Black trans choreographer Chyna Long shot and killed: ‘They took a piece of our joy’

Transgender choreographer Chyna Long was shot dead in Milwaukee

Trans choreographer Chyna Long was shot and killed in Milwaukee, in what family members believe to be a transphobic attack.

Thirty-year-old Long, a dance choreographer and Black trans woman, was found shot to death in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 8 October, her family confirmed this week.

Long was killed early Sunday morning in Milwaukee’s residential Melody Hill neighbourhood, according to police statements obtained by local ABC affiliate WISN. No arrests have yet been made.

Her family held a vigil held in her memory on Thursday (12 October).

Long’s aunt April Gipson told the vigil attendees that they believe her killing may have been a transphobic hate crime because the entire family had been harassed for years over Long’s trans identity.

“We’d get it all the time. And we would just ignore it,” Gipson said.

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Of the person who killed Long, she continued: “They left my baby there like trash.”

Long’s loved ones remembered her fondly. “She wasn’t apologetic about nothing,” Gipson said at the vigil. “This was who she was. And we accepted her, with all our hearts.”

Jonathan Long, Chyna Long’s father, told the NBC station TMJ4 that dance was one of his daughter’s greatest loves.

He declared: “Since 18 years old, kids came to the house, girls by droves, and she would teach them dancing.”

A funeral service is scheduled for the coming week, and the family has set up a GoFundMe to raise money for funeral costs.

Her father added: “As a father, I wish I would have asked more questions. I should have been close. Even though I know [she] knows I accepted [her] lifestyle, I feel like I could have done more.”

Of Long’s death, her aunt, Alissa Davenport, told TMJ4: “They took a piece of our joy.

“You try to be strong but the senseless murders, for whatever reason, we’re tired of it,” she continued. “We’ve been living in Milwaukee all our lives and we’re tired.”

At least 20 trans people in the US have died by violence in 2023, and most of them are women of colour. The true number is likely to be higher due to instances of deadnaming and misgendering by police and media outlets.

Anyone with information about Chyna Long’s killing is asked to call the Milwaukee police at (414) 935-7360. Tips can be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (414) 224-TIPS.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.