The San Antonio Gender Association will recall the life of Kenne McFadden on August 8, which would have been her 27th birthday. McFadden was murdered in San Antonio last April, becoming the 12th transgender person murdered in the U.S. this year.
A memorial, which is being held in conjunction with the Pride Center and Politiqueers, will begin with a candlelight vigil on the Riverwalk and conclude with a reception for the community and McFadden’s family and friends at the Hermann Sons Ballroom. Several local community leaders, including state Representative Diana Arevalo, are expected to attend.
“We feel the need to pay special attention to Kenne’s murder,” SAGA wrote in a press release, “not only was she one of San Antonio’s own, but there are far too many women like her out there who have been targeted and have been lost. No one should have to go through the suffering being endured by her mother and her loved ones. No one deserves abuse for being authentically themselves.”
Since McFadden’s death, four more transgender women have been murdered in the U.S., bringing the total to 16 this year.
On April 9, a River Walk barge operator found McFadden’s fully-clothed body floating in the San Antonio River near East Commerce and South St. Mary’s streets. There were no obvious signs of trauma on her body. In June, San Antonio police ruled her death a homicide.
Local media reports initially misgendered McFadden so that trans advocates were not immediately aware of her death. It wasn’t until police spoke to a friend of McFadden’s that it was learned she was transitioning.
Police confirmed they have a suspect identified in the murder — an acquaintance of McFadden who is already behind bars on unrelated charges.
In SAGA’s announcement of the vigil, JoAnn McFadden, Kenne’s mother, says it is her hope that letting trans people know there are others like them in San Antonio will prevent the kind of isolation that Kenne faced in life, and help protect the lives of other trans women of color.
Candlelight vigil for Kenne McFadden begins at 7 p.m. in the vicinity of 731 River Walk. Reception to follow at 8 p.m. at Hermann Sons Ballroom, 515 S. St. Mary’s St. The Hermann Sons Ballroom has very kindly donated their space for the event.