Pooh Johnson Death: Transgender woman killed in Shreveport, Louisiana

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Pooh Johnson Death: 25-year-old Black transgender woman shot and killed in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Life and Cause of Death

Pooh Johnson, was a 25-year-old Black transgender woman. She was reportedly shot and killed in Shreveport, Louisiana last week.  Shreveport CBS news affiliate KSLA reported that Johnson was discovered with multiple gunshot wounds on the 23rd of August 2021, when the police was called to check out a car in the Cedar Grove neighbourhood. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the incidence.

Johnson was a makeup artist who was fondly called “Titanizer” by her clients. She often referred to her clients as being “Titanized”  after dolling them up. She was friendly and well known among local community members.

In the hours following her death and identification, local news outlets mis gendered Johnson, a common occurrence when reporting deaths of transgenders. According to statistics, Johnson’s death marks at least the 35th incident of fatal violence against a trans person in the United States in 2021. In 2020, a total of 44 transgender homicides were recorded.  Reports also showed that in late October 2020, a 20 year old trans woman (DeShauna Smith) was killed in her apartment. She was found with a gunshot wound.

LGBTQ+ advocates mourned Johnson’s loss in a year where the majority of victims of transphobic violence have likewise been Black trans women. Tori Cooper, director of Community Engagement for the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Transgender Justice Initiative, referred to her death as “tragic” and said the incident highlighted the need for resources to combat the ongoing “epidemic of violence” targeting the community.

Cooper in her statement via email said:

“It is heartbreaking to witness another Black trans woman stolen from us by transphobia and gun violence. We are quickly approaching last year’s record total of fatalities among transgender and gender non-conforming people.”

Victoria Kirby York, deputy executive director of National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), said the tragedy is a reminder “to fight back against the transphobia and bias that contributes to the violence we see,” both in daily life and in public policy. Louisiana lacks LGBTQ+ non-discrimination laws at the state-wide level, excludes transition-related healthcare in state employee benefits, and criminalizes the transmission of HIV, the latter of which disproportionately affects Black trans women.
“Each senseless loss is devastating,” she said in a statement. “The trans and non-binary community needs support in this moment and they need protection.”