A trans woman and activist who tirelessly worked to battle transphobia was allegedly murdered last weekend in Canada and a suspect has been arrested.
Julie Berman, 51, based in Toronto, had for years exerted energy in raising awareness of the rocketing rates of anti-trans violence across the city.
She lit candles and delivered potent and inspirational speeches at Transgender Day of Remembrance vigils, loved ones and colleagues said.
But according to authorities, she was killed in a downtown boarding home near the corner of Brunswick Avenue and Harbord Street, a residential neighbourhood with fish and chips eateries and university accommodation.
Toronto Police said officers were called to the scene, near Bathurst and Bloor Streets, at around 2:20pm on December 20, the Toronto Sun reported.
‘Let the lights shine on the wonderful life and courageous advocacy of Julie Berman’.
While information is scant, detectives alleged that the victim suffered from head injuries and Toronto local Colin Harnack was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
She was swiftly taken to hospital, but medics pronounced her death later that day.
More from PinkNews
Local authorities have yet to confirm she is trans, but numerous loved ones and community leaders have identified her and gathered to mourn their loss.
“Let the lights shine on the wonderful life and courageous advocacy of Julie Berman, a trans woman from Toronto who was murdered this weekend,” said Freddie Arps, a legal aid.
“Another trans woman, taken from the world too soon,” explained Karl Jennings, a trans activist.
“She had reported harassment to some of her friends, earlier in the week – though I have not heard yet if this is connected to her murder.
“Sadly the first transgender death since the yearly November 20th memorial – sadly the first Toronto name on the 2020 list.”
Pride Toronto confirmed her passing on December 24, describing Berman as a “staunch supporter […] and a good person.
“She will be truly missed,” organisers wrote on the group’s Facebook page.
Moreover, community leaders stated that the suspect in her reported killing is not known to be a member of the LGBT+ community, The Globe and Mailreported.