Aerrion Burnett has been named as the 27th known trans person murdered in the United States so far this year as the epidemic of violence against Black trans women continues to spiral out of control.
Burnett, 37, was from Kansas City and was shot dead in Independence, Missouri, a nearby satellite town. Her body was discovered on 19 September.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, Burnett is at least the 27th trans person murdered in the United States so far in 2020 – although it is thought that the real number is likely higher, as many are misgendered in death.
Police in the region were called to the Brookside area of the city on Saturday (19 September) at 3.40am following reports of gunshots.
Shortly afterwards, authorities discovered Burnett’s body in a grassy area near the roadway, according to KCTV News.
Family and friends of Aerrion Burnett gathered at a vigil to remember the ‘goddess’ that was ‘everything’ to so many.
Burnett’s family and friends gathered at a vigil in Kansas City on Sunday (20 September) to remember her.
At the vigil, loved ones released balloons in her honour, KITV reported.
“Aerrion was a Barbie,” Burnett’s friend Korea Kelly said. “She was a goddess. When I say goddess, she was everything. If you wanted to have a good day, you need to smile, Aerrion was the person you wanted by your side.”
Kelly added: “When is the senseless violence to Black trans women in Kansas City going to stop?”
The friend also revealed that Burnett’s best friend Dee Dee Pearson, also a Black trans woman, was previously murdered in the area on Christmas Eve in 2011 by a man who became angry when he discovered her gender identity.
“As a friend, and both of those are my friends who both got killed the same way, and being a Black trans woman myself, that hurts like hell,” Kelly said.
When I say goddess, she was everything. If you wanted to have a good day, you need to smile, Aerrion was the person you wanted by your side.
“It’s a pain that I can’t fathom. It’s a pain that I don’t now how to fathom or to tell anyone how I’m feeling.”
Burnett’s cousin, who also attended the vigil, added: “Enough is enough. Stop taking our lives. Lives matter. You can’t get them back, and it hurts so many people.”
Since Burnett’s death was first reported, she has been doggedly misgendered and dead named by local media outlets.
The Human Rights Campaign estimates that three quarters of all known trans murder victims are misgendered by the media or by law enforcement authorities.
With three months left in 2020, the number of trans people murdered so far this year currently equals the number killed in 2019.