Police investigate shooting death of Black transgender woman

North Carolina

An attendee to a memorial for Jaida Peterson wears a T-shirt with her photo on it Friday, April 9, 2021, at Tuckaseegee Park in Charlotte, NC. Peterson, a transgender woman, was found dead in a hotel room on Easter Sunday, April 4. (David T. Foster III/The Charlotte Observer via AP)

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Police in North Carolina are investigating the shooting death of a Black transgender woman who was found in a Charlotte hotel room.

The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that Jaida Peterson is the 14th transgender person killed nationwide since the start of the year.

The Human Rights Campaign says that murders of transgender people are on the rise. Black transgender women are especially at risk and are murdered disproportionately because each of their identities.

Nearly 50 people recently attended vigil for Peterson. Nany of them knew her from her home state of South Carolina or from her time in Charlotte.

“People just find it easier to kill us because socially, we’re at the bottom of the totem pole,” friend Brianna Battle said. “No matter what her gender was, a human life was taken away. She has a family and friends and people who love her.”

Friends said it was painful to get the news of Peterson’s death and see police and news outlets use the wrong name and gender for Jaida. Mia Camps said misgendering someone devalues the lives of trans people and contributes to a culture of trans hate.

Human Rights Campaign said that 44 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were killed in 2020. That’s more than any year since the numbers have started being tracked.

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