Meraxes Medina, a 24-Year-Old Latina Trans Woman, Was Killed in Los Angeles

This article contains descriptions of violence against a transgender woman.

Meraxes Medina, a Latina trans woman and makeup artist, was shot and killed in Los Angeles on March 19. She was 24 years old.

Medina’s body was found at about 8:50 P.M. on Hoover Street between West 59th St. and Slauson Avenue on March 21, with one gunshot wound in the back of her head, police told the Los Angeles Times last week.

Surveillance footage from a nearby sports bar reportedly showed a person getting out of a light-colored sedan to dump Medina’s body on the street before fleeing the scene. Police told the Times they found Medina’s broken fingernail and a can of Mace lying nearby, implying there may have been a struggle.

On April 2, police arrested 29-year-old Bryan Blackmon as a suspect in Medina’s killing, according to KTLA (which used Medina’s deadname in their story). Blackmon, who was previously arrested in 2014 on burglary charges, was jailed with bail set at over $3 million, according to Los Angeles County prisoner records as of publication.

Medina had just turned 24 in February and was a passionate makeup artist who had worked for Universal Studios Hollywood, according to social media posts reviewed by Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. She often used the nickname “ChunLi” online, referencing the iconic Street Fighter character and possibly the Nicki Minaj song of the same name.

The “Figueroa Corridor,” where Medina and the still-unnamed March 21 victim were killed, has long been a popular destination for sex workers and clients. Police believe both victims were sex workers but did not provide basis for that claim, as reported by the LA Times. Jen Elizabeth of the harm reduction organization The Sidewalk Project warned the LA Times that people should not assume trans women are sex workers just because they are “provocatively dressed,” but pointed out that trans sex workers are uniquely vulnerable to violence by clients lashing out.

“In that shame comes the rage, and they’re pissed off,” Elizabeth explained, “and then they look at this woman and feel as though it’s their fault that they’re gay.”

A memorial GoFundMe established by a friend in Medina’s name had received over $1800 in donations at time of writing. According to an ongoing tally of reported deaths by Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, Medina is at least the seventh trans person to die violently this year, and the third trans Latina.

“Meraxes was a young woman who deserved to live out a long and fulfilling life,” said Tori Cooper of the Human Rights Campaign in a statement Tuesday, calling for stronger gun control legislation. “We need to come together and remind everyone, especially lawmakers and politicians, that our lives are worth saving and worth living.”

Get the best of what’s queer. Sign up for Them’s weekly newsletter here.