Kandy Hall. Zoraida Reyes. Yaz’min Shancez. Tiff Edwards. Mia Henderson. Alejandra Leos. These all names of transgender women of color murdered this year. Shortly after midnight on October 27, the name Tajshon Ashley Sherman was added to that list.
An officer from the Indianapolis Metro Police Department discovered the body of 25-year-old Sherman on the city’s east side after a routine traffic stop. A report made by the Marion County Coroner’s Office states she had been shot in the head. It is unclear if the murder occurred where her body was found.
Neighbors, friends and family held a vigil on Oct. 28 to share memories and plead for the responsible party to come forward. Sherman’s mother, Deshea, said, “(She) didn’t deserve to die like that. Nobody deserves to be shot and killed.”
While authorities do not yet have enough evidence to classify Sherman’s murder a hate crime, her death is not an anomaly. According to a report released by The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), more than two thirds of LGBT homicides in 2013 were trans women of color.
“Tajshon Sherman’s death makes it clear that there is an alarming epidemic of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-confirming women, specifically transgender women of color in the United States,” said Osman Ahmed, NCAVP’s research and education coordinator.
Jacqueline Patterson, executive director of the Indiana Transgender Wellness Alliance, echoed Ahmed’s sentiment, “Violence against members of the transgender community is not a myth, and transgender women of color are particularly vulnerable. … Indianapolis is clearly not immune to this terrifying phenomenon. The Indiana Transgender Wellness Alliance is saddened by this tragedy, opposes all acts of violence and extends our heartfelt condolences and support to Tajshon’s family.”
In the week since Sherman’s death, no leads have surfaced. Anyone with information regarding the crime is urged to call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana’s anonymous tip line 800-222-8477 or visit CrimeTips.org
Merissa Spradling is a polyamorous queer femme marooned in a tiny town in the middle of rural Indiana. When she’s not busy being the “best mom ever” to her young daughter, Merissa spends her time reading comics, playing video games and becoming emotionally invested in professional wrestling.