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So far, inat least 19 Black Trans women have been killed by fatal violence in the United States. The approximation speaks to the fundamental impossibility of tracking the lives and deaths of people who are ignored by the power structures that keep tabs. As a result, experts feel certain that these records are incomplete.

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Details are scant, relegating the deaths of Black Trans women to inaccurate statistics and sending a message that their lives don't count. Below, you'll find an interactive collection of stories by ZORA contributors illuminating the lives of Black Trans women. These stories celebrate our sisters—those with us, those no longer with us, and those doing the work. D ana Martin was a movie fanatic. She was interested in a wide range of genres but gravitated toward dramas and thrillers.

A fan of edge-of-your-seat suspense, Dana was intrigued by the gravity of what women wrestle with in movies, as well as the redemptive spirit of others. The two met in and hung out almost every day. They shared a nearly identical taste in movies. Dana and Cruz trekked to the local theater together sometimes. Though Dana loved her screen time, shopping was also a favorite pastime. Dana loved to dress sexy. A white Apple Bottom—brand dress was among her favorite outfits.

She made trends her own to stand out from the crowd. About once a month, Dana and Cruz would drive two and a half hours to Cumberland Mall, on the northwest side of Atlanta. Looking good was important to Dana. But so was feeling good and being active. She loved taking walks and exercising at the gym—anything to help her maintain her figure and nourish her well-being. Her fitness also came with feasts. Those were her favorites. But when she did extend her friendship, she did so with her whole heart, recalls her friend Stasha Nicole.

The club eventually closed in One thing Stasha admired most about Dana was her work ethic. She started out in customer service and eventually moved to maintenance. When Dana did extend her friendship, she did so with her whole heart. What Stasha appreciated most about Dana was her laid-back nature and the easy way she fell into conversations. Though Dana was content with her job at the casino, she hoped to move away from Alabama. She set her eyes on Texas as a possible destination.

She also wanted to become a model, according to Stasha. Dana entered a few model searches in Montgomery, but none of them panned out. She was shot in the head inlosing sight in one eye. According to her friends, it took a long time for her to recover physically and to work through the trauma. It took Dana a while before she tried to get back herself again. And then the unthinkable happened. Dana was shot again, fatally this time, on January 6, one month shy of her 32nd birthday.

Her body was discovered in her car on the side of the road in Montgomery. The Montgomery Police Department is investigating her death as a homicide. Further details are unknown. Even when Cruz worked late hours, Dana would stay until it was time to close up. For Cruz, Dana represented the epitome of a true friend.

On Sundays, they had a particular routine. Jazzy, as she was affectionately known, would play gospel music while both of them talked, cleaned, and cooked in their respective homes. She was very spiritual. They said she was born with a veil over her eyes.

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When it comes to church, there was no scams, no schemes—only God. The phone was also used to indicate what mood Jazzaline was in. That would be the intro, and then a long, drawn-out message. Adrianne was attending to birthday party responsibilities for her son, who was turning two years old. That Saturday, year-old Jazzaline kept calling Adrianne, who was too busy to talk. They spoke for a few minutes, and Adrianne promised to call her back. I love you. She was worried and scared. For weeks, Adrianne tried to get back in touch with her friend, but Jazzaline never returned her calls.

Jazzaline was 34 when she died. A nother old friend, Kursandra Perkins, remembers the moment they became friends in high school. They met on a chat line long before Jazzaline transitioned. Jazzaline, who was about the same age, said she wanted to fight Kursandra. They decided to meet up at the local skating rink, but when they were face to face, Kursandra got a big surprise. Jazzaline had no interest in fighting. Instead, she told Kursandra that she just wanted to meet her and be friends. Boys teased Jazzaline for being feminine. Kursandra protected her. When Jazzaline visited Kursandra in her neighborhood, she also looked out for Jazzaline.

You know, dudes trying to fight [her]. When Jazzaline came out as transgender, she never grew angry if someone called her by her birth name or by male pronouns, friends say. She loved fashion. She went to fashion school after high school, and she loved her Gucci bags, her Louis Vuitton bags. She kept a nice house. She loved to have fun and check people. And she was filled with funny sayings.

Kursandra says Jazzaline had gotten all her equipment but never had the chance to start up her home business. The love of her life was her poodle, Bvlgari, whom she got in Chicago while in fashion school in It was the latest trend in fashion school. The dog comforted her through the good and bad times. InJazzaline was a victim of violence, Adrianne says. An acquaintance she met online robbed her of her minivan, iPhone, and Louis Vuitton bag while also shooting her in the leg. The man, who had been using a fake name and identity, was never arrested, but Jazzaline healed by leaning on Bvlgari.

He is so protective to be a poodle… Anybody who knows him knows he loves clothes and all just like me and he is a lil mean, but a sweet heart just like me. T hat day in March when Kursandra heard that her friend was dead, she waited outside the house for hours with other friends and family members as police searched the home.

The funeral program says Jazzaline died on March 25, but friends believe Jazzy had been dead in her home for weeks. Her death has been a mystery, though police were initially looking at it as a homicide. Repeated calls to the Memphis police department were not returned. Friends believe foul play was involved, but Kayla Gore of the Transgender Law Center says the police believe Jazzaline may have died from natural causes.

Friends still are not sure what really happened to Jazzaline. At that tender age, Ashanti, brave and resolute, found herself resisting pressure to repress her gender expression. She left home in order to become the woman she wanted to be. The journey was difficult. Others in her family drifted away from her for embracing her identity as a young Transgender woman. But what Ashanti lost with her birth family at the age of 16, she found with her supportive chosen family by the time she turned 20, and later, as she approached 30, with a true love that sustained her.

That smile. It never changed. It was always the same. T hat smile, back when she was 16, may have helped Ashanti find her friend Nialah Dash, who became the yin to her yang. As a teen living on her own, Ashanti eventually took to working on Eastern Avenue, a street on the border between northeast Washington, D. There, she found refuge among other disenfranchised Trans women as they worked the streets. Ashanti and Nialah became inseparable, according to the Post. They even traveled together, and struggled together, to find affordable housing in a city known for its high rents.

They grew up and grew older. However, despite this friendship, and many others, Ashanti resolutely decided to take care of herself on her own terms. Ashanti worked at fast-food restaurants and other gigs but still sometimes returned to the streets to make ends meet. C, tells ZORA. I wish she would have told me.

She could have had a job at Casa Ruby. Even so, Ashanti tried to make it work by sticking with Nialah. We would sit together in the car and cry. The struggle of street life, paired with societal abandonment, finally began taking a toll on Ashanti. She took every opportunity she could to lift up other girls. Donshia also recalls that occasionally, Ashanti reached out to her grandmother when she needed help. But getting help meant temporarily de-transitioning. Ashanti would have to wear a hat to cover her long hair and gloves to conceal her long, gel-polished nails — often embellished with glitter.

Outside of those fraught moments, the pair had fun. And, when they had a bit of money to spend, they loved going to the beauty supply store to shop for hair.

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Insparks flew when a mutual friend introduced Ashanti to Phillip Williams. They fell in love. That love is what brought them to make a home together, even if it was sometimes hard to pay the bills. And those bills — and issues attaining a safe job with a livable income in the United States — are some of the biggest hurdles that Black Trans people have to deal with today. Black Trans women tend to experience severe poverty disproportionate to other race and gender identities within the LGBTQ community at large.

This is largely in part due to their experiences with transmisogynoirwhich exists at the intersections of racism, sexism, and transphobia. B ut more than anything, Ashanti desired safety, stability, and an opportunity to realize aspirations for her life. One of her aspirations was to be married. Phillip asked Ashanti for her hand in marriage a month before she was tragically murdered. Phillip said Ashanti only returned to Eastern Avenue to pull clients on the weekends to supplement their combined income. Such work, everyone knew, was fraught with peril. But Ashanti needed to make ends meet.

Still, she put personal relationships before the hustle and just the day before, Phillip and Ashanti had gone out to dinner and a movie before he went to work.

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Dana Martin Enjoyed Standing Out in a Crowd