Man jailed for 36 years for murder of 22-year-old Black trans woman Tracy Williams

Joshua Dominic Bourgeois and Tracy Single

A Texas man has been jailed for 36 years for the murder of his transgender girlfriend.

Joshua Dominic Lege Bourgeois, 29, pleaded guilty to the July 2019 murder of Tracy Williams, sometimes known as Tracy Single, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced last week.

Bourgeois repeatedly stabbed 22-year-old Williams as they walked along a road. Witnesses said the pair had been arguing earlier in the day because she reportedly wanted to break up.

He then “left her to die in the parking lot of an automotive shop”, before leaving the area, the police said. 

Bourgeois was arrested the following month. 

After her death, friends of Williams described her as funny and creative, with a “larger-than-life personality”. 

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She spent time volunteering at a shelter for homeless young people. The executive director of Montrose Grace Place, in Houston, Courtney Sellers, told the Houston Chronicle her death was a “big loss for the community”. 

Sellers added: “It’s hard for so many reasons.” 

Assistant district attorney Stephany Abner, who prosecuted the case, said: “They [Williams and Bourgeois] were in an on-and-off relationship, and it was a situation in which she was ready to leave an abusive relationship and was tragically murdered.

“He was part of the homeless community and she was part of the transgender community, and this shows that no one is exempt from the dangers of intimate partner violence.”

Harris County district attorney Kim Ogg added: “Intimate partner violence affects every community, and far too often we see it escalate into murder. The most dangerous time for anyone in an abusive relationship is when they are trying to leave the situation, and that’s why we take every allegation of domestic violence so seriously.”

A report released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in 2022 found that Black transgender women make up 63 per cent of victims of fatal violence against trans and gender-nonconforming people. 

Eighty-five per cent of victims of fatal violence against trans and gender-nonconforming people were trans women, and the same percentage were people of colour, the figures showed.

“It is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of colour, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable,” an HRC spokesperson added. 

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