Nino Fortson, a 36-year-old transgender man, was killed on May 13. According to the Advocate, Fortson is the tenth known trans homicide victim of 2018, and the first transgender man.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that on the morning of the 13th, Fortson was involved in a public argument with two women and two men. The altercation occurred at approximately 2 am in the Northwest Metro Atlanta area, specifically in the vicinity of the Woods Drive and Hollowell Parkway intersection.
Witnesses have reported that Fortson fired a small firearm into the air, and then left the scene. A few minutes later, more gunshots rang out. This time, the witness said, the discharge ended with Fortson on the ground. The other persons vanished. Fortson later died from his wounds at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Allies and friends of Fortson were quick to call out the media for deadnaming Fortson in initial reports. According to Project Q, Fortson also went by the names of Nino Starr and Nino Blahnik, and was a member of the Atlanta LGBTQ ballroom scene.
Word spread through social media. Kamaro Blahnik (associated with Atlanta’s House of Blahnik) mentioned Fortson. In the post, Blahnik said that Fortson walked the “Butch Realness” category at Atlanta balls. A person named Tera, who self-identified as Fortson’s partner, confirmed details of the Fortson killing.
Human Rights Campaign noted Fortson’s death, adding that “Since 2013, HRC has tracked 116 incidents of fatal violence against transgender and non-binary people. Of these, 65 have been victims of gun violence. In 2017, 16 out of the 28 deaths were the result of gun violence.”
In a statement, Atlanta-based advocacy nonprofit Transcending Barriers said in that in 2017 four trans women had been murdered in the state of Georgia.
The shooter has yet to be identified.