Beloved Trans Ballroom Performer Fatally Stabbed in Boston

Jahaira M. DeAlto, a transgender woman and performer in Boston’s ballroom scene, was fatally stabbed on Sunday, May 2.
Twitter/ Jahaira M. DeAlto

A suspect has been charged with the fatal stabbing of a legendary transgender performer from Boston’s ballroom community.

The Boston Police Department discovered the iconic artist Jahaira M. DeAlto, a 42-year-old transgender woman, and 27-year-old Fatima Yasin suffering from stab wounds at 26 Taft Street in Dorchester, a neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, on Sunday, May 2, according to the Boston Police Department and WCVB5, which identified the victims. A dog was also injured, but two children, who were at home during the incident, were not physically harmed. 

That same day, authorities arrested 34-year-old Marcus Chavis of Dorchester, and he was arraigned in Dorchester District Court on Monday, May 3. WCVB5 reports that after the attack, Chavis called 911 and admitted to stabbing both women. Chavis is facing multiple charges, including two counts of murder and animal cruelty.

DeAlto was a member of the House of Balenciaga and frequently walked the realness category in Boston’s ballroom scene. In a statement on Facebook, Harold Balenciaga, one of the members of the House of Balenciaga, said her death is a tremendous loss within the community.  

“The House of Balenciaga regretfully acknowledges the death/murder of our own Jahaira M. DeAlto, a community advocate and friend to many,” Balenciaga wrote in a post on Facebook. “Let us not forget her ongoing work against domestic abuse and continue to uplift her name and ensure her memory lives on in this ironic twist of fate.”

Members from New York’s ballroom community also mourned the performer’s death.

“She was very special to me. I’m still processing it, ” Zoey Mugler, a member of the House of Mugler, wrote in a text message to Gay City News. “I still don’t understand why she was stabbed. She was so sweet.” 

Mugler further described DeAlto as an “angel,” adding that the activist had a significant impact on LGBTQ people and will be “missed.”

In a post last year, DeAlto recalled her journey as a house mother helping LGBTQ people who lacked family support. 

“I am the mother who raised the children whose rainbow sparkled too brightly and blinded their birth moms,” she wrote to Twitter in a thread. “I cherished what they discarded. I took on earthly assignments for moms who’d earned their heavenly reward. For their babies who still needed raising. I did that. And I’m still doing that. And I’ll keep doing that. Because I will never know what seeing my DNA reflected in another’s eyes could look like, but I know what gratitude in the eyes of a young person who finally feels seen looks like. And for me, that’s enough.”

DeAlto’s death is the latest known killing of a transgender individual in 2021 and comes amid record levels of anti-transgender violence in the US. 

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