Black Trans Woman Killed in Michigan

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Naomie Skinner, 25, was fatally shot on February 12.

A Black transgender woman was fatally shot in the Detroit area earlier this month following an argument with her boyfriend, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office.

Naomie Skinner, 25, was shot in the neck after 1:30 a.m. on February 12 in an apartment at the 14200 Block of Second Avenue in Highland Park, prosecutors said.

Skinner’s boyfriend, 26-year-old Michael Cortez Norris, allegedly shot Skinner and dragged her body into a hallway. He was later arrested and hit with second-degree murder, evidence tampering, and felony firearm charges.

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for further information on February 25.

The National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black LGBTQ individuals and people living with HIV/AIDS, praised authorities in Detroit for accurately using Skinner’s name and referring to her in accordance with her gender identity. Police departments across the country frequently misgender individuals in murder cases.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Naomie’s family members, friends, and loved ones during this time of loss,” Victoria Kirby York, who serves as the National Black Justice Coalition’s deputy executive director, said in a written statement. “Each time I learn about a stolen sibling, I am devastated. Interpersonal violence is a significant cause of death for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people.”

Skinner’s death comes one year after 37-year-old Natasha Keianna, also a transgender woman, was killed in Detroit.

Skinner is among four known transgender or gender non-conforming individuals to suffer a violent death in the United States this year. Amariey Lei was shot and killed near Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day, while Duval Princess was murdered two days later in Jacksonville, Florida. Cypress Ramos, a 21-year-old Latinx woman, was found dead in Lubbock, Texas on February 13 in what was described as a violent death.

The murders follow another deadly year for transgender individuals in the United States. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) tallied 56 trans murders in 2021, marking a new record since HRC started monitoring the deaths in 2013.

Skinner’s sister, Shycuria Harris, organized a fundraiser on GoFundMe to raise money for the funeral.