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The National Black Justice Coalition Mourns the Death of Fifty Bandz


Fifty Bandz is the Fifth Transgender Person Murdered This Year

Contact: Anna Zuccaro |

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA — The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) mourns the loss of Fifty Bandz. Fifty Bandz, a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot by her former partner, on January 28th, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was 21 years old. On February 1st, friends celebrated her life with a balloon ceremony and a call for #JusticeForFifty

Those who knew Fifty are posting on social media to reminisce about her kindness and generosity, some expressing outrage and sorrow about the local government’s failure to affirm and protect trans people, including Fifty.

“These deaths, these murders of our trans and nonbinary siblings, are senseless,” said Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond, director of education programs and research at NBJC. “Our living community walks under the shadow of constant threat, and those we’re losing are, largely, just beginning their precious lives. Fifty Bandz is the fifth victim of transphobic violence that we know of since the start of this new year. Four of those stolen from us were Black women and all five victims were age 30 or younger. This is an emergency.”

Fifty Bandz’ killer has since been apprehended. However, because both the media and police misgendered Fifty, an especially common occurrence for transgender people, the investigation into her murder was stalled.

Notably, trans people experience dramatically higher rates of every form of violence than cisgender people, including domestic and intimate partner violence (IPV). A 2020 study found that “transgender individuals were 1.7 times more likely to experience any IPV, 2.2 times more likely to experience physical IPV, and 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual IPV.” According to the Human Rights Campaign, “54% of transgender people report having experienced some form of intimate partner violence [and] approximately 1 in 6 of the known cases of anti-transgender fatal violence from 2013-2018 are suspected to have been committed by an intimate partner.” 

Bandz is the fifth known violent death of a trans person in 2021 and the sixth trans person found dead in 2021. At this time last year, NBJC knew of one violent death in the transgender and nonbinary community, compared to the six deaths so far in 2021. According to NBJC’s Stolen Lives List, 2020 was the deadliest year on record for violent deaths in the transgender community, though some were undiscovered until 2021. 

“As we grapple with a racial reckoning and a global pandemic, we also face a relentless epidemic of transphobic violence and little to no protection for the community. We must all help bring this to an end,” added Dr. Darling-Hammond. 

Learn more about how to reduce gender based violence here and here

Learn more about advocating for local policy changes here

View the NBJC Stolen Lives list of trans and nonbinary siblings lost to violence and hate here

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.