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Pooh Johnson Shot Dead in Shreveport, 35th Known Anti-Trans Murder of 2021

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday September 2, 2021
Originally published on September 2, 2021

Pooh Johnson, 25, a trans woman of color, was shot and killed on Aug. 23 in Shreveport, Louisiana, the Human Rights Campaign, which reports deadly anti-trans violence, reports.

"Johnson was an accomplished makeup artist under the name Titanizer," the HRC recounted. "Sadly, not much beyond this is publicly known about Johnson's life at this time."

According to local law enforcement, Johnson "was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds inside a vehicle shortly after 5:30 a.m." on Aug. 23, according to Gay City News.

"Authorities pledged to determine whether Johnson's identity played a role in the fatal shooting, but police also appeared to misgender the victim," GCN added.

"This epidemic of violence continues to take life after life and each senseless loss is devastating," said National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director Victoria Kirby York in a statement.

"The trans and non-binary community needs support in this moment and they need protection," York went on to say. "Lawmakers must introduce and pass legislation that will prioritize the safety of trans and gender non-conforming people. Law enforcement must work to hold those responsible for these murders accountable. Community members must put pressure on lawmakers and law enforcement to ensure the work gets done.

"We all must continue to fight back against the transphobia and bias that contributes to the violence we see."

Johnson's murder marks the 35th known instance of a transgender or gender non-conforming person being killed in 2021 the U.S. and its territories. Her death follows that of another trans woman of color, CoCo Chanel Wortham, also known as Miss Coco, who was shot to death on Aug. 7 in Dallas, Texas, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The actual number of trans murders may be even higher, the HRC noted, pointing out that the killings of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals can often "go unreported — or misreported," in part due to misgendering and deadnaming on the part of victims' families, law enforcement, and the media.

"HRC recorded 44 deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people in 2020, more than in any year since we began tracking this violence in 2013," the advocacy group recalled.

Tori Cooper, the HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, pointed out that last year's record might well be exceeded in 2021. "We are quickly approaching last year's record total of fatalities among transgender and gender non-conforming people," Cooper noted.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.