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Chanel Scurlock, a 23-year-old Black trans woman, was killed in North Carolina last week, making her the fifth Black trans woman known to be killed in the U.S. in the last month.
Scurlock’s body was found in a field outside of Lumber Bridge, North Carolina, on June 5, PinkNews reports. Her car was gone, and she had been fatally shot. Scurlock’s mother, Brenda, said that Scurlock was going to meet with somebody who had a Facebook page with pictures and videos of her. The person took the page down, and Scurlock went out to meet them on June 4, though friends reportedly expressed concern that it was unsafe.
Police later located Scurlock’s car but misgendered and deadnamed her in a post about it on Facebook, something that is unfortunately common when trans people are killed. Local media reports and Scurlock’s mother have also been misgendering her. The Human Rights Campaign addressed this in a statement, saying, “Government agencies, media and others denying someone’s identity is unfortunately emblematic of the callous and disrespectful treatment that transgender individuals too often face in our society. Misgender of transgender victims of violence can also embolden anti-trans violence by reinforcing the prejudice at the heart of the attacks.”
Scurlock’s friends posted on social media to memorialize her and call out the way her death is being reported. One friend used the hashtag #SayHerName to push back against posts misgendering her. Another said, “I’m proud of you for being unapologetically correct about your feelings and expectations of YOU.”
Robeson County Sherriff Burnis Wilkins told local news outlet the Robesonian that they have “great leads” in the investigation. “Robeson County sheriff’s detectives are currently working diligently to bring closure to a grieving family,” Wilkins said. “This cowardly act has to be addressed and a person or persons will be held accountable and brought to justice.”
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Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.