Nearly thirty trans folks were killed in 2016, creating immense concern in the LGBT community.
In what may be the first transgender death in the United States of 2017, a Mississippi woman was murdered on Wednesday, January 4.
Mesha Caldwell, 41, was a hairstylist and make-up artist reports NewNowNext; she was found shot to death in Madison County.
Mississippi Now says that the woman was found outside Canton, on a country road.
Police are investigating the murder, but have released no details regarding suspects.
Initially media reporting on Caldwell’s death mis-gendered her and used her former name, spurring criticism from close friends.
“She always, always dressed like a girl, and as she grew up, she became beautiful just like a lady. I don’t care what she put on, it looked good on her,” close friend Mary Young told Identities Mic Magazine.
She adds, “I really don’t know why somebody would want to kill her.”
The Human Rights Campaign released a statement about Caldwell’s death noting the increase of lethal violence against trans men and women in recent years.
“Last year, people of color were victims in 95-percent of the 21 anti-transgender murders HRC tracked. Like Caldwell, more than three in four victims were black, and 86 percent were women.
“Reports that Caldwell was shot to death also echo a trend of gun violence against transgender victims. Among transgender people murdered in the United States in 2016, more than half were killed with guns.
“HRC extends sincere condolences to Caldwell’s family and friends.”
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program's Emily Waters said, “We are deeply saddened by the death of Mesha Caldwell, and we send our thoughts and condolences to those who have been impacted by her death.
“As we continue to hear more reports of violence, we must remind ourselves that this violence is not normal and fight harder than ever to keep transgender people safe.”
In 2016 there were 26 reported deaths of transgender men and women in the United States.