Debarione Seals, 26, a transgender woman, was shot and killed at around 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning in the streets of Sunnyside in Houston, Texas.
Witnesses say they heard 6 gunshots and when they came out to see what had happened, found Seals in a driveway of an unfinished home.
Seals was in the process of transitioning and was reportedly working as a prostitute in order to afford the surgery.
The community is mourning her death, which has become all too common an occurrence. She was very beloved in her community and had the support of her extended family in her transition. Reporter on the scene, John Donnelly noted (whilst misgendering), “Seals had a large loving family, a family that knew of his struggles and accepted him for who he was and who he was becoming but will now never be.”
Debariones’s aunt, Maria Cheeks, paid tribute to her relative, even though she kept misgendering her, as did the police.
“He was a loving person, a beautiful person, I mean yes he can pass for a woman because he’s just that beautiful, he could have been a model,” Maria said who was visibly distraught.
Cheeks then spoke directly to the perpetrator saying, “Maybe the police might not get you, but you will have to answer to one person – and that’s the higher power of God. You will have to answer to him.”
Police have suggested that Debarione was killed by someone who realised she was biologically male.
Detective Fil Waters stated: “The fact that we’ve got a young man in women’s clothing, the speculation is that he’s out here walking the street and that someone picks him up and then realises, he’s not what he’s representing himself to be and takes this ultimate kind of action.”
Deadliest Year On Record
This year has been the deadliest on record for transgender people in the US. Most victims have been transgender women of colour. President Donald Trump has faced serious backlash for his mistreatment of trans people. After one month in office, he revoked protections for transgender students and in August, attempted to ban transgender people serving in the military.
Here in Ireland, there is still a lot of work to be done, with 90% of transgender related hate crimes going unreported to Gardaí.
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