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The body of a young transgender woman was discovered Monday near the intersection of Canfield and Ellery Streets on Detroit’s East Side. At press time, few details are known.
“We are trying to find out the identity of the victim,” said Melissa Pope, director of victim services for Triangle Foundation. “My understanding is that the victim is African-American and in their late teens to early 20s. We’re getting little pieces of information.”
According to a report on WDIV Channel 4 news, the victim had been shot in the head at another location before the body was dumped. Parts of that report, which identified the victim as a “cross-dressing prostitute,” have angered members of the LGBT community.
“My guess is that this kid was on the street because her family ejected her, which happens with a lot of our trans girls,” said Grace McClelland, executive director of the Ruth Ellis Center. “This is a transgender young woman who, because of what she had to do survive, had to place herself in that position and it cost her her life. This is, unfortunately, a lot of our young trans women’s story. And it’s all because of severe discrimination against – and hatred of – our transgender folks.”
McClelland is working with members of the center’s youth group to help identify the victim and counsel youth, while Pope is continuing to press the police for information.
“We are trying to find out more information so we can hopefully, number one, find out the identity of the victim, number two, work with the police on the investigation, and, most importantly, help the community. We don’t know the motivation behind the murder or any of the circumstances surrounding it at this point, so we are urging everyone in the community to use caution.”
If you think you may have any information about his murder, you can reach Pope at 313-537-7000 x 313.