her injuries at a hospital. Cincinnati Police Department spokesperson Eric Franz told Gay City News that the murder initially seemed to be a hate crime, but after further investigation it appeared the victim was not targeted because of her trans status.
“This was a crime of greed,” Franz told Gay City News before resorting to insensitive language to describe Sanders’ gender identity. “This had nothing to do with the victim’s lifestyle.”
The Voice of Black Cincinnati reported in a Facebook post that the suspect — who has yet to be apprehended — stole the victim’s purse and cellphone. While Franz said the department could not confirm these claims to the media because it’s an open investigation, he noted that these claims would align with “greed.”
Separately, a white transgender woman who was also identified by relatives as gender-fluid, was killed late last month in North Carolina.
Jenna Franks, 34, was found dead in a ditch at Ellis Boulevard and White Street in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on February 24, the Jacksonville Police Department wrote in a Facebook post. In a statement, Jacksonville Police Department’s Captain Mike Capps said authorities are investigating the incident as a homicide. Because it’s an open investigation, no additional information is being released to the public, Capps said.
Just days earlier, two transgender siblings were shot to death in a double homicide in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, on February 22. The Ambridge Police Department has charged the victims’ mother, Krisinda Bright, with killing her two children; Jeffrey “JJ” Bright, a 16-year-old transgender boy, and Jasmine Cannady, a 22-year-old non-binary person.
The siblings were members of PRISM, an LGBTQ youth organization in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The organization hosted a vigil in honor of the victims’ life.
“Our hearts are so heavy, and we are hurting,” the organization said in a statement on Facebook. “JJ was a beautiful person with the biggest and brightest smile. We will miss your laugh. We will miss your jokes. You will never be forgotten. Fly high, JJ.”
While the motive for the victims’ death is unclear, like many transgender victims of gun violence, several of them were misgendered by police and local media reports. In a statement, David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, an LGBTQ civil rights group, denounced the rampant violence against the community.
“We should not have to keep track of Black trans people whose lives are stolen —period,” Johns said. “Instead, we should be giving them their flowers and celebrating their many contributions to the culture, our community, and the country.”
Johns continued, “We need urgent action to stop the epidemic of violence that Black trans and gender-nonconforming members of our community are experiencing.”
After a record-high 44 known transgender Americans were killed last year, the deadly violence against transgender or gender-non-conforming people is continuing into this year. Sanders is the tenth known transgender person to face a violent death in 2021. Others include Chyna Carrillo, a Latinx trans woman killed on February 18, Tyianna Alexander of Chicago, Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín of Puerto Rico, Bianca “Muffin” Bankz of Atlanta, Dominique Jackson of Mississippi, Fifty Bandz of Louisiana, and Alexus Braxton of Miami.
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