A murder victim who was misgendered in initial news reports has been revealed to be a transgender woman, making her the 27th trans person murdered in 2016.
India Monroe, 29, was found shot to death December 21, along with Mark Gray, 37, in a home in Newport News, Va., Mic reports. Local news reports at first identified Monroe as male.
Friends of Monroe’s said this week that she was a trans woman and out to her family — but she was buried under her birth name, with her hair cut short and other facets of her appearance altered to make her look male, Mic reports.
“I know for a fact Monroe would not want to be buried that way,” Brittany Marquis told the site. “She’d want to have her nails done, hair done, looking amazing, because that’s what she liked.”
Newport News police have ruled Monroe’s death a homicide but are investigating it as a domestic incident, not a hate crime, according to Mic. Monroe, like many of 2016’s trans murder victims, was a woman of color.
Last year was already the deadliest year on record for transgender people, having surpassed 2015’s total of 21 homicides of trans Americans. This reflects only deaths reported by media; there are undoubtedly many murders not reported and victims misgendered by police and media, so the actual total would be much higher.
The Virginia Anti-Violence Project is seeking to combat anti-trans violence, director Stacie Vecchietti told Mic. “We’re working hard in the community to support folks while also continuing to work to prevent this violence from happening in the first place,” Vecchietti said. “Part of that work, in a larger context, is actively working against anti-trans legislation, such as the Physical Privacy Act that was introduced in the Virginia General Assembly. Legislation like this reinforces the hate and fear that breeds violence against queer and transgender people in Virginia.”