The body of Chynal Lindsey, a black transgender woman, was found Saturday in Dallas with “obvious signs of homicidal violence,” according to police — at least the fourth black trans woman to be killed in the Texas city in three years.
The 26-year-old’s death comes mere weeks after Muhlaysia Booker, a 23-year-old black trans woman, was found shot to death just a few miles away.
Altogether, there are now four unsolved murder cases where the victim was a young, black trans woman in the city of Dallas. Brittany White, 29, was shot to death in October 2018. Shade Schuler, 22, was found dead in 2015, also shot to death.
Another trans woman, 39-year-old Nicole Hall, was found dead last year but it was ruled a suicide. Last May, 26-year-old Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón, a trans Latina woman, was strangled to death. In that case, police suspect a robbery and a man has been charged with her murder.
“We are concerned, we are actively and aggressively investigating this case, and we have reached out to our federal partners to assist us in these efforts,” said Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall at a weekend press conference.
“We are asking for our community’s assistance in this tragic event. We don’t have all the answers and we’re looking for our community.”
Members of the city’s trans community are desperately awaiting answers after so much bloodshed. A lack of arrests and information has also made many wary of the police.
“I don’t think any of us know very much yet and the police have not been very forthcoming with information,” Nell Gaither, the president of Dallas’s Trans Pride Initiative, told BuzzFeed News.
“They said there was obvious signs of homicidal violence, so we don’t even know how she was killed or how long she was there.”
According to her Facebook profile, Lindsey was originally from Chicago but moved to Arlington, Texas, sometime in the last few years. She previously attended Prairie State College and had been working in home health care.
Trans women, especially black trans women, face lower rates of employment and housing security than cisgender and even white transgender people. In Texas, there are no laws protecting trans people from discrimination. Although attempts have been made over the years by Democrats, a bill to add protections has never made it past committee.
Texas doesn’t have a provision for gender identity in its hate crime laws. Rather, that would have to come federally under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Dallas police are also now working with the FBI.
Given the violence, Gaither said trans women in the city simply don’t feel safe right now.
“Even if you weren’t feeling it before, this seems like a tipping point. People are looking at it as, we’re not safe here anymore,” she said.
At the chief’s press conference, a trans woman in the crowd asked what’s being done to keep her safe.
“What are you going to do to stop the violence against people like me that are in the community and try to get us out to get more jobs and to get more vigilant and feel safe in the community?” she asked.
“And that’s our goal, to provide safety for each and every person in the community,” replied Hall.
The chief also said there is no evidence at this time suggesting a serial killer is at work. Last month, police said there was a link — an intersection in South Dallas — connecting two of the murders and a stabbing in which the victim, a trans woman, survived.
She said police have also met with Abounding Prosperity, an organization based in South Dallas to address the needs of black LGBT people.
Kirk Myers, the CEO and founder of Abounding Prosperity, told BuzzFeed News they’re currently working to find people in the community who knew Lindsey.
“We are working closely with the Dallas Police Department and the community to get any information that would lead to the arrest of the assailant or assailants,” Myers said in an email. “We are also planning to hold safety forums in our community.”