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D.C. police report ‘suspicious’ death of trans woman

Medical examiner set to determine if death is homicide



D.C. police suspect a transgender woman who was found unconscious on the street at 11th and Fairmont streets, N.W., about 4 a.m. Saturday and who died a short time later at Howard University Hospital was the victim of a homicide.

But according to police sources, an official classification of the case as a murder won’t be made until the city’s Medical Examiner’s office completes an autopsy on the as yet unidentified woman.

Members of the police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, who were called to the scene where the woman was found, immediately contacted transgender activists Earline Budd and Ruby Corado, who are on a police LGBT community alert network, to provide assistance in the case.

Budd said the victim was also Latino and Corado, who coordinates a transgender Latino response group related to anti-LGBT violence, was expected to help police identify the victim.

About an hour after the fatally injured transgender woman was found at 11th and Fairmont streets, the GLLU was called to help in a separate case in which three transgender women were threatened by a suspect with a gun on the 4000 block of Minnesota Ave., S.E., according to a police source. The source said police arrested the suspect on a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon – bias related.

None of the victims were injured, the police source said.

Budd said the GLLU also contacted her about the assault incident told her the incident started on a Metro bus, where the victims were reportedly confronted by the suspect.

The Blade will provide updates on these incidents as information becomes available.


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  1. Naybor

    September 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I live across the street from where this happened. I didn’t hear a thing and I feel badly that I could not have done something to stop this. I just wanted to let whoever did this know that there are children that live in the house where you left this person to die. Today they are riding their bikes and walking by the crime scene tape. Everyone has the right to live as they feel they should so long as they do not hurt other people and I hope the killers are apprehended and brought to full justice soon.

  2. laurelboy2

    September 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Oh Lord, here we go again. Another transgender woman found dead in the street at …get this… 4:00 am. Why wasn’t s/he at home in bed like all the rest of us? I know, some of you will assert s/he may have been running to the 7-11 for some morning cereal, returning home from a late night work shift, or among other possibilities, out for a very early morning run/walk. More like s/he was, as the recent others assaulted/murdered, plying the streets for some last minute action before the roosters start crowing and/or buying/dealing drugs. My money’s on the latter. But, let’s get that GLLU involved to conduct some real thorough community policing to try and build bridges between underserved groups and the cops. so these types of terrible/reprehensible scenarios don’t occur. Why doesn’t the DC “gender identity” community, en masse, get some serious psychological help to GET THEM OFF THE STREETS. Sweeties, believe me, you CAN earn some decent bucks instead of spreading your cheeks, both top and bottom.

    • Kate LBT

      September 11, 2011 at 9:48 am

      Matthew Shepard was found unconscious and bleeding at 5 AM. Was he a prostitute?

    • TransMenace

      September 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      Wow, Laurelboy, you kind of sound prejudiced, and un-educated yourself…Whats with this He/she bullshite? she was a woman, she should be respected as such, and no huh uh…we are not all prostitutes and drug addicts… what a stereotypical view you have of us. I suggest you are the one in need of counseling!

  3. LifeOnFairmont

    September 10, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Second body dropped off on block of 11th and Fairmont. First one, a teen from the burbs who was dumped in trash can. And, this incident….

  4. Jeri Hughes

    September 11, 2011 at 7:14 am

    laureboy, a woman is dead. the facts surrounding this death are not yet known, including the time of death. another comment was made that this block served as a dumping site for yet another murder, but you make a lot of unfounded presumptions. you scorn this dead woman and an entire population. i will tell you this. your life must be truly painful. you must be truly alone. your repulsive and venomous comments, along with your complete lack of empathy, lead me to believe that you are the individual in need of psychological intervention. please consider getting some help.

    • Kate LBT

      September 11, 2011 at 9:53 am

      It’s pretty clear that laurelboy2 is a massive transphobe who thinks that all trans women are prostitutes.

    • azumi-san

      September 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      Laurelboy2 consistently is one of the 1st ppl to respond to posts regarding trans murders/attacks. The vitriol constantly spewed by him is disgusting & shows his ignorance to humanity. Obviously he has been spared the indignities of feeling subhuman by his own species, never been subjected to poverty on a scale unproportianant to most ppl around him while at the same time left feeling hopeles. He has neither shown an aptitude for looking at facts such as the victim was wearing 2 bracelets indicating she had been at 2 clubs earlier in the night nor has he appeared to educate himself on the strides the DC community is extending to reach out to the trans community by was of our mayor fumding a jobs pgrm specifically tailored to our disenfranchised & downtrodden sisters (& brothers). No, he must ALWAYS just assume they deserved whatever came to them resulting from an assumed action, making them not a victim but another statistic. Laurelboy is clearly a hatefilled bigot, that yes ought to look into getting help before such hatred manifests itself into him taking his own actions against those he wont take the time to understand on a humanistic level.

  5. brian

    September 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

    On Sunday morning, we don’t have the facts of this case. But it still seems a whole lot like ‘open season” has been declared for anti-LGBT hate speech, harassment, threats, assaults and homicides!

    Every time perpetrator(s) of a hate crime in DC– whether small or large– don’t get seriously prosecuted, then MPD/ USAO-DC sends out a terrible message to would-be hate crimes perpetrators. That message, however unintended, likely appears clear, especially to twisted, hateful minds– CRIMES against LGBT residents and visitors really don’t matter much in DC.

    The unapologetic anti-LGBT hate speech, broadcast over the radio– calling our elected openly gay members of the Council, “faggots”– is just another example, of that growing anti-LGBT hate conduct trend.

  6. Fausto Fernandez

    September 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

    @laurelboy: you seem to imply that if that poor girl was a prostitute, then the murder was justified. You seem to imply that people who do not follow your particular slant of moral should be gotten rid of.

  7. TammieH

    September 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I blame the religious leaders and clergy who preach against the LGBT community in such a hateful way and anyone else who spreads hate…they breed hate and yet wash their hands claiming that they do not advocate violence. Never the less, blood is on their hands…But..I do not hate them…in return I offer Love, Please, if you truly believe in a God you know that preaching hate is wrong.

  8. laurelboy2

    September 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    @fausto fernandez: No, murder is never justifiable. What a horrible notion. But, with one after another after another incident involving trans women at weird hours of the morning in precarious situations within the last several weeks or so, obviously something is wrong with some, if not most, of the trans women. What are they doing? What are they missing? What’s the basis for their decision-making? What do they need? It sounds to me, on an objective level, that they need to start with counseling so they don’t enter into the abysmal/precarious situations they’re finding themselves, up to and including death. You can call me a bigot, prejudiced, uneducated, whatever you and the others want, (none of which is warranted based on my comments) but the facts speak for themselves. There is something afoul in the trans community. Perhaps you and the others are too blind, embarrassed, and/or simply unwilling, to recognize the obvious. ‘Nuff said.

  9. Suvi-Tuuli Allan

    September 11, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Y’all speak of anti-LGBT hate as if it means something. LGBT is not a thing. There is no such community. There are just the cis gays and lesbians who exploit trans women for their political gains (Dan Savage, Barney Frank, et al). Those who are the most targeted for rape, torture, and murder, in this so-called ‘community’, are trans women of colour. Get that through your heads!

  10. Suvi-Tuuli Allan

    September 11, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    @laurelboy2: I have no idea how your comments got through moderation, but that’s quite a lot of transmisogynistic bull right there, and I’ve heard a lot of it. Trans women of colour are discriminated against on every level in every society that it ain’t funny. If you can’t get a ‘respectable’ job, you end having to sell your body. (Why is sexwork somehow bad anyways?) Why can’t trans women of colour find jobs? Because of people like you. You also say that there’s something psychologically wrong with trans women. Well, if some of us have psychological problems, so f’ing what? That is none of your problem. Most of our problems are because of people like you. Piss off, dude!

    Why can’t trans women walk on the streets at night without getting attacked? We have the same bloody right to safety and privacy as any cis male.

  11. TransMenace

    September 12, 2011 at 1:21 am

    @Laurelboy..Face the facts yourself…Trans women are mostly forced into a lifestyle of prostitution out of necessity, this because there is very little available to us, and this because of prevailing attitudes towards us by people with little understanding. No Jobs..No housing, Abuse at every turn, and here you are more or less stating that we do this to ourselves! No sir. This is because of a failing of society to recognize our humanity and equality, and statements such as yours only contribute more to the problem! Nuff said!

    • laurelboy2

      September 12, 2011 at 10:18 am

      Then your point begs the question of why do this to yourselves if you realize you’re more than likely predisposed to living a life of desperation and trauma? Why not seek counseling to help yourselves with the gender with which you were born? If I thought that doing X would more than likely cause Y to happen, I’d do all I could to avoid doing X! To assert it’s the victim’s fault might be a bit harsh, but, really, who chose to gender re-identify?? Look in the mirror for the answer. ‘Nuff said.

      • Kate LBT

        September 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

        You need a severe beating with a clue-by-four.

  12. Triplnikl

    September 12, 2011 at 1:39 am

    This woman was left to die in front of my house. No matter her choices this was a loss of life. All life is valuable. May her soul and family find peace

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action



Rikki Nathanson

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected] 

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January



SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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Rainbow History Project to honor LGBTQ ‘Pioneers’

Virtual celebration to take place on Dec. 9



David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade
David Mariner (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C.’s Rainbow History Project says it will honor and recognize 12 individuals and one organization by designating them as Community Pioneers “for their diverse contributions to the Washington-area LGBTQ community” at a Dec. 9 virtual celebration.

“Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the LGBT history of metropolitan Washington, D.C.,” the group says in a statement announcing the event. “The Pioneers awards recognize diverse community leaders for their roles as organizational founders, innovators, advocates and volunteers,” the statement says.

“The Pioneers celebration will be held virtually and is designed with special features that reproduce the feeling of attending in-person, such as live streaming and video chatting with other attendees and Pioneers before and after the core awards programing,” according to the statement.

“Celebrating our Community Pioneers has been a cherished tradition since Rainbow History Project’s founding 21 years ago,” said Rob Berger, the organization’s chairperson. “It’s always an inspiring event, and we are happy that our virtual platform will still allow participants to meet and talk with the Pioneers,” Berger said in the statement.

The virtual event is free and open to the public, the statement says. Organizers released this link for those interested in attending, saying a short registration process may require registering in advance. 

Remo Conference

Following is the list of Community Pioneers scheduled to be honored at the Dec. 9 event as released by Rainbow History Project along with the project’s description of their backgrounds.

Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a local group that since its founding has addressed equal rights issues for LGBTQ Virginians from a state and local perspective.

– Eboné F. Bell, founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg Magazine and Tagg Communication LLC.

Bart Forbes, founding member of “Gay Fairfax,” a pioneering television newsmagazine program in Northern Virginia.

– Ellen Kahan, youth and family advocate, president of Rainbow Families, former director of the Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health, and currently senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

– Theodore Kirkland (deceased), a co-founder of D.C. Black Pride in 1991, member of the Gay Liberation Front and Skyline Faggots, active community health volunteer and advocate.

– Paul Marengo, community leader through LGBTQ organizations including Reel Affirmations, Cherry Fund, and Pride celebrations for youth, Latino, Black and Transgender communities.

– David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, and former executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

– Mark Meinke founder longtime chair, Rainbow History Project, and co-founder of Rainbow Heritage Network, a national organization for the recognition and preservation of sites, history and heritage associated with sexual and gender minorities.

– Michael “Micci” Sainte Andress, artist, health educator and advocate and an early leader in bringing African Americans into HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

– Boden Sandstrom, founder and owner of Woman Sound (later City Sound), the first all-woman sound company, which makes LGBTQ rights rallies and the women’s music scene possible.

Casse Culver (deceased), nationally acclaimed D.C. lesbian feminist singer-songwriter, and partner of Boden Sandstrom, whose followers said her love songs and feminist lyrics moved audiences from foot stomping to silent reflection.  

Alan Sharpe, playwright, director and co-founder of the African American Collective Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which now focuses on LGBTQ life and culture in the Black community.

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