Transgender Advocate Michelle “Tamika” Washington Killed in Philadelphia


A transgender community advocate has been shot and killed in Philadelphia.

Police discovered Michelle “Tamika” Washington on the 3400 block of North 11th Street, shortly after 5am Sunday morning, with gunshot wounds to the head and body. She was taken to Temple University, where she was pronounced dead, CBS 3 Philly reports.

Troy Bailey, 28, has been arrested and charged with murder, as well as additional crimes, in connection with the shooting, according to Philly Voice.

Those who knew Washington are sharing their grief, as well as fond memories of Washington, including honoring her numerous contributions to the community.

“I am devastated by the senseless murder of yet another one of our trans sisters. Tamika was a brilliant and outgoing member of Philadelphia’s transgender community, known for her advocacy and mentorship, and she will be profoundly missed,” said Amber Hikes, executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs.

“The epidemic of violence that continues to plague the transgender community—disproportionately impacting trans women of color— is heartbreaking, frightening, and infuriating.”

“The news of the murder and death of Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington has hit so many in our community hard. More than a news story, she was a friend, a loved one, a beloved. The Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs offers our solidarity, our commitment to #SayHerName, and a commitment to ending the plague of anti-black, anti-trans, and queerphobic violence that plagues not just our nation, but our own local community,” said Raquel Evita Saraswati, chair of Mayor Jim Kenney’s Commission on LGBT Affairs.

“Our community is nothing without black trans women, and we will mourn the loss of Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington today and in the years to come. We pledge to not let her loss be in vain, and to stand with those who both endure and combat this violence on a daily basis.”

LGBTQ rights advocates and organizations across the country are also mourning Washington’s passing with posts to social media.

Washington is at least the fifth transgender person killed in the United States alone, and the third within a week. Muhlaysia Booker died this past weekend in Dallas. She too was a black trans woman who was shot and killed, just one month after she was the victim of a brutal mob beating captured on video.

Claire Legato, also a black trans woman, was shot in the head in Cleveland on April 15, and died from her injuries on May 14.

Last month, Ashanti Carmon, a black transgender woman in Maryland, was shot and killed. And in January, Dana Martin, another black trans woman, was shot and killed in Montgomery, Alabama.

“It’s very important that we stress [who the victims are] because we’re not seeing LGB people murdered every other day,” Deja Lynn Alvarez, a Philadelphia City Council at-large candidate who knew Washington for over 20 years, told Philadelphia Gay News.

“It’s time that we say this is happening to trans women, it’s happening to black trans women, it’s happening to trans women of color…It’s time that we shift the focus to that.”

Both 2017 and 2018 saw record numbers of trans people killed in the United States, and most of the victims, like this year, were transgender women of color.

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