Tonya Harvey, a black transgender woman, was shot to death in Buffalo, N.Y. this week in what authorities could be investigating as a hate crime. Hardy, is at least the third trans person on record to be killed in the U.S. this year, and the first homicide victim in Buffalo.
The Erie County District Attorney’s office is “extremely concerned” over the influx of homicides against trans people, a spokesperson for the office said according to the Buffalo News.
Harvey, 35, was shot to death on Tuesday (Feb. 6) afternoon. Buffalo police have yet to release more details on the fatal shooting, and originally identified her as a male.
Harvey was remembered as being “sweet” and “lovely” by a friend Ashley Breathe who wrote on Facebook, “I knew her since I started transitioning, she was so sweet and loving, always told her she was the black Cameron Diaz. Honestly I feel like [I’m losing] all my trans elders to violence and drug abuse, we have to be more careful, do better and live better, this is so sad… sleep in peace angel.”
While the transgender community has been disproportionately targeted by anti-trans violence, according to GLAAD, an overwhelming majority of victims are “transgender women of color, who live at the dangerous intersections of transphobia, racism, sexism, and criminalization which often lead to high rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness.”
In 2016, it was estimated that at least 23 trans people died due to violence, breaking a record for that year. However, 2017 became “the deadliest” year for trans people over the last decade, per a report from the Human Rights Campaign.