July 18, 2016 at 10:21 am EDT | by Jesse Arnholz
Weekend vigil honors slain transgender woman
Family and friends gathered to pay respects to slain transgender woman, Deeniquia Dodds. (Blade photo by Jesse Arnholz)

Family and friends gathered to pay respects to slain transgender woman, Deeniquia Dodds. (Blade photo by Jesse Arnholz)

About 40 people huddled together Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the rain outside the home of Deeniquia Dodds’ mother on the 5300 block of Clay Terrace in N.E. for a vigil celebrating the life of the murdered trans woman.

Long-time local transgender activist Earline Budd, who knew Dodds from the trans community, organized the vigil and described her as “loving” and “caring.”

“I just sit here and I’m thinking again and again,” Budd said. “You know, this life and being transgender is one that is so difficult.”

Dodds was shot in the neck on July 4 in the 200 block of Division Avenue, N.E. and had been on life support at Prince George’s Hospital Center since the night of the shooting until she passed away on July 13.

Most of the speakers were members of Dodds’ family, including her mother, aunts and cousins.

Dodds was described by family as a typical, 22 year-old transgender woman, who loved life and was just trying to survive.

“I’ll never forget his smile as long as I live,” Joeann Lewis, the woman who raised Dodds said.

Many of Dodds’ family members used male pronouns when addressing her, but as Budd said they meant no disrespect.

“This is a family that loved Dee Dee,” Budd, who has officiated over 300 funerals, said. “Many families have referred to their loved ones in what we consider as not the life style that they lived. But at the end of the day, they loved Dee Dee.”

This is the first murder of a transgender person in Washington in more than three years and at first there was concern as to whether or not the D.C. Metropolitan Police department had misidentified Dodds.

Budd said that recently it has become clear that Dodds’ family made a request to the police department to withhold certain information pertaining to her gender identity.

It is still unclear whether or not Dodds’ murder was a hate crime or related to a robbery.

“This is an area that is known for violence,” Budd said, referring to Clay Terrace. “But at the end of the day, we are very confident that Dee Dee was loved by everybody around here.”

There will be a memorial service held for Dodds at the Metropolitan Community Church (474 Ridge St., N.W) on Wednesday, July 24.

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