Kandii Redd: Black trans woman and award-winning performer stabbed to death

Kandii Redd.

Kandii Redd, also known as Kamila Marie Swann or Dee Dee, was stabbed to death on 25 July.

The 29-year-old, from Kansas City, becomes the 25th known trans person to have been murdered in the US this year.

Reports have suggested Redd may have been killed by an intimate partner after an argument, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). 

Police responded to a disturbance call and found an unconscious Redd on the floor. Officers called emergency services, but she was pronounced dead at the scene, local LGBTQ+ outlet PGHLesbian reported.

According to an obituary by her family (which deadnames her), Redd “was known to be the life of the party, with a spit fire attitude, and the diva of the pack.

“Dee-Dee also loved to dance and have dance battles with his nieces and little cousins. Dee-Dee’s smile always brightened a room and will be truly missed.”

It added that Redd had in 2019 “started a spiritual journey of enlightenment. She loved talking about horoscopes, crystals and studying the stars. Dee-Dee also had a green thumb and loved to plant and grow flowers”.

Redd was a popular adult model and in 2014 was honoured as the “Black Tgirls Model of the Year” at the Transgender Erotica Awards.

Redd is the 25th known trans person in to be violently killed in the US in 2022, per HRC.

The true figure is likely to be higher, as many victims are deadnamed and misgendered in death.

Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said: “Dee Dee, also known as Kamila Marie Swann, deserved a long and full life filled with joy and hope – just like each and every one of us.

“Yet again, we mourn for one of our own taken far too soon. Yet again, we find ourselves asking how we can stem the tide of fatal violence that too many Black transgender women face. I don’t yet know how, but I do know we must.”

A  report by HRC found that most victims are killed by people known to them.

Between 2013 to 2021, two-thirds of trans and gender non-conforming people were murdered by an acquaintance, friend, family member or intimate partner.

Intimate partners accounted for 21 per cent of the murders. HRC noted this is an underestimate, as there are many crimes that go unreported.

Trans people of colour are disproportionately impacted by the violence, with 73 per cent of gun homicides of transgender and gender non-conforming people being Black trans women.

In Missouri, where Redd was killed, transgender and gender non-conforming people are not protected from discrimination in housing, employment or in public spaces.