Houston’s trans community is mourning the death of Asia Jynaé Foster, the latest victim in a wave of transphobic violence sweeping across the US this year.
The 22-year-old Black trans woman was shot dead in Houston, Texas on 20 November, otherwise known as the Trans Day of Remembrance – a day to honour and mourn the many trans and non-binary people who have been killed.
According to investigators, Asia’s body was found by a man walking near Skyline Drive in southwest Houston, an area friends said was close to her home.
Police believe her body was dumped after being shot multiple times, but the circumstances leading to her death remain unclear.
“Asia was outgoing, funny, and she could put together a read that left everyone around her scrambling to pick up their jaws,” said Montrose Grace Place, an LGBTQ-affirming shelter for homeless youth in Houston.
The centre held a candlelight vigil for Asia, where friends and family said she was a beacon of light in their community.
The Human Rights Campaign believes her death was followed by that of another trans woman, Skylar Heath, a 20-year-old Black transgender woman who was fatally shot in Miami, Florida. The murder has not yet been reported by local media and investigations are still ongoing.
Together Asia and Skylar would be the 38th and 39th violent deaths of a trans or gender non-conforming person in the US so far this year, which is the deadliest for trans murders since records began.
The new total, which the HRC suspects is an underestimate, far surpasses the 27 reported killings of trans people in all of 2019, 26 reported killings in 2018, 29 in 2017, 23 in 2016, 21 in 2015, 20 in 2014 and 19 in 2013.
“Asia’s death is reported to have occurred on Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day on which we honour those in our community we’ve lost to fatal violence. The fact we marked the most violent year on record only to be met with yet another tragedy is unacceptable,” said the HRC’s Tori Cooper.
“Asia and Skylar’s deaths should be a call to action for us all.”
Anyone with information on the murder of Asia Jynaé Foster is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 713-222-8477.