Ashanti Carmon was about 16 years old when she first stood out on K Street in the nation’s capital to look for sex work. Rejected by her family for her identity as a transgender woman, she was homeless and desperate.
In the decade that followed, Carmon moved from friends’ couches to budget motels, finding support from a community of other transgender women in Washington. She fell in love, moved in with her boyfriend and sought jobs at fast food restaurants, her friends said. She started relying less and less on sex work, knowing how dangerous the streets could be for someone like her.
But last weekend, she was back on Eastern Avenue, a popular strip for sex workers and a gathering place for transgender women, straddling the border between Northeast Washington and Maryland. At 6:20 a.m. on March 30, police were called to the 5000 block of Jost Street in Prince George’s County, Md., just off Eastern Avenue, to reports of gunfire.
Carmon, 27, had been shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at the scene.