Black Trans Woman Goddess Diamond Is The 14th Trans Person Murdered in the U.S. This Year

Feature image via Goddess Diamond’s Facebook

It is with a very heavy heart that I have to add more sad news onto an already devastating week. 20-year-old Black trans woman Goddess Diamond has been found murdered in New Orleans, making her the 14th known trans person killed in the United States this year. The New Orleans Advocate reported the brutal details of her death on June 9th, and though they noted that Goddess does present as a woman on her Facebook page, and though they were corrected about her identity by one of her co-workers the following day, they continue to misname and misgender Goddess throughout their original article and their updates to it. Black trans woman writer Venus Selenite was one of the first to report this as a murder of a trans woman, and has been fiercely advocating for people to pay attention to this horrible crime.

Diamond worked in customer service at Wal-Mart in the French Quarter. “When I asked her if she identified as a man or a woman, she told me that she would answer to both. But being that she was transitioning, I felt that it was the best to refer to her as a woman, and she agreed,” her co-worker, George Melichar, told The New Orleans Advocate. She “was very loved, and was very kind,” Melichar said. “And that’s what makes this more difficult. In addition to losing a friend, we lost an LGBT leader.”

goddess2

Goddess Diamond via her Facebook

“Beloved,” “kind,” “leader”: These are the words we hear time and time again from the friends and families of trans women who have have been murdered. Yet trans women continue to be dehumanized and have their personhood and womanhood devalued by nearly universally damaging representation in pop culture, scapegoating political legislation, and even misgendering in their own obituaries. As these violent actions against them continue, so will the justifications for their deaths.

If you’d like to help Diamond’s family pay for her funeral costs, you can donate to the GoFundMe they’ve set up.

Since this time last year, 22 known trans people have been killed in this country. That’s a rate of nearly one murder every other week. These are the names we know of the trans people who have been murdered in 2016:

Monica Loera (Austin, TX), 43 years old

Jasmine Sierra (Bakersfield, CA), 52 years old

Kayden Clarke (Mesa, AZ), 24 years old

Veronica Banks Cano (San Antonio, TX) 40

Maya Young (Philadelphia, PA), 25

Demarkis Stansberry (Baton Rouge, LA), 30

Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson (Burlington, IA), 16

Kourtney Yochum (Los Angeles, CA), 32

Shante Thompson (Houston, TX), 34

Keyonna Blakeney (Washington D.C.), 22

Reecey Walker (Wichita, Kansas), 32

Mercedes Successful (Haines City, FL), 32

Amos Beede (Burrlington, VT), 38

Goddess Diamond (New Orleans, LA), 20

I want to leave you with Mey Rude’s thoughts she posted when Mercedes Successful was found murdered just a few weeks ago:

It hurts every single time we hear about another trans woman of color being murdered. It hurts knowing that all of my trans women of color sisters have to fear for their lives just by being themselves. And it just keeps on happening again and again and again. We’re not even halfway through the year and we’re currently on pace to pass the number of trans people murdered all of last year in the US.

Goddess Diamond. Say her name.


Are you following us on Facebook?

Profile gravatar of Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Heather has written 599 articles for us.

34 Comments

    • Latin night at gay nightclub is a place I would go.
      Ms. Diamond is person I could have met.
      At the GSA I was a part it was made of black queer AMAB people, white and black bisexual AFAB people.
      Or passed in the hall but now will not meet her at all.

      I was waiting for the tears because I’ve been crying for years.
      Now they’re here, by this collection of words that most cruelly remind me of Dr. Seuss.
      Of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

  1. Let’s turn this heartbreak and rage into more and more action. More votes. More involvement. More letters to elected reps, no, more meeting them in person.

    If cishet people thought we were uppity before, they haven’t seen a goddamn thing yet. We have to fight and we have to win.

    • I can’t help but feel frustrated when I hear people say that they’re “praying” for LGBT victims… As much as our community can be compassionate, I think it’s more important now more than ever, maybe, that we’re visible & fighting back

      • You’re not alone. I’ve actually told someone, “Fuck your prayers. All you do is vote against my basic rights.”

        I’m sick of all the Republicans in my life (such as at work) feigning any level of compassion or friendship with me when all they do is support measures and politicians who want to rip away my basic humanity.

        If people care, let them prove it or shut the fuck up.

  2. A trans woman was shot just the next town over from me last week; fortunately she survived, but good God. To think that those are the little crumbs of good fortune that we have to hold onto.

    Sending love to all my trans siblings tonight. My heart is heavy, but open. <3

  3. She was so young. I am furious and sad that she like so many of her peers will have died before she could come into her prime and do whatever she wanted to do with her life, presumably something immensely more beautiful than what her murderers brought into the world.

  4. I don’t really read the “New Orleans” Advocate, but when local media in the tragic case of those women who died from those cosmetic injections administered by another transwoman that either were silicone or something not silicone and when talking about Big Freedia and Katey Red had no issues with using “she” pronouns for feminine AMAB people.

    So I don’t know what is up with the New Orleans Advocate.
    Really if Big Freedia can be on the morning news show where people talk live with their mouths and the anchors etc. can remember that “my preferred pronoun is she” use said pronoun for Freedia so can a publication with editors. Multiple eyeballs.

    But when one is writing something and has a quote:
    “When I asked her if she identified as a man or a woman, she told me that she would answer to both. But being that she was transitioning, I felt that it was the best to refer to her as a woman, and she agreed,” said Melichar.

    Someone down the line of eyeballs should notice the wrong pronoun is being used.
    Or is there no line of eyeballs just some guy?

    • I agree. I’m from New Orleans and I’m about to be all over that, I thought the Advocate was generally better than that.
      Also there is no walmart in the French Quarter. There is one in New Orleans east, where she was found and there is one within 10 min of the French Quarter on Tchoupitoulas St. Just a little correction.

  5. Amos Beede was a trans man and should be mentioned but including him in an article specifically about violence trans women face feels like misgendering to me. Thank you for your article and work. It’s so important to have these names and realities in one place.

  6. Well. None of you have mentioned why, where and by whom. In a city like Chicago where murder is diversified across sexual oruentation, we try to know the Ws so that we can target effective help.

  7. It doesn’t seem anyone’s doing anything! What can be done? This can’t continue to happen obviously this is happening from people who are influenced by religion and brainwashed to believe that people are supposed to be either one gender or the other. education needs to be stepped up, if you exist as a trans if you feel you are trans if you transition from one gender to another because you identify more with one gender over another that’s natural because it exists

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.