(Last updated on April 19, 2017)
The pace of hate-crime murders and executions of LGBTI people can be overwhelming.
The numbers are so large that this blog’s list of reported homophobic hate-crime killings of LGBTI people can never be a comprehensive list. The list is just a sad sampling of the horrors that keep happening worldwide.
The list started with the murder of this blog’s journalist/activist Eric Lembembe of Cameroon, whose body was found July 15, 2013.
Worldwide, hate crimes against LGBTI people are a massive problem:
- Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project reported that at least 1,700 transgender and gender-expansive people have been killed since 2008 in Central and South America. It cited 2,343 reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people in 69 countries worldwide between 2008 and 2016.
- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights documented 770 killings and seriously violent attacks against LGBT persons between Jan. 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, including 594 hate-related killings of LGBTI people in Brazil. The IACHR has said reports indicate that every 28 hours an LGBT person is violently attacked in Brazil.
- In the United States, out of the almost 6,000 hate crimes committed in 2013, 20 percent (approximately 1,200) were based on victims’ sexual orientation, according to the FBI.
- In 2016, 27 trans and gender-nonconforming people were reportedly killed in the United States — making it the deadliest year on record for trans victims there. With at least 7 trans women killed in the first three months of 2017, this year is, sadly, on a pace to break the record.
- In Brazil, 1,341 LGBT people were reported murdered from 2007 through 2012.
- In Peru, a reported 249 LGBT people were murdered from 2006 to 2010.
Admittedly it’s impossible to know exactly how many of these murders were hate crimes. An unknown number were murdered for common individual motives, such as LGBTI people killed by jealous lovers or in robberies gone bad, rather than out of hatred of LGBTI people in general.
It has proven to be a daunting task just to list some of the victims of homophobic murders, because so many occur worldwide. [The following list, begun after the July 2013 murder of Eric Lembembe in Cameroon, was suspended during 2014 for lack of volunteers. (To volunteer to help, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org).] Recent much-appreciated additions to the list have been provided by Patricia Marie Budd, the author of the novel Hadrian’s Lover.
The following list is limited to victims of reported anti-LGBTI murders, excluding incidents of LGBTI people murdered with no indication that the crime was a homophobic attack. Many are reported by the blog Quem a HomoTransFobia Matou Hoje (Who Has HomoTransPhobia Killed Today?), which records the murders of LGBTI people in Brazil. Dozens of LGBTI murders before July 2013 are listed in the Wikipedia articles “Significant acts of violence against LGBT people” and “List of unlawfully killed transgender people.” Also not listed here are the 15+ executions of LGBTI people claimed by the Islamist militants of Daesh/ISIS/ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Wilka, a 40-year-old trans woman in Loteamento Luiz Gonzaga, urban area of Vitória de Santo Antão in the southern state of Pernambuco, was robbed and fatally stabbed on March 26 while returning home from visiting a friend. A friend said her murderers mistook her for a cisgender (non-trans) woman. When the robbers found out that Wilka was a trans woman, they murdered her, the friend said.
Raina Aliev, a Muslim transgender woman, was killed early this month, three days after marrying her husband. Her body was hacked to pieces. She left virtually unrecognizable. The murder reportedly took place after Aliev’s father, Alimshaikh Aliev, called for his daughter’s execution on a Russian TV station, referring to Raina Aliev as “him.” “Let him be killed, I don’t want to see him,” Alimshaikh Aliev said. “Bring him here and kill him in front of my eyes.” The specifics of the death and the motivation were under investigation. (Sources: Equal Eyes and Pink News)
After Skye Mockabee, 26, was found dead in a parking lot in Cleveland Ohio, early on July 30, police and emergency medical personnel said that her injuries “were suspicious.” She is the 17th transgender woman of color murdered in the United States this year. As with so many transgendered women, Skye was initially identified as a man and the “Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday identified Mockabee by her birth name.” Although authorities have not officially identified this as a hate crime, Skye’s death “is a reminder for the LGBT community of the dangers they can face.” (Sources: Cleveland.com, LGBTQNation, HRC.org)
Forty-nine people were killed and some 50 others were wounded by a gunman identified as Omar Mateen, who opened fire and took hostages at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early on June 12. Shortly before the attack, Mateen called a 911 emergency line to declare his loyalty to the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh). Mateen’s father said his son had been angered by the sight of two men kissing in Miami earlier this year; he thought that might be related to the shootings. These were the victims in the massacre:
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
“A very brave man … a martyr.” That is how one Bangladeshi activist described LGBT magazine editor and activist Xulhaz Mannan, who, along with friend and fellow activist Tonoy Mojumdar, was murdered April 25 by a group of five men who hacked them to death after breaking into their flat in Dhaka. Witnesses said the attackers, who were apparently Islamic militants, shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is greatest’) as they fled the scene. According to U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Manna was “a courageous advocate for LGBTI rights – human rights, actually.” Sources include this blog, FirstPost/Reuters, Huffington Post, Dhaka Tribune, BBC and Al Jazeera.com.
Muhadh Ishmael died Dec. 21 in Malindi District Hospital of injuries resulting from a brutal attack in Kenya. His assailants “drove him to a remote location, stripped him and drugged him. Then they cut off his penis.” Muhadh was born intersex and had the audacity to identify as male when his family insisted he pretend to be female. After the death of Muhadh’s parents, his uncle arranged for four men to abduct, drug and mutilate the intersex youth.
Yet another trans woman of color (the year’s 21st trans woman killed in the United States, by some counts) was murdered in the United States on Oct. 16: Zella Ziona, 21, was shot in an alley in Gaithersburg, Md., between two shopping centers. Police are not ruling out the possibility that the homicide could be a hate crime. They arrested a young man who had “some degree of friendship” with Ziona. As is often the case with many trans women who have been murdered, the first police report identified her as a man. Sources: Fusion.net, Fox 5, Spectrum.suntimes.com.
Keisha Jenkins was beaten by a gang of six men in the early hours of Oct. 6, 2015. They also shot her twice in the back. Keisha is the 20th or 21st trans woman murdered in the United States in 2015. She is also the 18th trans woman of color murdered. Authorities “are looking at the possibility that her gender identity may have played a role in her killing.” Sources: Metro, Inquisitr, Towle Road.com
Prominent transgender rights campaigner Amancay Diana Sacayán was found stabbed to death in her apartment in Buenos Aires on Oct. 13, 2015. FALGBT (the Argentinian LGBT Federation) said that her murder, along with those of two other trans women violently killed within the past month in Santa Fe and Santa Cruz, Argentina, demonstrate the effects of anti-LGBT discrimination and hatred. These crimes show the importance of passing an anti-discrimination law, which is currently stalled in parliament, FALGBT said. “Unless this latest wave of murders is effectively investigated and those responsible taken to justice, a message will be sent that attacking trans women is actually OK,” Amnesty International stated. Sacayán was a board member of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. In 2012, she received new identity papers as a woman from President Cristina Fernandez de Kircher, after Argentina became the first country in the world to allow people to change their official gender without approval from a doctor or a judge.
Yet another transgender woman of color was murdered in the United States, bringing the year’s total of killings to twelve — a number considered “a conservative estimate.” Amber Monroe, 20, died in the early hours of Saturday, August 8, 2015, from a gunshot wound. She was described as a “really bubbly, extroverted kind of girl” and “a very kind and sweet girl, not hardened by the streets,” though reportedly engaged in sex work. Although police are not calling this murder a hate crime, the circumstances seem suspicious. As Ahya Simone, a transgender woman from Detroit who knew Monroe, commented, “trans women of color are disproportionately affected by violence.” As the number of trans women murdered in the U.S. keeps rising, especially those of trans women of color, action taken to protect these women is necessary. Sources: Detroit Free Press, Fox 2 Detroit.com, The Guardian.com, Detroit News, Fusion.net.
Shira Banki was one of six Pride Parade participants stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox Jew on July 29 in Jerusalem. On Aug. 2, she succumbed to the wounds she sustained in the attack. Her murderer, Yishai Schlissel, had been released three weeks previously after being sentenced to 12 years in prison and serving 10 for a similar attack at the 2005 Pride Parade. He claimed that his murderous violence was designed to fulfill the imagined “obligation of every Jew to keep his soul from punishment and stop this giant desecration of God’s name.” Sources: Pink News, AP, Times of Israel.
25-year-old India Clarke is the 10th trans woman of color to be murdered in 2015 in the U.S.A. Her body was found “in a grassy area near a playground in Tampa Bay, Fla. Hillsborough Sheriff’s detectives say she died of blunt force trauma, and are investigating her death as murder. The victim’s father believes India’s death may have been motivated by hate, although police are not investigating it as a hate crime. Sources: Huffington Post, WTSP.com, TampaBay.com, The Advocate
Transgender human rights activist Francela Méndez was murdered on May 31, 2015, two years to the day after the killing of Tanya Vásquez, her fellow human rights defender and member of the transgender community. Sadly, El Salvadorian police are “attempting to link (her murder) to drug trafficking” rather than investigate it as a hate crime,” says Front Line Defenders. Her friend, Consuela Flores Martínez, whom she was visiting, was murdered with her by a group of unknown assailants. The murders are typical of what LGBTI people face in El Salvador. According to David Morales, the country’s Attorney General for the Defense of Human Rights, “The LGBTI population is victimized by discrimination, rejection and intolerance that can be seen in grave violations of their human rights.” The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has called on Morales to investigate whether Rodríguez’s murder was related to her work as an activist or to her transgender identity. The commission also called on the Salvadoran government to acknowledge the country’s epidemic of transphobic violence (7 to 10 murders so far this year) and to provide increased protection for LGBT people. Karla Guevara of El Salvador’s Colectivo Alejandria, of which Mendez was also a member, told AFP: “The LGBTI community’s rights are vulnerable because here nobody investigates anything in the face of acts of hate and discrimination.” Sources: Journalist William Nicholas Gomes, TelesurTV, El Salvador Noticias, Front Line Defenders, The Advocate, Gay Star News and the Washington Blade.
Wisconsin teenager Cameron Langrell wasn’t murdered, but took her own life as a result of severe bullying at her high school. The Advocate reported, “The artistic freshman had faced incessant bullying at Horlick High School, family and friends told Racine’s Journal Times.” According to her mother she “apparently faced much teasing for appearing “feminine.” Jamie Olender (Cameron’s mother) called for schools to provide bullying prevention, because lives are at stake. Sources: Journal Times, Gay Star News, New Now Next, The Advocate.
The headline reads, “Father Stabs His Trans Child to Death, Tells Police It Was a Cult.” According to news reports, Kevin Golec stabbed Bri Golec during an argument and then tried to blame the LGBT trans support group Bri had once been a part of, referring to them as a cult. It’s a disturbing case of domestic violence where a parent’s lack of understanding of his child’s true gender is taken to the furthest extreme of violence: murder. Kevin Golec was charged with murder and felony domestic violence. Sources: Jezebel, Daily Mail, N.Y. Daily News, Planet Transgender.
Jennifer Laude was murdered for being a transgender woman. She had checked into a motel with U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, a man she had just met in a disco who was unaware that Jennifer was transgendered. When he returned to his ship Pemberton was quoted as having said, “I think I killed a he/she.” How he killed her is horrendous. Cause of death was by asphyxiation and drowning. She was found with her head shoved into a toilet bowl. (Sources: CTV News, Time)
Trans woman Aniya Parker was shot in the head at 2:30 a.m. in Hollywood in what police claim was a “robbery gone bad.” According to Christopher Argyros, manager of the LA LGBT Center Anti-Violence Project, the surveillance video that captured the murder suggests it was a hate crime. “When attackers learn their victim is transgendered the violence escalates,” Argyros noted. The murderers left Parker’s purse behind. Why would robbers do that? (Sources: LA Weekly, Huffington Post.)
Thabo Molefe, 45, is scheduled to go on trial July 27 for the hate-crime murder of his neighbor, Thembelihle ‘Lihle’ Sokhela, 28, a lesbian who was suffocated, battered and possibly raped on Sept. 14, 2014, in Daveyton, near Johannesberg, South Africa. Molefe reportedly was on parole after being released from prison for another rape and murder. After Sokhela’s body was discovered wrapped in a blanket behind Molefe’s bed, he turned himself in to police. Sources: Mamba Online, O-blog-dee, Iranti-org, Inkanyiso.org
F.I., 27, in Hatay, Turkey, Nov. 17, 2013 LGBT community members in Turkey accuse police of failing to conduct a serious investigation of the Nov. 17 murder of a 27-year-old man from Antakya, Turkey, identified as F.I., who was found choked to death with his head smashed, his hands cuffed, feet tied and head covered with a sack at a house where three Syrian men lived in the İskenderun district of Hatay, Turkey. Members of the LGBT community believe his murder was a homophobic crime. They said F.I. was last seen heading out for a rendezvous with a Syrian man, and that the police joked about F.I.’s text messages and released the three men without recording their names.
Paulo Henrique Alves, 44, in Ibatiba, Brazil, Oct. 15, 2013. Police investigated the death of veterinarian Paulo Henrique Ribeiro Alves as a hate crime motivated by homophobia, although that motive had not been proven. Alves was burned alive on the side of a highway in Ibatiba.
Nivacil Dias de Godoy, 55, known as Zeca, in Salvador, Brazil, Sept. 20, 2013. The local crime lab suggested that Zeca committed suicide, because he was depressed and had recently received word that a former lover was getting married. But the cause of death was stabbing — with a piece of wood inside a condom that pierced the victim through his anus. Such a death is an unlikely method of committing suicide, the organization Grupo Gay da Bahia noted, and much more likely to be used in a hate crime.
Islan Nettles, 21, New York, Aug. 17, 2013. A transgender woman, Nettles was attacked Aug. 17 by a group of men taunting her with homophobic slurs. They knocked her to the ground and beat her until she was unconscious. She went into a coma and died five days later.
Pedro Araujo, 52, Cuiabá, Brazil, Aug. 5, 2013. Hours before he was killed, Pedro Araujo protested online against violence and attacks on homosexuals. He posted three photos of young people who had been beaten and commented, “These young people were beaten just for being gay. Say no to homophobia.”
Delon Melville, 26, of Mocha/Arcadia, East Bank Demerara, Guyana. The partly decomposed body of Delon Melville, 26, was found Aug. 2 in a clump of bushes. He had received death threats and was often taunted for “effeminate behavior.” Witnesses were reportedly too frightened to talk to police.
Renato Batista Mendes, 31, Picanço, Guarulhos, São Paulo, Brazil, Aug. 2, 2013. Renato Batista Mendes, a transgender person known as the transvestite “Thalia,” was found dead at home, amid signs of a struggle, covered in blood with scissors embedded in the genitals.
Rafael da Silva Tavares, 21, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 31, 2013. Transvestite is found dead, shot six times; police investigate homophobic motivation. “According to relatives of the victim, Rafael had no enemies and his sexuality has always been respected by family and friends.”
Unnamed victim, Kenya, July 17, 2013. Gay men hacked with machetes and murdered in wave of hate crimes in Kenya: One man dies from attacks. Group points to fallout from discredited study on gays and blames religious extremists for whipping up hatred.
Eric Lembembe, Cameroon, murdered in his apartment July 13 or 14, 2013; his body was found July 15, 2013. Lembembe was the executive director the anti-AIDS pro-LGBT-rights group Camfaids and a journalist who often wrote for this blog.
Extensive coverage of Lembembe’s murder is here:
- Beating death of LGBT activist Eric Lembembe in Cameroon (76crimes.com)
- Cameroon police can’t be bothered to probe activist’s murder (76crimes.com)
- Cameroon: LGBT activists in custody; harassment continues (76crimes.com)
- Hundreds mourn murdered LGBT activist in Cameroon (76crimes.com)