The NYPD is investigating the death of Brenda Bostick*, 59, a transgender woman who was assaulted in Chelsea on April 25 and succumbed to her injuries on Thursday. She is the tenth transgender woman of color killed in the United States this year, according to GLAAD.
“This is a dispute between two individuals who reside in the same building on 27th Street,” an NYPD spokesperson told the Voice of the attack. No arrests have been made, and the assault is “not determined to be motivated by hate at this time,” the spokesperson said.
Police say they arrived at 373 Seventh Avenue around 10:30 p.m. on April 25, responding to a 911 call reporting an ongoing assault. Police later told the New York Post that Bostick, who was black, had been struck in the head with an unidentified object. She was taken to Bellevue Hospital but died of her injuries more than a week after the attack. The chief medical examiner has since classified Bostick’s death as a homicide, giving the cause of death as “complications from blunt impact injury” to the head. Some reports suggest Bostick may have been homeless and was staying at a shelter near where she was attacked. (A spokesperson for the Department of Homeless Services did not immediately respond to our request for comment.)
In response to Bostick’s death, GLAAD released a statement highlighting the ten transgender women who have been killed this year, all of whom were women of color. The most recent before Bostick was Chay Reed, shot to death in Miami only a few days before the Chelsea attack.
GLAAD called on the media for “increased and accurate” reporting on the deaths.
“With violence against transgender people at an all-time high and rising, national media coverage is severely lacking,” the group said on its website. “The media must do a better job of reporting these murders and bringing needed attention to a community under vicious and violent attack.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2016 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people, with 22 violent deaths reported for the year.
“Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias,” the group wrote on its website. “In others, the victim’s transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, such as forcing them into homelessness.”
*UPDATE: After publication of this article, and many others in the press that identified Bostick by this name and gender, the Voice was contacted by a social services provider who worked with Bostick who clarified that he identified as male and by the name Kenneth Bostick. The Voice has subsequently run two articles correcting the record. We regret the error.