The 20th Transgender Person Has Been Murdered This Year

October 7th 2015

Aron Macarow

Keisha Jenkins, 22, was murdered Tuesday in Philadelphia in what is the 20th homicide of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in the U.S. this year. Philadelphia police are currently looking for a group of men who they believe brutally beat and then shot the North Philadelphia resident around 2:30 a.m. No one is in custody at this time, and the motive behind Jenkins death remains uncertain. But potential hate crime charges are being considered as reported by BuzzFeed News.

According to investigators, five or six men attacked the 22-year-old trans woman immediately after she exited a car that dropped her off on Wingohocking Street early Tuesday morning. After falling to the ground, Jenkins was shot twice in the back. She was pronounced dead after reaching the local medical center just before 3 a.m. 

An epidemic of violence

Jenkins is the 20th murder in the trans and gender non-conforming community and the second such homicide in Philadelphia since May; of the trans individuals killed in 2015, a stunning 90 percent have been people of color.

RELATED: Almost Nobody is Talking About These 17 Trans Murders

ATTN: has written previously about the epidemic of violence facing the transgender community, especially Black, trans women. In February, we covered the community response to the gruesome murder of Michelle Yasmine Payne. (She was stabbed to death in her Van Nuys, California, home before she was set on fire.) And in August, we published a list of the then 17 women who were lost to violence this year. 

Are we doing enough? 

But these deaths don't seem to be galvanizing action—or in some cases, even much sympathy—outside of the transgender community. For individuals like Citrus College freshman Juniper Cordova-Goff, a community college not far from Payne's former home, the homicides are obviously alarming. As told to ATTN: when Payne was murdered: 

“At first it’s obviously emotional because it’s my sisters who are being killed. And then comes the reality that I’m a trans woman of color myself and it’s scary. It’s scary to know that me putting on my makeup or dress or whatever makes me feel comfortable is potentially going to have me killed as well.”

RELATED: Here's the Scariest Threat Facing the Trans Community

And yet, responses outside the community as well as the in media frequently point the finger back at the homicide victims, such as this comment on Philadelphia Gay News: 

Online comment showing common victim blaming response to transgender deaths.

RELATED: There Is a Disturbing Trend Hurting the Trans Community