Trans woman, known for her ‘bright and sunny’ demeanour, killed just weeks before birthday

Marisela Castro, a trans woman who was killed in Houston, Texas, wears a pink tank top as she poses for a photo

Marisela Castro, a trans woman who had a “bright and sunny” demeanour, was shot and killed just weeks shy of her birthday celebrations. 

Castro was killed early Friday (29 July) when a man got out of a car she was in and shot her in the back as she walked down a street in the Northshore neighbourhood of east Houston, Texas, the Houston Chronicle reported. 

The man, who has not yet been identified or arrested, got back into the car and drove away.

Castro’s friend Jorge Luis Lizardo told the Houston Chronicle that the trans woman had a “bright and sunny” demeanour despite facing discrimination while working on construction sites or being denied services by businesses. 

Lizardo described how Castro didn’t usually celebrate her birthday, but she wanted to have a party to celebrate her 40th birthday at the end of August. The pair were planning the celebration together when Castro was killed. 

“We were putting it together little by little, I told her we were going to have a great time because she was turning 40,” Lizardo said.

Lizardo added the trans woman, who immigrated from Honduras, moved to Houston several years back to be closer to her beloved sister, nieces and nephews. Castro and Lizardo quickly became close and “called each other brother and sister”. 

“She was always so happy, but you know that all across the US there are many that don’t like transgender people, and this is not the first time this has happened,” he said.

Sadly, Castro is at least the 23rd trans, non-binary or gender diverse person to be violently killed in 2022 thus far, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said it was heartbreaking to have to “memorialize and honor a member of our community” taken “long before her time”.

“Marisela Castro’s life, from all we know of it, was filled with love for family and friends, all of whom now share in the grief of her loss,” Cooper said. “We must all do more to protect transgender women, as we all deserve to live full lives free from violence and discrimination.”

Elia Chino, the founder of the Fundación Latinoamericana De Acción Social, told the Houston Chronicle it was “so sad” to discover that another “trans sister” was killed in Houston and condemned the police’s lack of action on Castro’s murder. 

“It is so sad to find out that another trans sister in Houston was murdered due to transphobia and hate against our trans community, without protection or answers from law enforcement in Houston,” Chino said.

“Ni una mas (not one more). We are tired of this happening again and again to our trans sisters.”

The community has mourned across 2022: Amariey Lej, Duval PrincessCypress RamosNaomie SkinnerMatthew Angelo SpampinatoPaloma VazquezTatiana LabelleKathryn “Katie” NewhouseKenyatta “Kesha” WebsterMiia Love ParkerFern FeatherAriyanna MitchellRaymond “Ray” MuscatNedra Sequence Morris, ​​Chanelika Y’Ella Dior HemingwaySasha MasonBrazil JohnsonShawmaynè Giselle Marie, Kitty MonroeMartasia RichmondKeshia Chanel Geter, and Cherry Bush.