After a month of misgendering in the media, 39-year-old Diamond Stephens has become the 16th known transgender person to be killed in 2018.
Stephens’ body was discovered after authorities responded to a call about a van that crashed into a house in Meridian, Mississippi, according to WTOK. Stephens was in the driver’s seat.
Coroner Clayton Cobler determined the cause of death was a gunshot to the back of Stephens’ head.
Police have not determined a motive in the shooting, and there are currently no suspects in custody.
"Number one, [she] was shot in the back of the head. Number two, it appears that there might have been either one or two other individuals in the vehicle at the time [she] was shot," Police Chief Benny Dubose said. “We don't have any names at this point. We do have several tips from citizens."
Stephens’ gender was incorrectly reported until writer Monica Roberts confirmed Stephens identified as a woman. Misgendering is a recurring issue which makes it difficult to know exactly how many transgender people have been killed. According to Roberts, Stephens is the sixteenth transgender person to be murdered in the United States this year and the tenth black transgender or gender non-conforming person to be killed. She was the third to be killed in June.
According to Mic, 27-year-old Sasha Garden of Orlando, Florida, preceded Stephens. Garden was the fourth transgender person to be killed in Florida in 2018.
“She was a very outgoing person, very outspoken,” Mulan Montrese Williams, Garden’s friend, told WESH. “It’s sad we can’t live our life just like anyone else without looking over our shoulder to make sure no one is going to hurt us because of who we are. ... This world can be very cruel, and it can be very cruel to us trans girls.”
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