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Murder of Aidelen Evans Brings Year's Anti-Trans Death Toll to 30

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday July 16, 2021

The year's grim, growing toll of deadly anti-trans violence claimed the life of 24-year-old Aidelen Evans, a trans woman of color whose death marks at least 30 deadly acts of violence directed at trans people in the U.S. and its territories, the Human Rights Campaign reported.

Though Evans' remains were discovered on March 18 in a canal in Port Arthur, Texas, police did not determine that her death was a homicide until recently. However, police did deem her death as "suspicious," at least as early as April.

Police initially misgendered and deadnamed Evans, local news source PA News reported at the time.

"Aidelen, who was originally from Beaumont, Texas, had recently spent time in Port Arthur, Beaumont and Houston," the HRC's report said. "She was experiencing homelessness at the time of her death. Sadly, not much is currently known about Aidelen's life."

Though Evans' death marks the 30th known killing of a trans individual this year, it's likely that the true number is even higher. As the HRC pointed out, "it is estimated that approximately three-quarters of all known victims were misgendered by the media and/or by law enforcement," even as the deaths of transgender individuals too often "go unreported — or misreported."

Evans' killing follows the abduction and shooting of trans teen Oliver Taylor in May. Taylor was hospitalized but died of his injuries on May 19.

Thomas Hardin, who was killed in his home, was discovered dead on May 2. (Per reports, Hardin identified as a woman but kept the name Thomas and used both male and female pronouns.) Two suspects were subsequently apprehended. Hardin, like the majority of victims of lethal anti-trans violence, was a trans woman of color.

Poe Black, a 21-year-old member of the Wyandotte Nation who reports described as a "warrior" who battled for the rights of two-spirit people and other sexual minorities, was murdered in Slab City, California. Reports said he was stabbed multiple times on May 7, and his body dumped into the Coachella Canal.

EJ Boykin, also known as Novaa Watson, a 23-year-old Black transgender man, was shot and killed in Lynchburg, Virginia, on June 14. Police said they did not suspect his death to be a hate crime.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.