The local LGBTQ community will gather for a funeral and memorial service on Friday, July 12, in honor of Zoe Spears, a 23-year-old transgender woman who was murdered last month.
A viewing will be held at 10 a.m. at Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C., located at 474 Ridge St. NW, with the service, led by Bishop Allyson Abrams of Empowerment Liberation Cathedral, starting at 11 a.m.
Local transgender advocate Earline Budd confirmed that some of Spears’ sisters would be in attendance at the funeral.
“The transgender community condemns the murder of Zoe Spears,” Budd said in a release announcing the service, which she said was a chance to “lift Zoe Spears through song and service.”
“Zoe deserved so much more in life rather than being gunned down like an animal,” the announcement continues. “But a part of our closure is to bring the transgender community, family members, and officials together to say ‘farewell see you later’ through having a ‘Celebration of Life’ for this brave young woman taken too soon.”
Spears was shot to death on June 13, in the 600 block of 59th Avenue in Fairmount Heights, Md., just across the border from the District of Columbia, in an area where transgender women have been known to congregate.
She was murdered just three blocks away from where 27-year-old Ashanti Carmon, another trans woman, had been killed in April.
Spears and Carmon had known each other before their deaths, but there is no evidence that the two fatal shootings are related.
Prince George’s County Police are investigating both shootings, but do not have any suspects at this time. Anyone with information is asked to contact Prince George’s County Police at 301-772-4925.
Budd has created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to cover the costs of Spears’ burial, and is asking LGBTQ community members and allies alike to donate.
Thus far, the campaign has raised $3,140 for internment costs, which typically cost at least $4,000-5,000, with some cemeteries charging even higher costs.
As with Carmon, because Spears died on the Maryland side of Eastern Avenue, her family is ineligible for up to $6,000 for funeral and burial expenses through D.C.’s Crime Victims Compensation Program.
As such, her family and friends will be forced to pay out-of-pocket expenses and ask to be reimbursed by submitting a request to the Maryland Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
“Zoe Spears…was a vibrant and brilliant young transgender woman with so much to live for. She reminded me of when I was young and struggling to find the way,” Budd wrote on the GoFundMe page. “I honor and praise her for being who she was and not allowing anyone to tell her about how to be her authentic self. I am asking for donations to support giving this young woman who was taken away too soon a funeral that signifies ‘Dignity in Death.'”