48 hours after the death of Chyna Gibson comes word of a second trans woman of color murdered in New Orleans. Ciara McElveen was 26 years old. She was a New Orleans native, a graduate of Dutchtown High School and had studied at Dillard University.
Sadly, she was the latest victim in the epidemic of violence against trans neighbors.
Officers responded to the stabbing scene near the intersection of North Claiborne Avenue and Columbus Street just before 9 a.m. this morning. They found the victim suffering from several knife wounds. She was taken to a local hospital where she later died died from her injuries, according to a preliminary police report.
Witnesses told police that they saw a man get out of a black car, possibly a Camaro in the 1700 block of Columbus Street. He got something out of the trunk, walked to the passenger side of the vehicle, stabbed the victim, then removed her from the car, police said. The suspect got back into the vehicle and drove away.
That’s a pretty horrifying description – he stabbed her, threw her on the street and drove away like she was an item to be discarded. I had to just sit with that sentence for awhile. And the description by witnesses is even more horrifying.
“She is the second trans woman in New Orleans to be killed in the last 24 hours, the fourth this month, the third nationally in the span of a week, and the 6th overall in 2017. And as you probably guessed, the initial reporting misgendered her.”
Ciara’s friends and local advocates worked to correct the initial misgendering by New Orleans media. Again, take a moment to consider having to invest your precious time after learning of the brutal death of your loved one by trying to get the media to correct an important fact. That’s not a step people need to worry about. But trans women do and they are fierce in their response. It is a heartbreaking necessity to deal with misgendering and dead naming.
We will continue to monitor this case.
Anyone with information should contact New Orleans Police Department at 504- 658-1111. You can also reach out via Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or 1-877-903-STOP.
Rest in power, Ciara. We will continue to seek justice for you and all of our trans siblings. May you have peace now.
The list of trans neighbors killed in 2017 thus far.
- Mesha Caldwell – Mississippi (January 4), 41 years old
- Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow – Sioux Falls (January 7), 28 years old
- JoJo Striker – Toledo, Ohio (February 8), 23 years old
- KeKe Collier – Chicago (February 21), 24 years old
- Chyna Gibson – New Orleans (February 25), 31 years old
- Ciara McElveen – New Orleans (February 27), 26 years old
And I must draw your attention also the officer related shooting death of a trans man in Western Pennsylvania
Sean Hake – Sharon, Pennsylvania (January 6), 23 years old