Another transgender woman of color, Kiesha Jenkins, 22, was killed in Philadelphia today.
Very little is known about what happened and why Kiesha Jenkins was attacked. Homicide Captain James Clark told Philadelphia Gay News that Jenkins was assaulted around 2:30am Tuesday morning by five or six men in a North Philadelphia neighborhood. One man pulled out a gun and she was shot twice in the back,” Clark reported. Jenkins was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
It is currently unknown if Jenkins was targeted specifically because she was transgender or if there was another motive for the slaying. Officer Tanya Little of the Philadelphia Police Department said that “The victim’s gender is definitely something that investigators are looking into and we will consider her identity under the umbrella of all motives.”
Even if her murder was unrelated to her transgender identity, the fact that these killings keep happening to transgender women, especially transgender women of color, is incredibly frightening. There are incredibly high rates of violence against transgender women, and many report living in fear that they’ll be targeted next.
One Facebook user, in response to the news of Jenkins’ murder, wrote: “This. This shit is why I don’t leave my house unless I have to. Being a TFOC [Transgender Female Of Color] in this world is the most dangerous thing I’ve done.”
There have been at least 20 transgender people murdered in 2015, whereas last year, 12 transgender women were murdered total. Advocates have been calling the high rates of assault and violence against transgender women an epidemic.
Users have taken to Facebook and Twitter to mourn the death of Kiesha Jenkins, using the hashtags #SayHerName and #KieshaJenkins. One Twitter user wrote: “another beautiful woman taken waaaay to [sic] early because of ignorance and hate. rest in power, sis.” While another on Facebook lamented that “her life was stole.”
Gwen is a writer who has an education degree, a social work background, an extensive knowledge of vegetables, and a devotion to queer revolutionary politics. She lives deep in the woods of Maine with two dogs, a magnificent partner, and an ever-growing collection of plants.