Friends and family mourn the death of trans hairstylist Ashley Burton
Friends and family are mourning Ashley Burton, a Black trans hairstylist who was murdered earlier this month.
Atlanta police reportedly found the 37-year-old’s body shortly after 4:30am on April 11 in the breezeway of her apartment complex. Investigators say she was shot inside her home before fleeing outside, where she collapsed. So far a suspect has not been named, but according to 11 Alive, police believe this was a domestic-related shooting.
One activist said she is even considering detransitioning for her own safety.
A friend told Fox 5 that Burton, a South Carolina native who moved to Atlanta to pursue a career as a makeup artist and hairstylist, “was a very sweet young lady. She was very full of life really. It was always smiles and laughs with us whenever we work together.”
Burton’s mother and brother said they were unaware of any enemies she may have had and that they do not believe her gender identity had anything to do with her murder.
“Ashley was very loved all the way across the board, like from South Carolina to Atlanta,” Burton’s brother Patrick said. “The way my sibling moved in life, it was…take it or leave it. ‘This is how I am.’ You can respect it or neglect it, but Ashley put it out there and let that person know. It’s not going to be a secret.”
Burton’s cousin, Ivory Carter, said she believes that Burton knew her killer. Carter insisted that Burton would not have let a stranger into her home so late at night.
“I just want justice for my cousin,” she said. “I’m tired of all these incidents with transgender women just being pushed up under the rug. We are human beings.”
Burton is at least the ninth trans or nonbinary person to die by violence in the U.S. this year, according to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. The blog also notes that Burton was initially deadnamed and misgendered by both law enforcement and media following her death.
In a statement from the National Black Justice Coalition, director of public policy and programs Victoria Kirby York said that she was “deeply saddened” to hear of Burton’s death.
“I agree with Ashley’s cousin,” York said, “we are tired of the murders of trans women being pushed under the rug. They deserve justice, and their family, friends, and loved ones deserve closure. Local law enforcement must make solving the murders of trans people and protecting the community a priority. Our trans brothers and sisters deserve to live their lives without fear.”
Atlanta police are requesting that anyone with information about Burton’s murder call 404-577-8477.