UPDATE: Since our press release this morning (below), we’ve learned that Draya McCarty of Hammond was found dead in Baton Rouge, not Amite. McCarty’s death has not yet been ruled a homicide. An investigation is ongoing. We apologize for sharing information that turned out not to be accurate. Unfortunately, we often have to rely heavily on the word of community members since law enforcement does not often share helpful information about cases involving the trans community. As it stands, no information has yet been released publicly about Draya’s death.
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BATON ROUGE — Earlier this morning, Louisiana Trans Advocates received news that two Black trans women have been found murdered near Amite this past week, Draya McCarty of Hammond and Shakie Peters (32) of Denham Springs.
The family of Draya McCarty has not received adequate information from law enforcement officials, and St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Department has only publicly released information about the murder of Shakie Peters, while deadnaming and misgendering her. Amite City Police Department has released no information to the public or the media about either of these two murders.
The murders of Draya and Shakie are the 19th and 20th reported murders of trans people in the U.S. since the beginning of 2020, however the numbers are likely significantly higher given the frequent rate of such murders going unreported or misreported. Were it not for the advocacy of the family members of both Shakie and Draya, Louisiana Trans Advocates would not have learned of these two murders at all.
Louisiana Trans Advocates calls for the law enforcement agencies investigating these murders to issue more information to the public and to the families of the deceased and for the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office and members of the press to correct the name and gender of Shakie Peters in reports that have been issued to the public.
Amite and Louisiana leaders must speak out against these killings, against the ongoing, systemic devaluation of trans people that pervades our media and politics, and against the institutional racism that places almost all of this burden on trans women of color.
As we mourn the loss of Shakie and Draya, we must double down our efforts to ensure that all trans people across the state have access to safety.