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Trans Woman Felycya Harris Found Shot to Death in Georgia

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday October 7, 2020

Felycya Harris, a 33-year-old Black transgender woman, was found dead of a single gunshot wound in Augusta, Georgia, on Oct. 3, reports local news channel WRDW.

Harris' death was initially classified as "suspicious," but now is being treated as a homicide case, the news report said.

Harris' body was found in Meadowbrook Park in Augusta. WRDW said that she was a decorator, and noted that she is the third trans victim to be killed in the area in the space of a year.

Wiping tears from her eyes, Ricola Collier, a friend of Harris, told the news channel, "Everybody's going to remember Felycya. That laugh. The smile... Everybody is going to remember who Felycya Harris is."

The Human Rights Campaign, which tracks deadly anti-trans violence, decried the killing, saying it is part of an "epidemic of violence" targeting trans people and noting that Harris is the 31st trans or gender non-conforming person known to have died of violence this calendar year.

Of those 31 fatalities, most have been trans women of color.

The HRC noted that "too often these deaths go unreported - or misreported by failing to identify the victim as trans or by misgendering and misnaming the victim."

"With news of the death of Felycya Harris, we have hit a grim milestone," Alphonso David, the president of HRC, said. "We have now matched the highest number of transgender or gender non-conforming people who were victims of fatal violence in one year - and there are three more months left in the year."

Trans rights advocate Naomi Simmons-Thorne, of Columbia, SC, spoke to WRDW, saying, "Typically, the only time people listen to trans people, and trans women specifically, is when we become victims of a homicide. And then it's already too late."

No suspects in Harris' death have been apprehended so far.

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.