A transgender woman in Buffalo, N.Y. was fatally shot Tuesday, becoming the fourth known trans person to be killed in 2018, according to GLAAD.
The Buffalo News reported that Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot around 5:30 p.m. on a dead-end street and later died at the scene. Police have not released any other information to the media in relation to her death, including whether or not they will label her death a hate crime.
It’s important to note that the police initially misgendered Tonya in their report, but later updated to reflect her correct gender identity.
Friends and family knew Tonya as “Kita” and have expressed on social media how much she will be missed. According to Mic.com, one of her friends wrote on Facebook on Wednesday, “Not only was she beautiful she was strong … everything she put her mind to she did it with conviction.” While another wrote, “R.I.P Kita aka Tonya Harvey she was murdered this week … she was so sweet and loving.”
Sadly, murders like Tonya’s are not new or rare. While trans people only make up just .6% of the U.S. population, according to a 2016 estimate, they face disproportionately high rates of fatal violence, Mic noted. Last year alone, there were 25 trans murders reported, but it’s also believed that the actual number is much higher.
Most importantly, trans of women of color bear the brunt of this type of violence.
Over 90 percent of transgender people murdered in the United States in 2016 were people of color with 70 percent being Black, the HRC notes. Not to mention, being Black and trans in America can also mean facing alarmingly high levels of systematic discrimination, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, suicide, sexual assault, HIV infection and incarceration.
In the meantime, Tonya’s murderer is still out there.