- Earlier this week, two Black transgender women were killed in a single 24-hour period.
- Dominique Rem'mie Fells' remains were found in the Bartam's Garden area of Philadelphia on Monday night. The next day, in Liberty Township, Ohio, Riah Milton was shot several times during a robbery attempt.
- The women were both misgendered and, in some cases, deadnamed in early police and media reports. The incidents highlight the disproportionate rates of violence and murder among Black trans women.
As Black Lives Matter protests continue around the country this week, the Black transgender community was again the target of violence, with two Black transgender women killed in separate attacks in a single 24-hour period.
On Monday night, Dominique Rem'mie Fells' remains were found alongside the Schuylkill River in the Bartam's Garden area of Philadelphia. Then, on Tuesday, Riah Milton was shot several times during a robbery attempt in Liberty Township, Ohio.
Compounding the devastation to the trans community was the fact that both women have been repeatedly misgendered and deadnamed. Fells was misgendered in early police and media reports because it took authorities several days to identify her remains. In a Facebook post on Thursday, TransOhio reported that Milton has "consistently been misgendered and deadnamed by the media."
LGBTQ communities and allies across the country are joining in mourning of Fells and Milton, especially as transgender Americans continue to be the victims of disproportionate levels of violence. As Out magazine notes, most of the deaths in the transgender community are trans women of color, most of whom are killed by guns.
"We are in an absolute state of emergency for black transgender women," Chase Glenn, executive director of South Carolina LGBTQ group the Alliance For Full Acceptance, said in a statement to NBC last year.
Online, many people have taken to Twitter to demand justice and show their support for the transgender community in the wake of the killings.
In our community two more has been taken, we speak your names rest in peace and power!!🙏🙏🙏#DominqueFells#RiahMilton#TransLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/gskbRO00aJJune 12, 2020
1/4 This week alone 2 Black trans women, #DominqueFells and #RiahMilton, were murdered in the U.S. 2 weeks ago Black trans man ç was murdered by police.As the media focuses its energy on JK Rowling, these deaths have largely gone unreported. Actions in thread👇 pic.twitter.com/VSoUjxtrHjJune 12, 2020
As JK Rowling spouts her transphobia this week -- two Black transgender woman have been killed, Dominique “Rem'mie” Fells & Riah Milton. This is also the same week we honor the Pulse nightclub massacre. When transphobia is validated in the public sphere, it becomes deadly.June 12, 2020
Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells. Say her name. She was murdered in Philadelphia. We owe Black women so much more. We owe Black trans women so much more. When we take to the streets and the socials for Black folks without including Black trans people, we’re doing it wrong. pic.twitter.com/M3NsPSHhXNJune 12, 2020
There are multiple Black trans women whose lives have been taken recently. New names we are learning. We must say those names: Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells & Riah Milton; but be discerning in how you share the graphic nature of their deaths & your support of Black trans folk overallJune 12, 2020
tw: Black deathY’all were LOUD last week for George Floyd but I hear and see almost nothing about Dominique Fells and Riah Minton, two Black trans women that were murdered this week. Your anti-racism is performative if it doesn’t include trans folks. Petitions/gfm belowJune 13, 2020
For those looking for a way to give back to the Black trans community during this time, you can donate to the verified GoFundMe page set up to cover Fell’s funeral costs.
In a statement, Fells' parents said:
The outpouring of care and support has been unimaginable, but now we must ask that you please give us time to properly lay our daughter to rest. We must focus on mourning this loss as a family first. We must work on giving Dominique the homegoing that she deserves.
We understand the impact that losing Dominique has had on everyone. That is why we want you to know that a light has not been dimmed. Instead, a fire has been ignited and we want to make sure that fire stays lit.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure that no family has to experience what we are experiencing now. It is critical that all of us center in our words and in our actions the importance of understanding and appreciating all people, including Black transgender women. But first we must focus on the sacred responsibility we have to lay our daughter to rest.
Black Lives Matter
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Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
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