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Early Tuesday morning, five or six men beat, then shot in the back 22-year old Kiesha Jenkins, killing her, according to Philadelphia police reports. Jenkins becomes at least the 20th transgender woman murdered this year, and at least the 21st transgender or gender nonconforming person. Almost all of them have been women of color.
“One man pulled out a gun and she was shot twice in the back,” Homicide Capt. James Clark told Philadelphia Gay News. The attack took place around 2:30 in the morning, and Jenkins was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Police have yet to identify the suspects or the motive for Kiesha Jenkins’ murder.
“We will leave no stone unturned,” Officer Tanya Little, spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department Office of Public Affairs told The Advocate. “The victim’s gender is definitely something that investigators are looking into and we will consider her identity under the umbrella of all motives. We are canvasing the area where the homicide occurred for witnesses and investigators hope to examine available surveillance videos.”
“Jenkins’s death,” The Advocate notes, “which marks the 20th trans woman reported murdered in the U.S. this year, comes less than two months after advocates confirmed in August reports of three additional black trans women killed in the preceeding months.”
Vice News reports “Jenkins is the 21st transgender or gender nonconforming person to be killed this year alone, and the second transgender woman killed in Philadelphia, according to the LGBT advocacy group, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.”
Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims, whose district includes Philadelphia, and who announced yesterday he is running for Congress, posted a strong message on Facebook.
“HELP: Her name is Kiesha Jenkins! She was 22 years old, and murdered in cold blood on Tuesday morning while most of us were sleeping,” Sims wrote. “Having famous role models and magazine covers hasn’t made Trans* lives safer! WE have to do that! Already this year almost two dozen transgender and gender nonconforming people have been murdered because of hate and bigotry. This is the reality and needs to be said out loud until everyone understands.”
He ended the post, “#SayHerName”