Cashay Henderson, a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her family and the LGBTQ community are mourning her death and demanding justice. Henderson’s cousin recalls that she was struggling with the discrimination faced by transgender people, which was taking a toll on her. She had also posted on social media about the deaths of transgender and queer friends. Henderson was found dead with a gunshot wound when the Milwaukee Fire Department responded to a fire at the building. Her death is being investigated as a homicide, and at least four transgender women have been killed in Milwaukee in the past year. However, officials have not yet deemed these killings hate crimes.
Diverse & Resilient, a local LGBTQ advocacy group, has criticized conservative legislators for recent inflammatory rhetoric against transgender people and the LGBTQ community. The group hosted a vigil in honor of Henderson’s memory and called for an immediate halt to the hateful rhetoric and dangerous bills written as a result of transphobia and lies. Roughly 350 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced or advanced nationwide this year, according to the ACLU. Henderson’s family remembers her as a bright presence, someone who walked to the beat of her own drum, and found a supportive community in her family and local LGBTQ organizations.
Henderson’s death is a reminder of the ongoing violence and discrimination faced by transgender people, who are over four times more likely than cisgender people to be victims of violent crime nationwide, according to a study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. Her family and the LGBTQ community are calling for justice and an end to hate crimes against transgender people. A person of interest has been arrested in connection with Henderson’s homicide, but no charges have been filed yet. As her family waits for justice, they urge others to embrace who they are fully and unapologetically and to surround themselves with people who support them.