NCAVP Mourns the Homicide of Ciara McElveen, a Black Transgender Woman Killed in New Orleans, Louisiana; the 6th Reported Killing of a Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming Person NCAVP Has Responded to in 2017

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The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) mourns the death of Ciara McElveen, a Black transgender woman, killed in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 27th, 2017. According to media reports, Ciara was found stabbed to death in the 7th Ward. Local media reports originally misgendered Ciara but local advocates and those who knew Ciara worked to correct press accounts. Ciara’s homicide comes only two days after another Black transgender woman, Chyna Gibson, was shot and killed in New Orleans on February 25, 2017. Local transgender activist Syria Sinclaire spoke out about these recent homicides saying “We should have the right to live our lives open and free and not be taunted and traumatized by the general public if they don’t approve.”

BreakOUT!, an NCAVP member organization in New Orleans, issued a statement, addressing both homicides, saying: “BreakOUT! is deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Ciara McElveen and Chyna Dupree, two Black transgender women murdered in New Orleans in less than 36 hours…we have so much other work to do in our communities- we need jobs, housing, education, and access to safe spaces – and yet we continue to have to simply fight for our lives.”

“We are heartbroken for the city of New Orleans, and we send our love and thoughts to the communities who have endured the loss of two members within the space of two days.” said Emily Waters, Senior Manager of National Research and Policy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. “NCAVP has already responded to more homicides of transgender people in 2017 than we did at this time last year, and the current political context is far more challenging. As we face an administration which devalues the safety and rights of transgender people and people of color, we must work tirelessly to support transgender friends, family, and community members.”

NCAVP’s most recent hate violence report, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIVAffected Hate Violence in 2015, recorded 24 reported hate violence homicides of LGBTQ people, a 20% increase from the 20 reported anti-LGBTQ homicides in 2014. Of the 24 reported homicides, 62% of the victims were people of color. Sixteen (67%) of the 24 reported homicide victims were transgender and gender non-conforming. Of the total number of homicides, thirteen (54%) of the victims were transgender women of color.

In 2016, NCAVP responded to the homicides of 23 transgender and gender nonconforming people, the highest ever recorded by the Coalition.

NCAVP is a resource for anyone who experiences violence. For more information, or to locate an antiviolence program in your area, please contact us at or visit us online. Join NCAVP in our efforts to prevent and respond to LGBTQ and HIV-affected violence. To learn more about our national advocacy and receive technical assistance or support, contact us at

If you are a member of the media, please contact:

Sue Yacka, New York City Anti-Violence Project: or 212-714-1184