It only took five days in January before we had the first US murder of a transgender person in 2018. Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien was killed on Friday, January 5. Her husband Mark Steele-Knudslien walked into his local police department in North Adams, Massachusetts, and confessed to the crime, claiming he had “snapped” before killing her. He was arraigned for the crime of first-degree murder on Monday, January 8, where he entered a “not guilty” plea. He is being held without bail, as of this writing.
Christa was 42, and had been a prominent member of the New England trans community for years, having founded The Miss Trans Northampton beauty pageant in 2009, and the Miss Trans America pageant in 2014.
Watch for updates on this crime as I find out about them.
The vast majority of transgender persons who are murdered every year in this country are trans women of color, and most are younger than 40. Christa’s death should serve as a reminder that none of us should consider ourselves completely safe from violence and hatred.