Twenty twenty-two is already off to a bad start for the transgender community.
Two Black trans women, Amariey Lei and Duval Princess, were killed in January, one on New Year’s Day.
The Human Rights Campaign keeps track of the trans lives lost every year and reported that 2021 was the deadliest year with 55 deaths.
Lei is the first known trans person to be killed in 2022. Friends of her described her as being a positive person and making sure those around her were happy and loved.
“She taught me how to be myself, to have confidence in myself when it comes to bullying and stuff. She was just the best person. It’s just so sad,” said Montrey Givner, according to TribLIVE.
Lei was a 19-year-old beloved coach for the Lady Diamonds, a hip-hop and majorette dance team in Pennsylvania.
“She was a blessing, to our team and to our lives,” said Jazmaine Wade, another coach for the team.
Lei was found shot to death in the streets a few hours into the new year. Homicide detectives are still investigating and no information has been released about possible suspects, TribLIVE reported.
Wade said Lei spent the past year owning her transition as a trans woman and LGBT groups rallied around her family in the days since her death.
“The fact that [this year’s] first murder of a trans person in the United States took place in our city should not be overlooked,” the Black- and trans-led nonprofit SisTers PGH said in a statement. “It is up to every one of us to fight like hell to make sure she is the last.”
London Parris, another Lady Diamonds coach, described Lei as “loving and caring.”
“She always called and checked in on us. We’d get random FaceTimes [and] she would always tell us in our group message we have that she loves us,” Parris said. “Who would want to take that away?”
Friends also said that she served as a mentor and surrogate older sibling for many, and played an integral role in the team’s most successful routines, according to TribLIVE.
Princess was killed two days later in Jacksonville, Florida. She was also shot and killed but in her car. She was 24 years old.
“I just want justice for my [daughter] because [she] didn’t deserve it,” her mother Shemeika Robinson told Action News Jax.
Princess was a well-known hairstylist in the LGBT community and was described as having an “outgoing personality.” Friends and family wrote tributes and shared videos of their time with her on Facebook.
SFGN followed up on cases in Florida since 2015 and found that in 2018, at least four murders of trans or gender non-conforming people took place in Jacksonville alone. Of the 23 cases in the Sunshine State, half of them are still open.
Say Their Name: 2021 Deadliest Year on Record for Trans Community