Ava Le’Ray Barrin is the 14th reported transgender murder victim of 2017. She’s also the youngest to date in a crime trend that disproportionately affects transgender women of color.
The Daily Beast reports that the teenager was shot in the chest on Sunday morning by Jalen Breton Brown, 21, in an apartment building parking lot. Brown attempted to claim it was done in self defense, but was later charged with murder by Athens-Clarke County Police.
“What saddens and infuriates us as an organization that seeks to represent and empower Black trans women is that Ava was just 17 years old and hadn’t even had a chance to follow her dreams yet,” Monica Roberts, media chair of the organization Black Transwomen, Inc., wrote in a statement.
Roberts was the first person to identify Barrin as the murder victim after local authorities used male pronouns in their reports. She’s actually spend the past few years identifying victims who have been misgendered.
“There are certain things that I pick up on when I hear about these cases,” she said. “Facebook chatter will sometimes clue me in when there’s a trans murder and then, if I have the location, I can start investigating local news sources to see if they’ve confirmed the incident.”
The numbers of reported transgender murder victims is on a noticeable incline. It’s especially concerning because an uncertain number of these crimes surely go unknown due to misgendering. The rise could either be because the crimes themselves are occurring at a more prominent rate or are being appropriately reported more.
“The demonization of men who prefer and like to date trans women and along with the demonization of trans femininity also plays a part in this violence that’s aimed at us—and it needs to stop,” Roberts said.
Before Barrin, the youngest transgender murder victim this year was 18-year-old Jaquarrius Holland.