Police in Philadelphia are investigating the murder of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a Black transgender woman.According to local trans advocates, Fells’ dismembered body was dredged from a river on Tuesday.”As thousands take to the streets to proclaim that Black Lives Matter, it is critical we remember that this includes Black trans lives,” Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs said.Activist Deja Lynn Alvarez told Insider that, “when it comes to serving and protecting trans people, the conventional way of doing things and thinking about these things will not work.”Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Police in Philadelphia are investigating the murder of a transgender woman, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, whose body was identified this week.Fells’ dismembered body was pulled from the banks of the Schuylkill River on Tuesday. There was trauma to the face and head and her legs were severed mid-thigh, 6 ABC, which misgendered Fells, reported.Authorities said they believe Fells’ legs may have been severed on train tracks. “Her name is Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells and there shall be no peace until justice is had!” Sisters PGH, a Philadelphia transgender advocacy group, posted on Instagram. “#SayHerName #blacktranslivesmattertoo,” the post added.
Fell’s sister has started a GoFundMe campaign to help the family pay for her funeral expenses. It’s collected more than $31,000 to date. The Philadelphia police department has not yet responded to a request for comment, but the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs confirmed there is an ongoing investigation.”The pain of such a loss is always difficult, but it is especially deep as we are in the midst of Pride Month—a season typically filled with joy and celebration for many in our community,” the office said in a statement. “As thousands take to the streets to proclaim that Black Lives Matter, it is critical we remember that this includes Black trans lives. Dominique Rem’mie Fells’ life mattered.””We are reminded with this, and countless other painful losses — especially within our transgender communities — that there is much left to do until we achieve full equality, respect, and support for us all,” it added. “The murder of transgender people—especially those of color—is truly an epidemic, and a crisis that we cannot afford to allow to persist any further.”
“I don’t think there is any such thing as a safe city for Black trans women,” Philadelphia activist Deja Lynn Alverez told Insider. “When it comes to serving and protecting trans people, the conventional way of doing things and thinking about these things will not work. It’s time to invest in actual trans leadership.”
Participants in the 8th annual Philly Trans March on October 6, 2018.
Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images
According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people were killed in the US in 2019, the majority of whom were Black transgender women. At least 11 trans people have died by violence so far in 2020, including Nina Pop, a trans woman found stabbed to death in Sikeston, Missouri, on May 3, according to the Associated Press.On May 27, two days after the police-related killing of George Floyd, Tony McDade, a transgender man, was shot and killed by police in Tallahassee, Florida.
According to ABC News, local police reported McDade matched the description of a stabbing suspect and was fatally shot after he pointed a gun at an unnamed officer.