Transgender rights activist Julie Berman was killed in Toronto on Sunday, The Globe and Mail reports.
Berman was found by Toronto police with serious head injuries in a home in the city’s Brunswick and Harbord Street area. Police took her to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Berman was 51.
A hairdresser and a dedicated trans activist, Berman worked to spread awareness about the difficulties the trans community has faced, including discrimination and violence.
“It’s really heartbreaking ... The same thing that she was trying to be vocal about happened to her,” said Davina Hader, a friend of the victim, to the Globe and Mail.
Authorities have charged Colin Harnack, 29, with second-degree murder, according to The Globe and Mail. Hader told the paper that Harnack was not known to the LGBT community.
A study published by the Trans PULSE project in 2015 found that trans people are often the tragets of violence, the news source reports. Twenty percent of Ontario’s trans population reported being physically or sexually assaulted for being trans, with 34 percent saying they had been verbally harassed, in the study.
In the United States, there were 24 deaths of transgender or gender nonconforming people due to violence in 2019, according to the Human Rights Commission.
Updated at 3:45 p.m.