HRC Mourns Mercedes Successful

Beth Sherouse

Mercedes Successful, a black transgender woman from Haines City, Fla. was found fatally shot in a parking lot last Sunday. Advocates are only now learning of her death because local press reports have continued to misgender her and use her birth name.

According to reports, Mercedes was a well-known performer in local clubs and the ballroom community, and was the winner of the 2014 Gay Caribbean USA Pageant, where she represented her home country, Jamaica.

Local authorities have not identified a suspect or a motive in the killing.

Transgender people, and transgender women of color in particular, face disproportionate levels of fatal violence. At least nine other transgender people have been killed this year, and several others have died under unclear circumstances.

Our sincere condolences to the friends and family of Mercedes Successful.

For more information on addressing anti-transgender violence, visit

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