“She used her life as an example of what it meant to be the fullest version of yourself, the best version of yourself.”

— Lali Mohamed, friend


What is clear from the turnout and outpouring of love at the memorial was that she was a family member to so many in communities that are all too often ostracized, and they showed their love in return.

— an article on Sumaya Dalmar’s memorial service, written by a former employer of Sumaya

She was 26 years old. She out and proud, both as a Somali person and a trans woman. Sumaya Dalmar came from two small and fraught communities, but was a light to all who knew her.

Sumaya was an aspiring model and known for her advocacy, both for Somali-Canadians and trans women. She was qualified as a speech therapist.

Sumaya was last seen being chased by a man near Toronto’s gay village. The investigation into her death is still open, but is no longer considered a homicide. She was found unconscious and declared dead at the scene February 22nd, 2015.

Sumaya’s death was the eighth reported death of a trans woman in 2015–at the time, that was one death per week for the first two months of the year, in North America alone. Time Magazine reported later this year that 2015 reached an historic high for reported trans murders. Most of these homicides were committed against trans women of colour. As other authors have written, it is remarkably difficult to track trans-related hate crimes because of the standards of metric for North American statistics agencies, the relative anonymity of many trans women, and difficulties in relationships between the police and LGBT, but especially trans, people. In some regards, Sumaya’s death represents many others who may never receive media coverage.

You can listen to friends’ memories of Suyama in this CBC spot.

For a more full list of those being commemorated for Transgender Day of Remembrance this year, click here. 

To view the other posts in my Transgender Week of Remembrance series, click below:
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