BTWI Statement on the Death of Ariyanna Mitchell

MAY 10, 2022 DALLAS, TX – Black Transwomen, Inc, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advocacy for African American trans women in minority communities released the following statement:

BTWI expresses our condolences for the tragic killing of one of our Black trans sisters, a 17-year-old girl and high school student named Ariyanna Mitchell who was a resident of Hampton, Virginia. According to family and friends, Ariyanna enjoyed dancing and always had a smile on her face. 

In Hampton Police Division communications about her murder, Ariyanna has been misgendered, and official reports continue to refer to her by her legal name. According to the police, her death is still under investigation and the motive is unknown. 

However, some media outlets such as the Human Rights Coalition report that Ariyanna was shot by the suspect while protecting her friend during a fight that broke out at a party. 

The suspect allegedly questioned her gender identity and shot her upon receiving her response, suggesting that the shooting was motivated by transphobia. Investigators have made an arrest in connection with the case.

Ariyanna is one of at least 11 transgender or non-conforming people that have been violently murdered this year. Transgender people—particularly Black transgender women—continue to experience increased rates of violence as well as legal and social discrimination. 

Despite this, BTWI remains determined in our mission to uplift and empower Black transfeminine individuals, as well as the overall transgender community. If you are a Black transfeminine person, visit our website to learn more about our services and resources.