Mercedes Successful, Black Trans Woman, Becomes 11th Trans Person Murdered This Year In US

Halfway through May and again, we have to mourn another trans woman who’s been murdered and another trans woman who’s been misgendered in death. And again, it’s a Black trans woman who’s been murdered. This time it was 32-year-old Haines City, Florida native Mercedes Successful, who was found shot to death on Sunday in a parking lot. As usual, Cherno Biko and Monica Roberts were two of the first people to have details on this tragic case.

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Successful was born in Kingston, Jamaica and represented that country in the 2014 Gay Caribbean USA Pageant. The Gay Caribbean organization posted on Facebook “It is extremely sad that other humans can be so dreadful and take another human’s life this easily. RIP Mercedes Successful.” She was a frequent performer at clubs in the Haines City area and in the pageant scene, and was beloved by many, including people like Felix Ortiz, who said “Such a beautiful person inside and out. You were one of the funniest and one of the kindest people I ever met.” Successful had recently started transitioning and had been on hormones for a little over a month.

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As far too often happens, she was misgendered in death, with news reports using her birth name and incorrect pronouns, even when reporting that she was a transgender woman. Misgendering trans women like this continues and supports the violence that so many of us face. Especially in the case of Black trans women and other trans women of color, humanity is often denied to girls like us. When the media and news and society in general disrespect us and refuse to acknowledge our personhood and humanity, it doesn’t really come as a surprise that people think it’s okay to act out in violence against us. When the victim is Black, she has yet another reason for society to dehumanize her. The odds are always stacked against trans women of color, and when a trans woman is brutally murdered and then disrespected repeatedly in death, that becomes abundantly clear.

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. Mercedes Successful is the second trans woman murdered this month, after Reecey Walker was murdered on May 1st. The other trans women murdered this year include Keyonna Blakeney, Shante Thompson, Kourtney Yochum, Maya Young, Jasmine Sierra and Monica Loera. Trans men Demarkis Stansberry and Kayden Clarke were also murdered, as was genderfluid teenager Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson, who at just 16 is the youngest to be murdered this year.


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Mey is a bisxual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. Her areas of expertise include comic books, witches, trans issues and pop culture. She has an English Degree, a cat named Sawyer, a twitter that she uses a lot and a tumblr that she only uses occasionally.

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23 Comments

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      While the police investigation has identified no suspect, or possible motive, you can form a general idea or theory. If she wasn’t being robbed, wasn’t a part of a fight or disagreement, didn’t owe any scary people money (though that could take time to reveal), then you must assume she was shot in cold blood. So, she was either shot by someone who enjoys murdering people, she was an innocent causality of gun violence happening between other parties, or she was targeted. Considering she performed where she was shot you can consider her identity as a trasngender woman to be possible reason. She could have also been shot *only* for being black.

      If other reasons don’t surface, it’s highly likely she was targeted for being transgendered, but no, the police wouldn’t necessarily label it as a hate crime.

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    Heart wrenching. What is it about our trans sisters of color that they are the target the majority of the time. Incomprehensible in so many ways that I can’t stop crying. I’m exhausted from all this continued horror.

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    As much as I hate to say this will only get worse as long as Conservatives push this Restroom nonsense. Their hate for us is as strong as their ignorance.

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    This is all too sad. Ladies…Be CAREFUL ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE IN THE PROCESS OF TRANSITION. YOU ARE ALL SO BEAUTIFUL AND “MEN” CANNOT ACCEPT THAT THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO YOU WHEN THEY FIND OUT.

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    Fucking heartbreaking.

    I echo Katie S,
    “Dreaming of a day that articles like this don”t have to be written and read anymore, because it’s not happening.”

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    This is heartbreaking news;/

    Us people killing each other with out get to know the inside:/ what kind of world we live in?!

    To the cause of this killed & the disagreement of colors out there: You need to look deeper of the heart not the outside images.

    To all the transgenders been killed: May God bless you!

    To all my TG sisters, brothers, uncle,everything in between out there: My support will never die!

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    This is so sad it’s hard enough to live in America as it is without the crap that ppl allow to rott their brain….why can’t I be me without persecution it’s my right to live free and yet we can not.

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    Number of people murdered by firearm in the us so far this year: 4576
    11/4576=.0024 or .24%
    Estimated population suffering gender disphoria: ~0.5%
    This would imply that transgender people are having a safer lifestyle than your average person?

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