Kelly Stough, a Black trans activist, was found dead Dec. 7 in the Palmer Park neighborhood of Detroit. A Baptist minister, Albert Weathers, has been charged in the shooting. Stough’s murder is being treated as an anti-trans hate crime.
Kelly Stough, who also used the name Keanna Mattel, was the 26th trans person known to have been murdered this year in the U.S. Nearly all of those killed were women of color.
Stough, who was 36 years old, had been an activist in her community. In 2015, after the killing of Amber Monroe, another Detroit trans woman of color, Stough told the Guardian: “The police are unaware with our struggle, so they have no sympathy for us.” (NBC News, Dec. 12)
Jessica Chantae Stough, Kelly’s mother, echoing the sentiment of many, told NBC:“I want people to know that because she was transgender doesn’t mean that she was not loved, that she was not cared for. She has a family who cared about her, who loved her and I want them to know that transgender ladies — expressly those of color — they’re just not throwaways; people care about them.”
Friends and family have organized fundraisers to help with funeral costs. A gofundme appeal raised nearly $5,000.
In 2017, at least 29 trans people were murdered in the U.S., where the recorded number of murdered trans people has been over 20 every year since 2013. About 85 percent of those killed have been Black and Brown. For trans women of color, the murder rate is 1 in 2,600, compared to 1 in 19,000 in the general population. (mic.com/unerased)
This appalling statistic does not take into account suicides, deaths from denial of medical care or deaths where the victim’s gender identity is not reported. Trans women of color also suffer a high rate of physical and sexual assault.
As Stough herself observed three years before she was murdered, the capitalist state is not going to help stop what has been called a form of femicide. People must organize to stop these racist, anti-trans lynchings.