Nine Trans People Have Been Killed in the U.S. This Year

The strangling death of 26-year-old Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón last week is the ninth known murder of a transgender person in the U.S. this year. The Human Rights Campaign has tracked violence against trans people and non-binary people since 2013. Last year, at least 28 transgender people were killed, a record since tracking began.

These are the nine transgender victims of fatal violence in 2018:

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, was known throughout her North Adams, Massachusetts community as an activist. She founded and organized the Miss Trans New England pageant. She was found stabbed and beaten to death in her home on January 5. Her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien, 47, was charged with the crime.

Viccky Gutierriez, 33, from Honduras, was a member of TransLatin@ Coalition’s Los Angeles organization. She was stabbed to death before her home was set on fire on January 10. Kevyn Ramirez, 29, faces the possibility of life in prison for the crime.

Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot to death in Buffalo, New York on February 6. Police initially identified Harvey as male before releasing an updated report. They are now investigating the murder as a possible hate crime.

Celine Walker, 36, was found dead from a gunshot wound in a Jacksonville, Florida hotel on February 4. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office misgendered Walker at first, claiming they do not identify victims as transgender. Authorities are still looking for a suspect.

Zakaria Fry, 28, and roommate Eugene Ray, 70, went missing from their New Mexico home in mid-January. Their bodies were discovered 40 miles outside of Albuquerque on February 19. Charles Spiess, 32, was arrested and charged with two counts of murder.

Phylicia Mitchell, 45, was shot to death outside her home in Cleveland, Ohio on February 23. On April 10, Cleveland.com reported that Gary Sanders, 36, was charged with aggravated murder in Mitchell’s death. The slaying is believed to be drug-related. "She was a good person,” her longtime partner Shane Mitchell told the Cleveland press. “Even though she had a drug problem, she's a good person. She got mixed up with the wrong people.”

Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, was fatally shot in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana hotel March 26. Police have no suspects at this time. Local TV station WBRZ-TV 2 misgendered Berryman when first reporting the crime.

Sasha Wall, 29, was found dead from multiple bullet wounds in her still-running car on Easter Sunday in the sandhills of South Carolina. No arrests have been made in the ongoing investigation, but local media  have reported a lead. Local station WSOC-TV misidentified Wall as male.

Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón, 26, was fatally strangled in her Dallas apartment on May 9. A man was seen leaving her apartment shortly before she was found. A source told local station CBS 11 the victim had recently connected with a man in a chat room.  An investigation is underway. Dallas police say there is no evidence of a hate crime.


Seven of these women were women of color. Violence disproportionately impacts trans people of color, who are uniquely vulnerable due to a struggle for basic living needs like employment, housing and healthcare in the crosshairs of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.

Hate Crime Charges Filed Against Miami Beach Pride Attackers

On the afternoon of April 8, two gay men were the target of a violent anti-LGBT attack that occurred in Miami Beach shortly after the city's Pride Parade.

The couple, Dmitry Logunov and Rene Chalarca, were severely beaten by four men as they walked home after celebrating LGBT Pride.

Surveillance cameras outside the Miami Beach bathroom, located near the beach along Ocean Drive and Sixth Street, recorded the assault.

The victims said they were targeted for their sexual orientation as their assailants yelled gay slurs during the attack.

In addition, Helmut Muller Estrada, a good samaritan who jumped in trying to stop the attack, was also seriously injured requiring a hospital visit.

At the time, Estrada told the press: “To step up for those guys, I thought it was the right thing to do. I try my best. On sex and religion, I hope they get along someday.”

Only three days after the beating, thanks to surveillance photos that went viral thanks to social media, the four men turned themselves in to Miami Beach Police via a lawyer. 

At the time, they were charged with felony aggravated battery.

Today, The Miami Herald is reporting Miami-Dade prosecutors have now filed the enhanced aggravated battery with prejudice hate crime charges.

If convicted each of the men - Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa, 21, Luis Alonso-Piovet, 20, Juan C. Lopez, 21, and Adonis Diaz, 21 - could face up to 30 years in prison.

Watch the report below from the local CBS affiliate.




15-20 years for targeting gay men on Grindr and assaulting them!

We’ve been following this story for over a year and it seems that the criminals behind these horrible hate crimes will be behind bars for a very long time. Earlier this year we reported that Nigel Garrett and Chancler Encalade pleaded guilty to posing as gay men on the hook up app Grindr in order to invade, assault, rob gay men around Frisco, Plano, and Aubrey, Texas last year.

But Garrett and Encalade were only two in a group of four men who were responsible for these hate crimes. Anthony Shelton, 20, and Cameron Ajiduah, 19, were also part of the crimes against gay men.

Earlier this week, Shelton and Ajiduah were finally sentenced, according to the official press release by the Department of Justice.

Shelton was sentenced to 20 years in prison while Ajiduah was sentenced to 15 years. Both men admitted that as a group they targeted gay men and arranged to meet with them.

The press release states:

Upon entering the victim’s home, the defendants restrained the victim with tape, physically assaulted him, and made derogatory statements about the victim’s sexual orientation.  The defendants brandished a firearm during the home invasion, and they stole the victim’s property, including his motor vehicle.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division said:

The Department of Justice will not tolerate any act of violence targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color, religion, disability, or national origin. The Department will continue to investigate and prosecute hate crimes cases.

h/t: official press release by the Department of Justice


A Washington D.C. Gay Hate Crime Victim Had His Broken Teeth Fixed For Free

Last month, we shared with you the tragic news that two gay men were attacked on a populated Washington, D.C. street known as U Street.

Now, we’re happy to share with you the story of one dentist’s effort to right a portion of the wrong done to one of those two men.

When we reported the story to you and shared a video of the attack, we also included the fact that the men sustained injuries such as a broken nose, broken bones, and a chipped tooth. Specifically, it was one of those men, Zach Link, who sustained the broken nose and teeth.

At first, Link's new appearance alarmed him. Thankfully, he was then contacted by Dr. Christopher Banks at Capital Cosmetic Dentistry, because the good man wanted to fix his teeth at no cost.

After meeting and being treated by Dr. Bank, Link made a post on Facebook to express how grateful he was to the man.

In the post, he said:

“All I did that night was cry about how my teeth had been broken. It has been a lot more difficult mentally to see and feel my damaged teeth than I wanted to admit. Dito was able to connect me with this outstanding man, Christopher Banks, who completely donated his time and talents to bring my smile back, even for continued follow ups if something happens to them down the road. So, I just want to say that I am forever grateful for him and for the care he gave me at Capital Cosmetic Dentistry.”

Then recently, according to ABC news’s Washington affiliate WJLA, Capital Cosmetic Dentistry released a statement about Dr. Banks and Mr. Link:

“While Dr Banks certainly did not render his services for the benefit of himself or CCD, we certainly appreciate the recognition.

When Dr Banks was contacted by Dito Sevilla regarding the hateful crime Zach Link suffered, his response was immediate: he wanted to help. Chris reached out to Zach and expressed that he “would love to help” and render assistance. As a dentist who prides himself on the art of his cosmetic dentistry AND as a member of the LGBTQ community, Dr Banks met with Zach and proceeded to restore his smile. Zach came in with remarkable and visible damage to several of his front teeth, the result of severe and aggressive punching and kicking to his face. Zach came into the office and after a few hours walked out of with a restored smile.

As a parting personal note, Dr Banks wants it to be known: “this community is beautiful in its resilience and desire to support each other. In a day and age wherein we shake our heads and proclaim hate and violence toward the LGBTQ is senseless and barbaric, we all know it still happens and all we can do is try to help each other pick up the pieces in the aftermath. Without knowing the depth, breadth and expense of Zach’s injuries, I reached out and offered full care because we are all members of a powerful loving LGBTQ community before anything else. It is through these acts of love in the face of hate that we will persist, thrive, and succeed in showing the world we want to be ‘one’.”

We're happy to hear this tragic event was made right, even if just a little.

An Australian Gay Man Barely Just Escapes With His Life After He And His Sister Were Attacked

A gay man from Australia is recovering in the hospital after he and his sister were viciously attacked by a random stranger off the street.

On Sunday April 15, 25-year-old Bradley Skinner and his sister Amanda were enjoying a night out. Together, they had enjoyed dinner and drinks at a bowling club in Mackay Region, Northern Queensland, Australia.

“I was two bites into my pizza around when this young man I had never seen before slowly walked past us glaring at me,’ Skinner told Daily Mail Australia.

“Then he called me a f****t as I looked up at him”

Skinner took the insult in stride as he’s used to such treatment from his job as a miner, but his sister was not so accepting.

“My sister doesn't take too kindly to it so she got up and said 'what the hell'.

"He ended up hitting her in the face... and it all went on from there and he got out this chain and started whacking me with it."

As reported by Daily Mercury, Skinner was hit by the bicycle chain several times including on his head, his arm, and on his leg.

"When he hit me on the head, that's when I blacked out," Skinner continued.

"I remember trying to vomit, and I think someone tried to put me on my side... I remember the ambos shining a light in my eyes, that's when I started coming to.

"I couldn't open my eyes but I could hear everything that was going on."

Meanwhile, his sister Amanda was hysterical. She says that the tried to pull the 20-something-year-old man away from her brother to no avail. At the time, she thought her brother was dead or quickly dying, as he was unconscious and blood was pouring out of his head.

After the man left, Skinner was rushed to Mackay Base Hospital to get treatment. Doctors were able to treat Skinner and figure out that he had a case of vertigo and not brain damage.

Again, Skinner is used to working in an extremely masculine environment due to his job working in the mines near Moranbah. He says he’s been based twice, so he’s often on guard.

“I love who I am but I have been intimidated, I'm embarrassed going into the dining hall at work...It's a very manly environment," he said.

"It's just sad that someone would try to wreck someone else's night, me being gay in this town I get it a lot, so I'm used to getting name called."

Bradley Skinner lives in Mackay to be close to family, but he’s been considering moving for some time now. This incident will only push further his thoughts of leaving town and switching careers to real estate in order to find a “safer environment.”

In the meantime, police are still investigating the incident.

Instinct Magazine has reached out ot the Skinners for comment, and will update you all should they respond.

Gay Couple Violently Attacked After Embracing At Miami Pride


Two gay men have been violently attacked while attending Miami Pride, according to CBS Miami. The two victims - Rene Chalarca and Dimitri Lugonov - shared a hug in Lumus Park at around 7:40 p.m. before three men approached them and began calling them gay slurs. Surveillance footage caught the altercation, which left the couple with " cuts and bruises on their faces."

An innocent bystander who attempted to come to the gay couple's defense was thrown to the ground, and had this to say about the horrifying experience:

All I remember is waking up, I’m on the ground and I saw the blood. I want them to be proud for who they are and to know there’s people out there that care about gay people. It doesn’t matter. I thought I was doing the right thing. I was trying, I didn’t do enough.

Chalarca believes that the attack constitutes as a hate crime, especially considering the perpetrators' uses of gay slurs:

For me, the way we were dressed and everything and we were together, for me it was like, yes, it was a hate crime.

Police are currently searching for the suspects - who were later joined by a fourth man - caught on the surveillance footage. Via Miami Herald:

Police are asking for help to identify the men involved in the attack. Three are described as Hispanic white males, each about 5 foot 8, and between the ages of 19 and 24. Anyone with information should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

According to the Miami Pride website, over 135,000 people were in attendance at the celebration of LGBT history and culture in 2017. Needless to say, this is the kind of tragic incident that shouldn't be happening in 2018.

Here is NBC6 Miami's coverage of the incident.

A Gay Man Has Been Shot In Mexico, Claims Authorities Refuse To Label It A 'Hate Crime'


A getaway to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico took a near-deadly turn for a Palm Springs, CA gay couple after they were attacked in what they're alleging to be a hate crime. Husbands Carl Blea and Marc Lange were walking through a plaza at around 2:30 am when they heard a gunshot - firing a bullet that would end up piercing Blea in a non-fatal injury. Here's how the horrifying encounter went down according to a Facebook post from Lange:

Last night my husband and I were walking home hand in hand from an evening out in Puerto Vallarta. As we cross the street walking into a well lite area, Cardenas Lazaro park, we pass a white car and a person who looked like he had done hard time in prison, wife beater and tattoos both face and body (circle tattoo on right side of face). As we walk [past] him he shouts something. I turn to look and then turn away, Carl Blea looks and see this person pull out a gun which is now pointed at us. Carl begins to run and pulls me away from the shooter. A bullet is shot and Carl goes down. Shot. We have no idea what is happening. A concrete building separates us from the shooter. I scream for help….. someone finally helps, police arrive, 45 min later the ambulance arrives. 



In addition to opening up about the details of their vacation gone wrong, Blea and Lange are letting the world know that this was indeed a hate crime - whether the Mexican authorities believe them or not. According to The Desert Sun, via Towleroad, Lange is concerned that the local police are covering up the incident in an attempt to avoid deterring tourists from visiting the popular destination for foreign gays. Lange continues on Facebook:

This person was there for no other reason than to kill innocent people. We happened to be his target. There is nothing in the local newspaper or news warning people of this incident. Please share with anyone who is there.

The Desert Sun states that a local news station is painting a different picture of the incident, claiming that the assailant was a robber and that there were "struggles" between the assailant and the husbands.



Crimes against the LGBT community are not new to Mexico, with Pink News reporting that between the years of 2014 and 2016, over 200 homosexuals were murdered. CNN paints a larger picture of LGBT issues in all of Latin America, stating:

[Latin America] has the highest rates of violence against the LGBT community, according to research done by Transgender Europe. 

But, interestingly, they add that the region:

...also has some of the most progressive laws for LGBT equality and protection.

All of this leads to the question: Is traveling to Mexico as a member of the LGBT community safe? 

H/T: Towleroad