Kee Sam: Black Trans Woman is The 27th Known Transgender Person to Be Violently Killed in the U.S. This Year

Sam, who was killed in August, was initially misgendered and deadnamed in media reports.

Nicole Rojas
Oct 1, 2020 - 11:00

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A 24-year-old Black trans woman from Louisiana has been named the 27th known transgender person to be violently killed in the U.S. this year. 

Kee Sam, 24, was fatally shot in Lafayette, Louisiana, in August. She was initially misgendered and deadnamed in early media reports. According to Out magazine, police found Sam in critical condition after she was shot at a hotel on NE Evangeline Thruway on August 12. She was administered first aid and transported to a local hospital. 

Sam died from her injuries at the hospital on August 13. 

“Another Black transgender woman has been killed in this country,” Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative Tori Cooper said in a statement. “We know that Black trans women are disproportionately affected by this violence, and yet far too many still remain silent about the violence we face.” 

Cooper continued: “We must all speak up in support of trans and gender non-conforming people and affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter. As we mourn Kee, we will continue to advocate for reforms that will protect trans lives. We must all support and protect our trans friends and family. We must also ensure that hate crime laws and judicial systems hold those who hurt us accountable.” 

The HRC said that the investigation into Sam’s murder is ongoing. A 16-year-old has been arrested in connection to the shooting. 

Ongoing Violence Against Trans Women

Sam was the third trans woman to be violently killed in Louisiana in the span of two months, Out reported. Shakie Peters, 32, was found dead in Amite, Louisiana, in July. Authorities are investigating Peters’ death as a homicide but have not released many details about her death. 

Queasha D Hardy, 24, was fatally shot in Baton Rouge on July 27. According to Out, Hardy was discovered on the street shortly after noon and died on the scene. Hardy was a “beloved and respected member of the community” and worked as a hairstylist, HRC reported. Like Sam, Hardy was misgendered and dead named in the media after her death. 

According to data compiled by the HRC, another two Black transgender women have been killed since Sam’s murder. Aerrion Burnett, 37, was killed in Independence, Missouri, on September 19. 

Mia Green, 29, was fatally shot in Philadelphia on September 28. Green was found with a shot to her neck while riding as a passenger in the car of 28-year-old Abdullah Ibn El-Amin Jaamia, according to NBC News. Jaamia was later charged with murder and related offenses. 

“We know that the loss of yet another trans community member of color is especially painful, no matter the circumstances,” Philidelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs said in a statement. “This latest act of violence against a member of our community is a somber reminder of the epidemic of violence against trans individuals.” 

Green is believed to be at least the 29th violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person this year in the U.S. The HRC said it labels the number of deaths as “at least” because “too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported.” The number of transgender or gender non-conforming people who have been killed so far in 2020 has surpassed the number tracked in all of 2019. 

Although Sam’s murder is not the most recent case of violent deaths of trans or gender non-conforming people, her case has received renewed interest in the media. Friends and family have left messages of condolences on Sam’s Instagram page.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

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