April 17, 2020 at 6:07 pm EDT | by Michelle Siegel
Transgender woman stabbed to death in Baltimore
Johanna Metzger (Photo via Facebook)

A transgender woman from Pennsylvania was murdered in Baltimore on Saturday, Baltimore City LGBTQ Affairs announced on Facebook.

According to a Wednesday blog post by the Human Rights Campaign, Johanna Metzger “is believed to be the sixth transgender or gender non-conforming person violently killed this year in the U.S., and the eighth death in Baltimore since HRC began tracking this data in 2013.”

WMAR, a Baltimore television station, reported Metzger — who, according to her mother, was a college graduate and self-taught musician — was staying at a Baltimore rehabilitation center when she was fatally stabbed in the 2200 block of Highview Avenue.

“FreeState Justice is deeply saddened by the loss of Johanna Metzger,” said C.P. Hoffman, legal director of FreeState Justice, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization specializing in LGBTQ-related legal advocacy, in an email on Friday. “Far too many members of our community experience violence and harassment on a daily basis simply because we are transgender, and some of us — like Johanna, Bailey Reeves, Zoe Spears, and Ashanti Carmon — ultimately pay with our lives.”

“Despite significant gains in recent years, society by and large still denies the fundamental humanity of transgender individuals or our right to exist as our true selves,” added Hoffman. “We dream and continue to fight for a day in which transgender Marylanders will no longer have to fear of being murdered — or of their killers being able to cite a panic defense to avoid responsibility for their actions.”

Further details about the crime have yet to be made public, but in announcing Metzger’s death, the staff with Baltimore City LGBTQ Affairs noted that they were “working with BPD to get details surrounding her homicide and with Baltimore Safe Haven to coordinate a response.”

The Washington Blade has reached out to the Baltimore Police Department for comment.

Baltimore Safe Haven, a local LGBTQ community center, held a vigil for Metzger on Tuesday. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Metzger’s life was honored virtually via Zoom.

“The trans community, LGBTQ, nonconforming community matters, and they need to step up and address this throughout the city,” Baltimore Safe Haven founder Iya Dammons said during the vigil.

Baltimore Safe Haven describes itself on its Facebook page as “a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on providing outreach, drop-in and housing services for Baltimore’s most vulnerable LGBTQ community members.”

To donate to Baltimore Safe Haven, visit its Donorbox page.

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