Deluge of trans murders shows no sign of stopping in 2021 after fatal shooting of Tyianna Alexander

Tyianna Alexander

Tyianna Alexander, a 28-year-old Black trans woman, has been shot and killed in Chicago, as the wave of US trans murders continues into 2021.

According to Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Alexander was shot in the early hours of 6 January in Chicago, and her death is the first known violent killing of a trans person in the US this year.

In 2020, at least 44 trans or gender non-conforming people were murdered in the US, amid an epidemic of violence against the trans community, making it the worst year since the advocacy group started keeping track.

Chicago police told Gay City News that Alexander was one of two people shot in the incident, and that the gun was fired from a silver car. She died at the scene.

The authorities in the city, who initially misgendered Alexander, said they don’t have a system for recording the gender of victims.

Sally Brown, a public information officer for the Chicago Police Department, insisted that they did not want to “insult” Alexander, but would be using her sex assigned at birth in documents.

Tyianna Alexander was a ‘sweet person with a good heart’

Tyianna Alexander’s friends and family took to social media to pay tribute to her.

Her cousin wrote on Facebook: “I miss you so much, my heart is broken. I keep telling myself I’m going to be OK but deep down know I’m not.

“Why you? Such a sweet person with a good heart.”

A friend added: “One of the hardest thing to do is say goodbye to you friend. May you rest in eternal peace and glory, you will always be missed and remembered for all the joy you brought me.”

“Tyianna Alexander was literally the life of every party,” wrote another.

“Always showed love no matter who it was to! I don’t know what’s going on in Chicago Lord, but please lift that dark cloud off that city.”

Less than two weeks before Alexander’s death, another Black trans woman was murdered in Chicago.

Courtney Eshay Key was shot dead on Christmas Day in what her friends believe was a hate crime. She was then also misgendered by police in death.

No suspects in either case have been taken into custody.

An employee of Howard Brown Health, an LGBT+ organisation in Chicago, told HRC: “I am really saddened and distraught over the news of Tyianna’s and Eshay’s passings.

“While many celebrated the holidays, the trans community of Chicago mourned the loss of great souls, and at the same time were shook to the core by the similarities of how they were killed.

“With both of them losing their lives from a gunshot to the head, around the same time and neighbourhood, one is only left to speculate that perhaps there is a serial killer targeting Black trans women in Chicago.

“Since their passing, the Chicago Police Department has done nothing other than misgender them while our community was left to bring honour to their names.

“I am tired of being afraid for us, tired of contemplating when it’s safe to be my authentic self, tired of adding more names to a list for our ‘allies’ to remember once a year.”