Police in Philadelphia confirmed the fatal Sunday (19 May) shooting of Michelle Simone, a 40-year-old transgender woman.
After local authorities received a notification in the early hours of the morning, they transported Simone from the city’s Franklinville neighborhood to Temple University Hospital. Doctors pronounced her dead when she arrived, reported Philadelphia Gay News.
Local authorities are still investigating and there have been no arrests so far. The motivation for the crime is also still unknown.
Deja Lynn Alvarez, an activist and Philadelphia City Council candidate, said Simone also went by the name Tamika.
She further described Simone as a ‘no-nonsense’ type of person. According to Simone’s Facebook page, she had been studying nursing at the Community College of Philadelphia.
A reality for trans women of color
In a Facebook post, Alvarez explained how she had been friends with Simone for 20 years.
‘Anytime I get those phone calls and text messages it’s extremely hard but even more so when you realize it’s someone you have known and been friends with for 20 years,’ Alvarez wrote.
‘Your memory will live and light will shine on through us.’
In a later statement, Alvarez highlighted the fact that this violence is a problem specifically targeting transgender women of color.
‘It’s very important that we stress that because we’re not seeing LGB people murdered every other day,’ she told PGN.
‘It’s time that we say this is happening to trans women, it’s happening to black trans women, it’s happening to trans women of color, it’s time that we shift the focus to that.’
Her death is the fifth known murder of a transgender person in the US this year. All of the deaths have been black women. Last year, advocates tracked at least 26 homicides of trans people.
Simone is survived by her son, Mikal Woods.