Kiesha Jenkins, a 22-year-old trans woman of color, was killed in North Philadelphia early yesterday morning. Jenkins is at least the 20th trans woman killed in America this year (between police and families who misgender victims, it is difficult to know if the number reflects the total deaths). And she is the second in Philadelphia; Londyn Chanel, 21, died in May. The majority of them were women of color.
Police report that mere minutes after Jenkins was dropped off at an intersection far away from her home by an unidentified driver, she was surrounded by five to six men who beat her before one pulled out a gun and shot her twice in the back. She was pronounced dead at an area hospital. Investigators are still trying to determine the identity of the assailants and driver, as well as a motive for the crime.
While at least one officer told The Advocate that they’re looking into the possibility of anti-trans bias, Pennsylvania is not one of the 15 states whose hate crime laws protect gender identity and sexual orientation. Federal authorities would have to be involved to prosecute Jenkins’s murder as a hate crime.
The hashtag "#SayHerName" trended on social media after Jenkins’s murder:
Absolutely horrifying. Also horrifying? PA won’t recognize this as a hate crime. #SayHerName #KieshaJenkins http://t.co/Ipv0UBMzou
— Helen Gym (@HelenGym2015) October 7, 2015
Truly hope folk understand that #BlackLivesMatter means EACH AND EVERY BLACK LIFE! #KieshaJenkins #SayHerName https://t.co/dazDQysDgV
— No1ofConsequence (@MoJohn8510) October 7, 2015
#KeishaJenkins was assaulted by 6 men & then shot in the back. She was only 22. #SayHerName http://t.co/6MvFfrhcKc pic.twitter.com/F8DulzomV6
— AAPF (@AAPolicyForum) October 7, 2015
(H/t Philadelphia Inquirer, The Advocate, Fusion)