Amanda MilanAge 25
18 Jun 2000
New York (USA)
TDoR list ref: tdor.info/18 Jun 2000/Amanda Milan
Amanda was killed by two men in front of a New York bus terminal.
At 4 a.m. on June 20, Amanda was waiting to catch a bus after leaving a get-together with her friends when a man by the name of Dwayne McCuller walked up to her and began to harass her. He yelled sentences ridden with expletives at her and phrases such as "I know what you have between your legs!" Amanda attempted to retort and challenged him to a fight. He threatened to shoot her so she began to walk away when another young man, Eugene Celestine, told McCuller that he had a knife. McCuller grabbed it, chased her down the street and stabbed her in the neck.
Passersby attempted to stop the bleeding and an ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital; however, despite their attempts, she died in less than an hour at St. Vincent's Hospital.
A man named David Anderson allegedly helped McCuller escape from the scene, but all three men were eventually caught.
McCuller was convicted in November 2002 of Milan's murder and sentenced to 17 years in prison. The New York transgender community was additionaly outraged that it wasn't classified by NYPD as a bias crime despite the fact that several witnesses heard McCuller hurl anti-transgender statements and threats to Milan.
David Anderson was convicted of hindering prosecution and received a sentence of one and a half to three years in prison for attempting to help Dwayne McCuller leave New York after the killing. Eugene Celestine, the man who handed McCuller the knife that was used to kill Milan went to trial in 2003.
At the time she was killed Amanda was doing sex work to fund reassignment surgery.
One of the disturbing things that hasn't been confirmed but had become legend in the retelling of this story is that the cabbies, street vendors and other people in the vicinity that night allegedly cheered as McCuller cut Milan's throat.
The murder outraged and galvanized the New York transgender community. A memorial service was organized three weeks later for Milan on July 23 that was attended by 300 people. The crowd at the Metropolitan Community Church on 36th Street included fashion industry people, national and community transgender activists and the general public.
Octavia was right when she stated at the memorial service, "Death will not be the last word for Amanda Milan." Amanda's death became like the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the spark that once again galvanized the New York transgender community into action.