Tasiyah Woodland: Trans teen dead at 18 after ‘senseless act of gun violence’

Tasiyah Woodland

An investigation has been launched into the murder of an 18-year-old trans teen who died after “senseless act of gun violence” in Mechanicsville, Virginia.

Tasiyah Woodland, who was also known as Siyah, tragically died in the early morning hours of Friday (24 March).

The St Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office (SMCSO) received a report of shots fired in the car park of Big Dogs Paradise bar in Mechanicsville. 

Deputies were quick to respond to the scene at 1.15am but discovered Woodland, who had suffered fatal gunshot wounds, was already dead. 

The office’s criminal investigation division has now launched an investigation to find the motive behind the shooting. 

At this time, deputies have said the event appears to be isolated and Woodland’s death hasn’t been linked to her gender identity. The office has reassured the public that there is no immediate danger. 

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The Sheriff’s office has also contacted the victim’s family, LGBTQ+ charity PFLAG Southern Maryland and the wider queer community to address concerns about safety. 

‘Fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women’

On Facebook, PFLAG announced it has spoken to the sheriff in charge of the case to ensure Woodland is remembered with “respect and dignity”.

It added: “PFLAG also voiced concern regarding the potential for worsening stigma around our trans and queer residents.

“This is an unfortunate reminder that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women – particularly black, indigenous and people of colour. 

“Trans people are more likely to lack access to education, healthcare, and are often forced into unemployment, poverty, homelessness; all of which increases their risk of violence.”

Woodland’s aunt, Blair Woodland, also known as Lizzy, has organised a GoFundMe aiming to raise $7,000 to help with her funeral costs. 

In the fundraiser Woodland’s aunt describes Woodland as a “powerful spirit” and a “joy” who “made sure everyone she was around knew that they were loved”.

Blair wrote: “Her life was taken at the young age of 18 in a senseless act of gun violence on March 24, 2023.

“She was a women who was high-spirited and protective of those she loved. She loved to have a good time, smile and laugh and spend time with her family. She was never too far when you needed her.”

She added that Woodland’s transition, which she began after the death of her mum, was accepted by her family. 

“Please help our family send her off in the best way possible, a way that she deserved,” the fundraiser’s description adds.

Big Dogs Paradise is a “bar, grill, and liquor store” that welcomes “all audiences” and offers entertainment three nights a week, according to its website.

SMCSO is urging anyone with footage or images from the scene to upload them to the Citizen Upload Video Upload Portal here

Additional information can also be sent to detective David Lawrence at 301-475-4200, ext. 78130, or through email at [email protected].

To remain anonymous, people can contact Crime Solvers, which is offering up to $1,000 as a reward for information leading to an arrest or indictment related to the case, at 301-475-3333 or by texting “TIP239” plus their message to “CRIMES” (274637). 

Donations to Woodland’s fundraiser can be made here.

LGBTQ+ advocacy organisation Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has recorded that more than 300 trans people have been killed since 2013, when it began tracking trans murders.

PinkNews has contacted PFLAG Southern Maryland, Blair Woodland and SMCSO.