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Watch: Shooting Deaths of Danny Henson and Serenity Hollis Mark at Least 25 Anti-Trans Killings in 2021

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday May 15, 2021

The May 4 shooting death of Danika "Danny" Henson marked the year's 24th case of lethal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. and its territories, the Human Rights Campaign reports.

"Henson, a 31-year-old Black transgender woman... was shot and killed in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 4," the HRC detailed.

"Henson also may have identified as genderfluid," the HRC's report added. "According to family, Henson had just begun transitioning.

"Henson's death is at least the 24th violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021," the HRC added.

Local news station WMAR recalled that in the early hours of May 4, "Baltimore Police responded to a home in the 3100 block of Williston Street for an unresponsive person. When they arrived, police found a body."

Henson's brother, Michael Henson, told the news station he thought that the perpetrator might have been someone his sibling had known and been involved with in a relationship.

Baltimore police do not have anyone in custody yet in connection with the case, WMAR reported. But the Baltimore PD posted a photo at Facebook on May 10, and asked the public for "help in identifying the person seen in this photo."

Henson's killing was one of three deaths of trans and gender non-conforming people that same day. Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, 41, whom HRC reported was an "Indigenous non-binary person" had been shot the day before, on May 3, and succumbed on May 4.

The HRC also reported that "Sophie Vásquez, a 36-year-old Latina transgender woman, was shot and killed in Georgia on May 4."

The three murders took place mere days before the May 8 killing of another Black transgender woman, Serenity Hollis, who was shot to death on May 8 in Albany, Georgia, reports. Her death pushes the year's toll to 25 known instances of deadly anti-trans violence, though the number could well be higher due to underreporting and misgendering.

Indeed, initial reports misgendered and deadnamed Hollis.

Instances of deadly anti-trans violence have increased sharply in recent years. Last year's death toll was the highest on record, with 2021 reflecting a similarly alarming trend.

Watch the WMAR news clip on Danika Henson's murder below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.