Anti-violence rally supporting the Trans community held in North Adams

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (NEWS10) – A rally was held in the Berkshires Saturday, demanding an end to the murders of transgender women and gender non-conforming people.

This comes after police say a local trans activist was violently killed by her husband last month in her North Adams home.

NEWS10 ABC spoke with those who gathered at city hall.

“We’re here in grief, we’re here in anger, but we’re also here to celebrate the lives that we’ve lost,” said Kenneth Mercure of Berkshire Pride.

On January 5th, 42-year-old Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien was found dead in her Veazie Street home.

Police say her husband; 47-year-old Mark Steele-Knudslien hit her numerous times in the head with a hammer, before stabbing her with a knife.

“What we know is that in relationships where one of the partners is Trans there’s a 30 to 50 percent chance that they are more likely to experience that kind of violence,” said Jahaira DeAlto of Berkshire Pride.

Six days later on January 10th, Trans woman Viccky Gutierrrez was killed by a man who allegedly robbed her then left her body to burn inside a home in Los Angeles, California.

“It’s not even March yet and we’ve seen four Trans people killed for being who they are for loving who they love and for living their life,” DeAlto said.

While Steele-Knudsliens death marked the first recorded transgender murder of 2018, 2017 was the deadliest year on record for Trans people in the united states.

According to the human rights campaign, 28 Transgender people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means.

“We should not be afraid to go out of our homes.  We should not be afraid to walk on our streets.  We should not be afraid to be ourselves,” said Kenneth Mercure.

Nat says they came here today to stand up for Christa, Viccky and all Transgender victims of violence and they’re hoping to turn their anger and pain into action.

“One Trans murder is one murder too many,” said Jahaira DeAlto. “We’re here, we’ve been here. We’re not abnormal, this is not an illness, this is not a fad and it’s not an anomaly. If humanity matters to you then this should matter to you as well.”

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