Fenway Health staff woke up Monday morning along with the rest of the local LGBTQIA+ community to the loss of Jahaira Dealto, a transgender activist and member of the local ballroom community. Jahaira was stabbed to death on Sunday, along with another woman whose family was living with Jahaira. That woman’s husband has been arrested for their murders.
Fenway’s Violence Recovery Program (VRP) team and Fenway staff who knew Jahaira are heartbroken by her loss.
“This was a human being. This was a real person, with friends, family, hobbies, and emotions. The gravity of her death cannot only be measured by how she contributed. Every single loss, every single act of violence against a transgender individual, matters. Jahaira Dealto mattered,” said Lauren Kourabas, LICSW, VRP Manager.
Anti-transgender violence continues to disproportionately target transgender women of color.
“This is a big loss for the trans community and the ballroom community here and I think a lot of folks are in shock,” said Fari Shakur, a VRP Outreach Worker and Advocate. “She was an activist, larger-than-life personality, hilarious, and passionate about making sure that trans people, our voices, and existence no longer remained invisible.”
“After seeing Jahaira speak at a MOVA conference, I was just blown away by her words, her presence, and her story, said Dory Welch, the VRP’s Western Massachusetts Advocate. “I am so sorry to hear of this. What a huge loss. This news both saddens and sickens me. I met her briefly but that time spent with her was breathtaking and monumental.”
“It is important to normalize the emotional reaction/response to digesting this and other news of traumatic loss, whether you are overwhelmed, feeling frozen, numb, angry, confused, shut down or experiencing the desire to spring in to action. Making time to feel whatever may be coming up, and connecting with others for support is crucial,” said Lauren Kourabas.
Jahaira was a founding organizer of Trans Resistance MA and anyone who would like to honor her memory is asked to make a donation to the Transgender Emergency Fund in her name.
The Violence Recovery Program is here for members of the community who need us. If you, or someone you know is affected by Jahaira Dealto’s death or has experienced violence directly or indirectly, we encourage you to connect with your community and the supports that are most meaningful to you. Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program is also a resource for anyone who has experienced anti-LGBTQIA+ violence. Call the Violence Recovery Program Consultation Line for more information at 617.927.6250. For 24-hour support, call the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program’s bilingual hotline at 212.714.1141.