Transgender woman brutally shot dead in the US is third to be killed this year

A third transgender woman has been killed this year in the US.

Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot dead on Shepard Street in Buffalo, New York.

Authorities are looking into whether the homicide could be a hate crime.

(Facebook/tonya harvey)

Harvey’s murder follows the killings of Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, who founded the Miss Trans America pageant, and Viccky Gutierrez, who was burned to death in Los Angeles.

A spokeswoman for the Erie County District Attorney’s Office said police are “extremely concerned about a spike in homicides of transgender people across the country and will be, as part of this investigation, looking into whether or not this is a potential hate crime.”

Like many other trans victims, Harvey was originally misgendered by police. This has since been corrected by the authorities.

(Facebook/tonya harvey)

Harvey was killed at around 5:30pm on Tuesday.

The victim, known as Kita to her friends, died at the scene, on a dead-end street just a few miles from the Canadian border.

Local trans rights activist Ari Moore told Buffalo News: “The hatred, the bigotry and the aggressive attacks on trans people is almost an everyday occurrence in our lives.”

(Facebook/tonya harvey)

She emphasised that justice needed to be done, saying: “The murderer is still out there somewhere.”

The Pride Centre of Western New York’s executive director Damian Mordecai said Harvey’s death was part of a broader, disturbing pattern.

“There is a very real epidemic of violence targeting the transgender community, particularly those who live at the intersection of transphobia, racism and misogyny,” he said.

(Facebook/tonya harvey)

Friends have paid tribute to Harvey, remembering her as a “beautiful” person.

“All she wanted was happiness,” said one.


Ashley Breathe wrote on Facebook: “R.I.P Kita aka Tonya Harvey she was murdered this week and misgendered by media, I knew her since I started transitioning, she was so sweet and loving, always told her she was the black Cameron Diaz”.

She added: “Honestly I feel like I’m losing all my trans elders to violence and drug abuse, we have to be more careful, do better and live better, this is so sad… sleep in peace angel.”

(Facebook/ashley breathe)

2017 was by far the deadliest year on record for trans people in the US.

Most of the victims, like Harvey, were trans women of colour.