PHOTOS: Jenny De Leon memorialized at Tampa Transgender Day of Remembrance

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On Saturday, Nov. 20, Tampa PFLAG organizers held a vigil  at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square to honor transgender people who have lost their lives to a culture that imposes discrimination and violence upon them.

Washington Post says at least 45 transgender and nonbinary people have been the victims of fatal violent attacks this year, making 2021 the deadliest year on record for the groups of people.

PFLAG points out that these are just the deaths we know of, not necessarily the entire amount of Trans people who have died. “Many of these stories go unreported—or misreported,” the group wrote. And unfortunately, transgender youth experience bullying at higher rates than straight youth, which can lead them to commit suicide, further blurring the numbers.

"It turns out that one of the 45 beautiful souls (that is 45 that we know of) that have lost their lives way too soon this year was that of one of my former youth and PFLAG Tampa family members,” Lucas Wehle of PFLAG  Tampa wrote about the incident.

On Nov. 2, Tampa Police (TPD) said a body was found in Sulphur Springs outside a home near 9th Street and Fairbanks Avenue. That person was 25-year-old Jenny De Leon, a member of PFLAG’s Tampa Bay chapter.

Jenny’s family has created a fundraiser to help with funeral costs and other expenses. Her sister wrote that Jenny was, “...a wonderful person with a beautiful soul who touched the lives of those around her. We are all devastated by this deep heartfelt loss.”

PFLAG—which has 400 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters—is the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, their parents and families, and allies.

TPD has not made more information about Jenny’s murder available and is asking anyone with information about her death to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477.—Ray Roa

Reporting by Justin Garcia was used in this recap.

11/20/2021 | Photos by Dave Decker