Two Black Trans Women, Dominique Fells and Riah Milton, Were Killed Within 24 Hours

Two Black trans women, Dominique Fells and Riah Milton, were killed this week, highlighting the disproportionate rates of violence against the community.

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  • Earlier this week, two Black transgender women were killed (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).

As Black Lives Matter (opens in new tab) protests continue around the country this week, the Black transgender community was again the target of violence, with two Black transgender women killed (opens in new tab) in separate attacks in a single 24-hour period.

On Monday night, Dominique Rem'mie Fells' remains were found (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) in Liberty Township, Ohio.

Compounding the devastation to the trans community (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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  (opens in new tab)magazine notes (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) 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.

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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 (opens in new tab).

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

Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

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.