Inset: Kiesha Jenkins in a profile picture from Facebook. Broader image: The street where Kiesha was beaten and shot to death October 6th, 2015.

She was one of the people who wanted to change this world


She was twenty-two, an artist, and “meticulous about fashion.”  Her cousins had memories of her teaching them how to apply makeup, how to glue on false eyelashes. Her grandmother remembers Kiesha checking to make sure her grandmother’s fridge was always full, always ready to help around the house and even carry her grandmother in the weakest moments.

The area she was found in was a bad part of town. Logan, the suburb of North Philadelphia, had been a historically all-American place, known for a local pie factory and a baseball card and gum production line. In recent years, Logan became an area of poverty, as a large portion of the suburb literally sunk into the ground from weak foundations. Nearly a thousand homes were razed and the area was condemned.

Picture, then, the scene: Kiesha Jenkins, 22, steps out of a truck at nearly 2:30 in the morning. It seems a group of men must have been waiting for her; she was attacked by 5-6 men and viciously beaten before being shot twice in the back of the head. The only suspect to have been apprehended claims Jenkins was a known prostitute attacked for money, killed in a robbery gone wrong.

Police have been hesitant to label the incident a hate crime, but I have to remark that five or six men attacking a single woman–a young woman, and no body-builder–speaks to much more than an attempt to steal.

Kiesha was at least the 21st trans woman killed in North America, and the second trans woman to die in the past year in Philadelphia.

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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