LGBTQ

Black trans woman Dede Ricks murdered in Detroit. She was just 33

Dede Ricks was just 33 years old. (Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office)

Dede Ricks, a Black trans woman, has been murdered in Detroit, Michigan, making her at least the 28th trans or non-binary person violently killed in the US this year.

According to Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy, just after 3.30am on 27 August, police officers were called to the scene of a shooting on Detroit’s Manistique street.

Ricks, 33, was discovered unresponsive with gunshot wounds to her chest and back, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 31-year-old man named Deontae Antoine Close was arrested that same day, and charged with second-degree murder and felony firearm possession.

Close is being held on a $500,000 bond, and his first court hearing is scheduled for 13 September 2022.

Just a few weeks before Ricks’ death, another Black trans woman was murdered in Detroit Michigan – 28-year-old Hayden Davis.

President of LGBTQ+ rights advocacy group Fair Michigan Alanna Maguire said: “The fact that we have seen two homicides of transgender women in just three weeks shows the danger this community faces.

“Rather than being supported, we often hear people vilify the transgender community which fuels this kind of violence and hate.”

With its Justice Project, Fair Michigan works with prosecutors’ offices across Michigan to solve crimes against LGBTQ+ victims.

“We are proud to work with prosecutor Worthy’s office on these cases, and we hope to bring justice to the victims and their families,” Maguire added.

Worthy said that the murders of Ricks and Davis “do not appear to be related”, but added: “We have seen this happen before and hope that this does not become a pattern.

“While some protections for transgender citizens in Michigan are finally beginning to be recognised, their lives are still very much in danger.”

The epidemic of violence against trans people, especially against trans women of colour, continues to spiral across the US.

This month, one healthcare clinic in Virginia announced that, with anti-trans violence showing no sign of decreasing, it would be handing out self-defence kits including pepper spray and a blunt weapon to trans people.

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