by Madeleine Roberts
February 11, 2021
HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Alexus Braxton, also known as Kimmy Icon Braxton, a 45-year-old Black transgender woman who was killed in Miami, Florida on February 4. Her death is at least the sixth violent death of a transgender person in 2021. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported. So far this year, five of the six known deaths have been Black transgender women.
According to Alexus’s Facebook, she was a hairstylist. She was active on social media and posted frequently, often discussing time spent with friends or the obstacles she had overcome in her life. A recent post stated, “they can’t stop my shine.” Family and friends held a balloon release to honor Alexus’s life on February 8 and have been remembering her on social media, with one saying “I’m beyond devastated.”
Tatiana Braxton, Alexus’s mother, said, “Twenty two years later and Black Trans Women’s lives are still not VALUED. In 1999, I witnessed my best friend get murdered in the streets of Miami. Sadly, since her murder, I’ve lost many more friends due to senseless violence. Here we are in 2021, it’s my daughter Kimmy. There’s one thing that remains the same: law enforcement, state officials and local politicians have no sense of urgency to address this growing epidemic. Please help us!”
Not much is currently known about the circumstances surrounding Alexus’s death. According to Gay City News, police confirmed that they are investigating her death as a homicide.
HRC recorded 44 deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people in 2020, more than in any year since we began tracking this violence in 2013.
At the state level, the Florida Commission on Human Relations recently announced its intention to fully implement the Bostock v. Clayton County decision to effectively extend protections in employment, housing, and public spaces to LGBTQ residents. While Florida does include sexual orientation as a protected characteristic in its hate crimes law, it does not expressly include gender identity. While the past few years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government, recent weeks have seen some gains that support and affirm transgender people.
We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation at the local, state and federal levels, while also considering every possible way to make ending this violence a reality. It is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, especially Black transgender women. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive, so we must all work together to cultivate acceptance, reject hate and end stigma for everyone in the trans and gender non-conforming community.
In order to work towards this goal and combat stigma against transgender and non-binary people, HRC has collaborated with WarnerMedia on a PSA campaign to lift up their voices and stories. Learn more and watch the PSAs here.
In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people. HRC, Media Matters and the Trans Journalists Association have also partnered on an FAQ for reporters writing about anti-trans violence.
For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/transgender.