The City of West Hollywood on Nov. 20 will join communities around the world to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) with vigils for trans victims of violence, such as Viccky Gutierrez, who was stabbed to death in her Los Angeles home in January. The observance is part of the city’s Transgender Awareness Month, as well as the nationally recognized Trans Awareness Week.
Los Angeles County officials announced recently that a record number of transphobic crimes were reported last year, 33, of which 94 percent were violent. Nationwide, the FBI’s statistics, released on Nov. 13, report that in 2017, 7,175 hate crime incidents were reported, 1,130 of which were based on sexual orientation bias and 119 on gender identity bias, though the numbers may be higher as a result of mis-gendering and voluntary compliance with reporting. The Human Rights Campaign found 29 trans murders in 2017 and identified 22 trans individuals killed this year, many trans women of color:
• Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, found dead in her home on Jan. 5 in North Adams, Mass. She produced the Miss Trans New England and other pageants.
• Viccky Gutierrez, 33, a beloved immigrant from Honduras, was found stabbed inside her Los Angeles home on Jan. 10.
• Celine Walker, 36, was fatally shot in a hotel room on Feb. 4 in Jacksonville, Fla. Local police initially refused to identify her as transgender.
• Tonya Harvey, 35, was fatally shot on Feb. 6 in Buffalo, N.Y. A friend wrote on Facebook: “I knew her since I started transitioning, she was so sweet and loving.”
• Zakaria Fry, 28, went missing in mid-January in New Mexico. Her body was found on Feb. 19. A friend said: “You were my older sister. You took care of me and loved me like family. I’ll forever love you. I’m sorry.”
• Phylicia Mitchell, 45, was shot and killed outside her home on Feb. 23 in Cleveland. Her longtime partner, Shane Mitchell, described her as “funny and kind” and that “everyone loved her.”
• Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, was fatally shot at a local motel on March 26 in Baton Rouge, La. Few details are known about the crime.
• Sasha Wall, 29, was fatally shot on April 1 in Chesterfield County, S.C. Donovan Dunlap wrote: “I will miss you my beautiful sister. I cannot sleep, I hope they find who did this.”
• Karla Patricia Flores-Pavón, 26, was found choked to death in her apartment in Dallas, on May 9. A friend wrote: “It hurts a lot, you were a good-hearted person. Sister, fly high. We will remember you with love. Your beautiful smile will stay with us.”
• Nino Fortson, 36, was fatally shot in Atlanta on May 13. City police rushed to the scene, but Forston later died at the hospital.
• Gigi Pierce, 28, was fatally shot on May 21 in Portland, Ore. Police investigators say she was shot during an altercation.
• Antash’a English, 38, was fatally injured in a drive-by shooting in Jacksonville, Fla. on June 1. English described herself as an “independent” transgender woman who “thrives on being the best person” she can be.
• Diamond Stephens, 39, was found shot to death on June 18 in Meridian, Miss. In interviews family members said that Stephens had an “incredible personality.”
• Cathalina Christina James, 24, was fatally shot in Jacksonville, Fla., on June 24. Her mother described her as having a “big and bold” personality, saying she loved to dance and travel.
• Keisha Wells, 54, was shot dead in the parking lot of an apartment complex on June 24 in Cleveland. A friend said Wells was “the nicest person ever” but a “tough cookie.”
• Sasha Garden, 27, was found dead with signs of trauma in Orlando, Fla., on July 19. She is remembered as a “firecracker” who “didn’t hold anything back.”
• Vontashia Bell, 18, was fatally shot on Aug. 30 in Shreveport, La. The Louisiana Trans Advocates organization called on city’s leaders to stop violence against the trans community.
• Shantee Tucker, 30, was found fatally shot in the back in Philadelphia on Sept. 5. Friends remembered her “beautiful spirit and fun aura.”
• Londonn Moore, 20, died of multiple gunshot wounds in a remote area of North Port, Fla., on Sept. 8. Moore is remembered as someone who “made everyone laugh all the time.”
• Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, 31, was fatally stabbed by a man with whom she was arguing on Oct. 3 in Chicago. Friends said she will “always be missed.”
HRC thinks there may be two other trans deaths this year: On May 25, Roxsana Hernandez died while in ICE custody after fleeing violence in Honduras. TransLatin@ Coalition founder Bamby Salcedo held a rally in her name. On July 19, Jessie Sumlar, 30, was found stabbed to death in Jacksonville, Fla. Loved ones say Sumlar performed in drag and identified as queer.
West Hollywood Transgender Day of Remembrance will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 at The Jeremy Hotel, 8490 Sunset Blvd. Complimentary off-site parking at the West Hollywood Library (625 N San Vicente Blvd); on-site parking is $20.