Transgender Day of Remembrance 2017: Remembering those we have lost

November 20, 2017

On Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), we honor the transgender people we have lost and reflect on their lives and their loved ones' memories. Transgender people in the U.S., especially Black transgender women and other trans women of color, are impacted by fatal violence at a greater rate than all other groups. While we focus on this violence on TDOR, we must also actively work every day to end it.

Below are the names of those we have lost in 2017, as of November 20. We know this list is incomplete, in part because the media still has a long way to go in correctly naming and identifying transgender people when they are murdered. As the world’s leading LGBTQ media advocacy organization, GLAAD takes seriously our role in educating the media, correcting misgendering wherever we see it in the press, and striving to honor those we have lost the way they would want to be remembered.


We remember Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, a 28-year-old, Native transgender/Two Spirit woman who we lost to violence in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on January 1. Jamie worked in customer service, loved the library, and friends and acquaintances remembered her as proud and strong. One person said of Jamie, “She is the type of person that when she talks people stop to listen. The impact she leaves on people after meeting her once is something nobody forgets.”


We remember Mesha Caldwell, a 41-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Canton, Mississippi on January 4. Mesha was a beautician and a hairstylist and, according to a friend and activist who knew her, she “loved everyone and never met a stranger.” After Mesha’s death friends, family and loved ones left an outpouring of messages of love for her on social media.


We remember JoJo Striker, a 23-year-old, Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Toledo, Ohio on February 8. There was an outpouring of grief for JoJo on social media, following her death, and her family strongly believes that her murder was the result of hate and bias.


We remember Jaquarrius Holland, an 18-year-old, Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Monroe, Louisiana on February 19. Friends said that Jaquarrius loved make-up, hairstyling, and R&B, and they took to social media to mourn her, using her own preferred hashtag #PrettyBrown. One friend remembered Jaquarrius saying, "You were a beautiful soul. You could keep me laughing all day."


We remember Keke Collier, also known to friends as Tiara Richmond, a 24-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Chicago, Illinois on February 21. Friends and loved ones held a candlelight vigil in KeKe’s honor, and posted loving messages to her online. One long-time friend remembered KeKe joyously, saying, "She loved to dance all the time. She was always the life of the party."


Chyna Gibson

We remember Chyna Gibson, also known by her performing name, Chyna Doll Dupree, a 31-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 25. Chyna performed in shows around the country and was well-known, loved, and remembered for having remarkable talent. One close friend remembered Chyna, saying, "She's left a hole in our hearts, not only in New Orleans but outside here, too. I'll never forget her."


We remember Ciara McElveen, a 25-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 27. Following her death, a close friend who Ciara called an "auntie" to her said, "She was a blessing to me as much as I was a blessing to her."


We remember Alphonza Watson, 38-year-old, Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Baltimore, Maryland on March 22. Alphonza loved gardening and cooking and her mother lovingly remembered her as “the sunshine of our family.” Following her death, a vigil was held in Alphonza’s honor by local transgender organizations, organizers, and advocates.


We remember Kenne McFadden, a 27-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in San Antonio, Texas on April 9. Friends, family, and local organizations and activists held a memorial and candlelight vigil for Kenne near the place where her body was found. Kenne’s mother remembered her as a poetry and music lover and sang one of her daughter’s favorite songs at her vigil.


We remember Chay Reed, a 28-year-old, Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Miami, Florida on April 21. Friends remembered Chay as a funny, caring friend who loved to dance and “was a light, always trying to make everyone around her happy.”


We remember Brenda Bostick, a 59-year-old, Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in New York City on April 25. A widely attended vigil was held for Brenda by community members, advocates, and organizers from all over New York City on the corner where they lost their life to bring attention to the crisis of violence that transgender people of color face.


We remember Sherrell Faulkner, a 46-year-old, Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 16. Friends and family took to Facebook to leave messages of love for Sherrell and grief at her death. “My heart was not ready for this,” said one friend.


We remember Josie Berrios, also known by the names Kendra Adams and Kimbella Rosé, a 28-year-old transgender Latina who we lost to violence in Ithaca, New York on June 13. Josie was remembered online as a well-known, loved, and incredibly talented performer in her community. Said one person, "She was part of so many families here in Ithaca, that many are feeling stunned and lost following this news. Her presence is still felt, and will never be forgotten."


We remember Ava Le’Ray Barrin, a 17-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Athens, Georgia on June 25. Friends and family held a candlelight vigil to remember Ava. Tributes to Ava were also posted online, one of which called her “a brave young woman who feared nothing; nobody, and especially not being herself.”


We remember Ebony Morgan, a 28-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Lynchburg, Virginia on July 2. In response to her death, local LGBTQ activists and advocates held a community meeting to honor Ebony and discuss the violence that transgender women of color face.


We remember TeeTee Dangerfield, a 32-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Atlanta, Georgia on July 31. TeeTee worked as a restaurant server and union shop steward at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. She was a beloved union member of Local 23, which wrote a moving statement on her death. Her leadership was held up by co-workers and union members after her death, on saying: “People would go to her when they had concerns or trouble. She would be their voice. She was amazing."


We remember Gwynevere River Song, a 26-year-old white transgender femme person who we lost to violence in Waxahachie, Texas on August 12. Gwynevere was a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and identified as femandrogyne and bisexual. A memorial was held in her honor, where friends, family, and local advocates gathered. Gwynevere’s mother thanked attendees saying, "Thank you all for attending my beautiful daughter’s memorial. I miss her beautiful soul every day."


We remember Kiwi Herring, a 30-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in St. Louis, Missouri on August 22. Herring was married to her partner and a mother to three children, and loved ones and neighbors were devastated by her death. Herring’s neighbors held a candlelight vigil to honor Kiwi. There was also an outpouring of love for Kiwi online with one person saying she was, “a parent and a human beloved by the neighborhood children around her. Kiwi fed people with love and had a contagious smile.”


We remember Ally Lee Steinfeld a 17-year-old white transgender woman who we lost to violence in Texas County, Missouri on September 1. Friends and family spoke out in the press, saying that they felt that Ally’s death was hate-motivated. Her mother remembered her as “very loving, caring, would help anybody in need, always smiled, tried to crack jokes to keep people happy.”


We remember Kashmire Redd a 28-year-old Black transgender man who we lost to violence in Gates, New York on  September 4. A local LGBTQ community organization that Kashmire was connected to held a community conversation following his death.


We remember Derricka Banner a 26-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 12. There was an outpouring of support by concerned community members, activists, and advocates following Derricka’s death.


We remember Stephanie Montez, who also went by the name Elizabeth Stephanie Montez, a 47-year-old transgender Latina who we lost to violence in Robstown, Texas on October 21. A local organization held a rally in the name of justice for Stephanie and the epidemic of violence facing trans women. Friends of Stephanie also spoke out in the media about her, one friend saying "She just had a great outlook on life. She was very supportive of everyone."


We remember Candace Towns a 30-year-old Black transgender woman who we lost to violence in Macon, Georgia on October 29. Following her death, Candace’s friends and family remembered her in loving posts on social media. Others spoke to the press, with one friend remembering her generosity, saying “If I needed anything she would give it to me. She would give me the clothes off her back.”

For a complete list of trans people killed in other countries, visit The Transgender Day of Remembrance site. (Please note that the site contains details about the way each person was killed, and some people may find those details disturbing.)

Rest in peace and power, all those we have lost.