Black trans activist shot ‘trying to break up a fight’ becomes 51st trans person killed in 2021
**Content warning: story contains detail which some readers may find upsetting**
Ke’Yahonna Stone, a 32-year-old Black transgender woman from Indianapolis, Indiana, has tragically become the 51st trans or gender non-conforming person to be killed in America this year.
Ke’Yahonna Stone had attended a nightclub on Christmas Day, during which time she tried to break up a fight in the venue’s parking lot, according to a report from Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
The incident took place early Sunday morning, around 3am, outside the Epic Ultra Lounge, just a few hours after Ke’Yahonna is said to have been celebrating Christmas at home. It is said that Stone was trying to intervene and defuse the situation when shots were fired, one of which hit her in the head.
“She was breaking up a fight, trying to defuse a fight that was going on. My sister didn’t have nothing to do with nothing that was going on out there,” Stone’s sister, Latroya Rucker, told Wish TV.
She succumbed to her injury after two days on life support and on Tuesday, December 28, 2021, tragically passed away.
Stone, who was known for providing safe spaces for trans people inside her own home, had been living in Chicago, working for Amazon, but had recently returned to Indiana to begin a new job working at the Trans Solutions Research & Resource Center, where she would help provide health and social services to trans and gender-nonconforming people.
Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said of her passing: “Losing any member of our community is tragic and it is compounding when they are actively advocating for the betterment of all transgender people”.
Continuing: “Stone was wholeheartedly invested in helping other trans folks like herself and was about to embark on a new professional path that would have furthered her activism. We need activists like Stone. I hope this tragedy inspires others to take the helm she left behind.”
“Ke’Yahonna was loved by the community,” said Trans Solutions founder, Marissa Miller, “And the community is hurting.”
“I’m not her immediate family, but that was my sister, that was my girl,” said one of her friends, Leslie Tidwell.
Indianapolis Police are said to be investigating the shooting, according to Fox59, and are asking anyone with information to come forward by contacting Detective Michael Write at (317) 327-3475 or Michael.Wright@Indy.Gov.
Rest in Power, Ke’Yahonna Stone.
Ke’Yahonna Stone’s death marks the 51st violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021. Although it should be noted that the figure is probably a higher number because, tragically, too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported.
In 2021, HRC officially recorded the largest number of fatal trans violence incidents in a year since they began tracking in 2013.
More than 10,000 hate crimes in the U.S. involve a firearm each year, which equates to more than 28 each day, according to a 2020 report from HRC, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, Giffords Law Center and Equality Florida titled “Remembering and Honoring Pulse: Anti-LGBTQ Bias and Guns Are Taking Lives of Countless LGBTQ People.”
The report also notes a marked increase in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes, especially against transgender people. According to the 2017-2019 Transgender Homicide Tracker, three-fourths of confirmed homicides against transgender people have involved a gun, and nearly eight in 10 homicides of Black trans women involve a gun.
Further, advocates saw a 43% increase in the formation of anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups in 2019.