Adding to the growing death toll of transgender women of color across the nation, Nina Pop, 28, was found stabbed to death in southeast Missouri on Sunday (May 3).
Pop was found in her apartment in Sikeston, Missouri, with multiple stab wounds, according to the Associated Press.
Sikestown’s police chief, James McMillen says that although the motive has not yet been determined, investigators are looking into the possibility of a hate crime.
No arrests have been made.
With the region’s major case squad and Missouri State Highway Patrol assisting in the investigation, the death of Nina Pop is at least the 10th violent death of a transgender or gender nonconforming person this year and the fifth in the last month, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ civil rights organization.
The organization also states that five most recent victims were transgender women of color.
“We are seeing an epidemic of violence that can no longer be ignored. Transgender and gender nonconforming people, especially trans women of color, risk our lives by living as our true selves -- and we are being violently killed for doing so,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative said.
National Center for Transgender Equality is looking at the case of Nina Pop as an example of why Missouri needs to rapidly implement LGBTQ nonsidcrimination protections, as told by the Gay City News.
“Transgender people — and particularly transgender women of color — are facing a wave of violence,” Mara Keisling, NCTE’s executive director, said in a statement. “Police and other government officials must do more to keep transgender people safe, to thoroughly investigate crimes against out community, and to stop enacting laws that enable transgender people to be targeted.”
The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, a bill that would include sexual orientation and gender identity to the Missouri Human Act, have yet to pass through the State Legislature, despite its multiple attempts.
“We must be outraged by this news and we must channel that outrage into action immediately. These crimes must be reported, investigated and prosecuted. These lives must be mourned, honored and fought for. What we are doing is not enough. HRC mourns alongside all those who know and loved Nina, and we will continue our tireless fight to ensure a future where living one’s truth can never become a death sentence,” said Tori Cooper.