Crystal Edmonds is the Second Black Trans Woman Murdered This Week, At Least 21st This Year

Just five days ago I wrote about a Black trans woman named T.T. who was viciously murdered in Chicago. I was hoping it would be a while before I had to write another similar article. Then, this morning I saw a news story about a trans woman who was in critical condition after being shot. At least she’s still alive, I thought. Now, a few hours later, we’re learning that she’s not. 32-year-old Black trans woman Crystal Edmonds has been shot in the back of the head and murdered in Baltimore. She’s the 21st trans person that we know of who has been murdered in the United States this year. Last year, from January 9th (the date Papi Edwards was murdered) to October 15 (the date Zella Ziona was murdered) there were at least 23.


Police say right now they have no suspects and very few leads, and they are asking for tips from the community. Reports are saying that people in the neighborhood are complaining about sex workers in their area, which makes me even more worried that this case will not be given the attention it deserves. Right now police are offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to an arrest. If you have any information, you can call police at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7LOCKUP or you can text a tip to 443-902-4824.

What should I say? What haven’t I said every single time this happens? I don’t have any new words, I only have sorrow and anger and fear. I have sorrow for Edmonds and her family and friends, and for all the other victims and for their families and friends. I have anger at the people, mostly men, often men who are sleeping with, or at least flirting with, these women, who then turn and beat them, murder them and destroy them.  I’m afraid for my trans family, for the trans women of color in my life who don’t have the privileges I do, the ones who sleep with men and who face anti-black racism, the ones who live in poverty or engage in sex work. I’m sorry that I don’t know what else to do. I’m sorry to all of my trans sisters.

We need to say their names and we need to do something to stop this. Take a look at these names, nearly all of them are trans women. Nearly all of them are trans women of color. Most of them are Black trans women. Many have been murdered by men who were sleeping with them or flirting them or felt some kind of attraction to them and then bought into the toxic masculinity, transmisogyny, misogynoir and homophobia that says they should react violently when they feel those feelings.

Monica Loera, 43

Jasmine Sierra, 52

Kayden Clarke, 24

Veronica Banks Cano, 40

Maya Young, 25

Demarkis Stansberry, 30

Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson, 16

Kourtney Yochum, 32

Shante Thompson, 34

Keyonna Blakeney, 22

Reecey Walker, 32

Mercedes Successful, 32

Amos Beede, 38

Goddess Diamond, 20

Dee Dee Dodds, 22

Dee Whigham, 25

Skye Mockabee, 26

Erykah Tijerina, 36

Rae’Lynn Thomas, 28

T.T., 27

Crystal Edmonds, 32

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Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

Mey has written 572 articles for us.


  1. Thank you for the work you do to bring these names to our ears. I am holding all these women in the light.

  2. How many cis people who read this actually get involved in a local and state level and start telling their leaders and officials that more needs to be done? Even in the few states with trans protections, more needs to be done.

    Consider that instead of just posting sympathies again. I take every opportunity I can to speak out offline. We all need to do the same.

    • THIS!! I am really tired of the rounds of ‘rest in peace / power’. We need action on this NOW, not rhetoric … real assistance and solidarity in the real world.

    • I would like to ask you to consider that you can’t know the offline activism and financial contributions to civil and social change that commenters are making. It’s valuable and in fact crucial to have a space where we can come together to name and mourn victims of transmisogynist violence. None of these things are mutually exclusive. Your comment reads like a “but” when it would be better as an “and.”

      • No, I can’t, but I didn’t claim to. I’m just sick of people dying and I know a lot of trans people are sick of cis people making empty promises of solidarity.

        Yes, this space is valuable and yes I’m also asking for more. Is that worth complaining about? Mey has used these articles herself as a call to action in addition to mourning and remembering the names of our brothers and sisters.

        If there’s nothing else, I’ll repeat my “call to arms” and encourage anyone who has not been active or contributed to do so. I would hope you’d support that.

  3. And what on earth are we to do? If, as you suggest and I agree, these woman are murdered by violently conflicted men with whom they often have some kind of relationship with…what would you ask of your legislators? What work is being done in the black community to change the culture of masculinity and speak out against transphobia and homophobia? As a privileged white transwoman what voice do I have in this story? Who am I to tell them anything? Should we be Advocating for the decriminalization of sex work? speaking up against the war on black men that contributes to the cycle of violence? contributing to groups who empower all females in that community? There’s a fair amount of that going around but change is so slow and we are likely to be the last beneficiaries of it.

    Violence against women is epidemic, not just trans women, but to some our deaths are more justified or understandable than cis women.

    We need to have real actions to take. We need to stop choking on fear.

    • I gotta say that’s a little racist. Trans rights are at the forefront of Black Lives Matter and other advocacy groups. It’s a white myth that Black Americans are more trans or homophobic. So why single out a culture of masculinity specifically among Black Americans?

      This list is of murdered trans people. While the majority are women of color (and black) your voice is essential in speaking up and out whenever you safely can.

      Yes, of course we should be advocating for the decriminalization of sex work as a basic issue of women’s rights!

      Yes, of course we need to speak up about the racism plaguing all Black Americans.

      But again, that’s a racist remark when you suggest Black women are inherently not empowered. What prompts that sort of language?

      And trans women’s death are NEVER justified. That’s an incredibly transphobic remark.

    • Let’s remember it was BLACK QUEER WOMEN (Alicia Garza, Patrisse Colours (sp?), and Opal Tometti) who started Black Lives Matter. If that isn’t a form of empowerment, I don’t know what is.

    • I really hope you don’t think the death of your sisters to be justified and are just meaning to view of the general populace or something.

  4. There are about 320 million people in the US, of which about 1.4 million (0.4%) are identified as trans. There were about 13000 homicides last year. If the current rate of trans murder victims continues to the end of 2016, there may be around 28. That’s barely 0.2% of the general murder rate, ie half the average. The statistics simply do not support the notion that there is an epidemic of trans murders – in fact, there are fewer trans victims than what would be expected from a statistical average.

    • The difference is that trans people are targeted simply for being trans. If white, straight men were being targeted just for being white, male and straight, I guarantee that it would be seen as a problem.

    • Okay thunderbuns look at it this way

      There are 4 charizards and roughly 2 of them get killed. Not only do they get killed, they get blamed for it and get misidentified as a charmander or a squirtle.

      Compare to 15 squirtles and roughly 5 of them get killed, but oh look no one proclaims them to be anything but squirtles. Sure maybe some of them get blamed for get killed, involved in drugs or being a jackass that taunts the proverbial bull or something but not because they are squirtles.

      Does this make sense or do I have to use fancy math talk and bring up some DOJ charts?

      • OI! And the charizards’ killer never sees any jail time because charizards aren’t worth as much as what the killer is even tho they took a life. They played god and took a life because their fragile identity was threatened by the existence of the charizard.

  5. Hmmmmmmmmm I am not sure what to think about a lot of this – but for some reason I am not FULLY buying this part:

    “Many have been murdered by men who were sleeping with them or flirting them or felt some kind of attraction to them and then bought into the toxic masculinity, transmisogyny, misogynoir and homophobia that says they should react violently when they feel those feeling”.

    I will say that every person has the right to live their life and if someone does not agree with it for whatever reason, taking action to harm the person is not the correct one. I really do think that some people believe that men attempting to be women is a mental illness and feel it is their right to address the issue. I also believe that some people just do not like anyone other than heterosexuals and if you fall into any one of those categories, you are a target. We really have to stop with all the labels and phobia this and phobia that – a phobia means you are scared of something – those that are violent against those that are not like them are NOT scared of anything – they just don’t like what the person stands for at all. Transwomen and men are the extreme and in most cases they are not very convincing – which brings attention to themselves. As a gay male, even I am not out of danger and I understand that – but we have to understand that when we are overly extreme – that will bring unwanted attention.

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