Transgender make-up artist shot dead

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A transgender woman has been shot and killed in Mississippi.

Make-up artist Mesha Caldwell, 41, was found dead near Canton, Mississippi on January 4.

The woman’s death is believed to be the first reported murder of a transgender person in the US in 2017.

Activists have rallied in support after initial police reports referred to her as a man and used her former name.

Police are investigating Caldwell’s death as a murder but have not yet announced any suspect.

Long-time Family friend Mary Young told Mic she was “hurt” to see the initial reports, depriving Mesha of her identity even in death.

She reminisced: “She always, always dressed like a girl, and as she grew up, she became beautiful just like a lady. I don’t care what she put on, it looked good on her.

“I really don’t know why somebody would want to kill her.”

Emily Waters of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Mesha Caldwell, and we send our thoughts and condolences to those who have been impacted by her death.

“This is the first homicide of a transgender person that NCAVP has responded to in 2017, during a time of heightened fear and increased violence against LGBTQ communities.

“As we continue to hear more reports of violence, we must remind ourselves that this violence is not normal and fight harder than ever to keep transgender people safe.”

A spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign wrote: “Caldwell’s death is part of a devastating trend of violence against transgender people and their communities. Transgender women of color make up a stunning proportion of reported transgender murder victims.

“Last year, people of color were victims in 95 percent of the 21 anti-transgender murders HRC tracked. Like Caldwell, more than three in four victims were black, and 86 percent were women.

“Reports that Caldwell was shot to death also echo a trend of gun violence against transgender victims. Among transgender people murdered in the United States in 2016, more than half were killed with guns.

“HRC extends sincere condolences to Caldwell’s family and friends.”