Brandy Martell, Transgender Woman Killed in Oakland, Remembered

Categories: LGBT, Local News
Tiffany Woods
Brandy Martell
Nearly three weeks ago, we told you about 37-year-old Brandy Martell, who was gunned down in Oakland after a group of men learned she was transgender. While police are still working to catch the killers, friends and family are using Martell's death as a chance to draw attention to these type of horrific hate crimes that continue to plague our communities.

In an article featured today in our sister blog, the Exhibitionist, Vanessa L. Pinto, a local writer, gives us a glimpse into Martell's life and death. On April 29 at about 3:30 a.m., Martell was with some friends at 13th and Franklin streets when a group of men walking by made "catcalls" and aggressively hit on the women. One man in particular was interested in Martell, saying over and over how "fine" she was. According to witnesses, the women said to the men "You know we're trans, right?"

The men left, but returned two hours later, while Martell was sitting in her car with friends. One of them opened fire on Martell, shooting her in the genitals before she was shot twice in the chest.

A passerby attempted to perform CPR on Martell, who was still gripping her cellphone.The last call she had made was to her mother. Here's what that anonymous source told Pinto:

The phone was still in her hand, and when they lifted it up, there was still tension in her arm. So the officer got back from the car and stood back. I saw her eyes roll back and I knew it was over. And then the phone slid out of her hand. My reaction was to grab it before it fell.

Martell, who was a peer advocate at Tri-City Health Center, was buried by her family under her birth name, Milton Massey Jr. However, friends and community members later gathered at the corner of 13th and Franklin to remember her just as she was: a woman.

Read the full story on Martell on the Exhibitionist.

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