Black Trans Women in Jacksonville, Florida are Being Murdered

Murder has taken the lives of up to five Black trans women and one Black gay man since the beginning of 2018. The tight-knit LGBTQ community is wondering when the killers will be caught, and why no one cares that they’re dying.

Athena Cadence. courtesy, San Francisco Chronicle

“ …There have been four killed in Jacksonville in five months. Something is going on. These cases need to be looked at by the FBI. And two murders in one day. Come on now!” — Paige Mahogany Parks, Jacksonville Transgender Awareness Project

Celine Walker, courtesy Gun Memoria
Antash’a English, courtesy Facebook
Cathalina Christina James. courtesy WLTX.com

“As soon as I opened the door, I get, ‘I hear a bunch of transvestites stay here.’ I had to let them know, I’m a transgender woman and I’m the only one that stays here.” — Montrese Williams, outreach coordinator for Miracle of Love

“She was traveling a lot and trying to find her way,” Montrese Williams, a friend of Garden’s said in an interview. It would be Williams who the police would ask to identify Garden. Despite Williams informing authorities that Sasha Garden was a transgender woman, her official report labeled her as 27-year old man from Jacksonville “wearing a wig and was dressed as a female.” According to Orlando Weekly, Garden’s friends contacted various stations asking them to issue corrections, but they all initially declined. It is believed that Jessie Sumlar, a 30 year old a gay hairdresser who did drag, was also murdered in Jacksonville around the same time.

The slain victims, from left: Antash’a English, Cathalina Christina James, Celine Walker, Jessie Sumlar, Sasha Gardens

Writer. Feminist. Advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS.