On Thursday, Brenda Bostick succumbed to head injuries at Bellevue Hospital after it appeared that she had been struck in the head in the New York City neighborhood of Chelsea on April 25.
The city’s chief medical examiner confirmed on Monday that her cause of death was homicide. Bostick, who was 59 years old and a black transgender woman, is the tenth trans and gender non-conforming woman of color reported killed in 2017. Nine out of 10 of the women killed this year were black; one woman was Native American.
“We are facing a crisis of violence,” Beverly Tillery, Executive Director at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, said in a statement. “As a society we can stop this epidemic by hiring trans women of color, making sure they have safe places to live and standing up when we see or hear them being demeaned and attacked and simply by valuing their lives.”
Trans and gender non-conforming women of color are disproportionately the targets of extreme violence: according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 23 trans people were reported murdered in 2016, many of them trans women of color. In 2015, they recorded 16 trans people murdered, 13 of whom were trans women of color.
The NYPD told Fusion Bostick’s death is not currently being investigated as a hate crime.
New York state hate crime laws cover sexual orientation but not gender identity. A broad anti-discrimination bill that would include trans people in protections, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), has been passed by the New York state assembly but stalled in the Republican-controlled senate.
Update, 12:49 PM: “This is a dispute between two individuals who reside in the same building on 27th Street,” an NYPD spokesperson told Fusion. “Not determined to be motivated by hate at this time.”