Taja Gabrielle DeJesusAge 36
1 Feb 2015
San Francisco, California (USA)
TDoR list ref: tgeu/1-Feb-2015/Taja Gabrielle DeJesus
Taja was discovered stabbed to death on a stairwell in San Francisco’s Bayview District on Sunday 1st February.
James Hayes, 40, was found hanging by the neck from a fence and apparently "killed himself after the stabbing."
Taja was a Latina trans woman who lived in San Francisco, originally from San Jose. She worked with a trans organization called TRANS: THRIVE which serves the local transgender community. She was 36 years old. She has many people expressing shock, outrage and horror about her death – she was loved by many. She volunteered at a community food pantry. She liked Prince and Madonna. She loved living in San Francisco.
Her mother Pamela DeJesus gave this testimonial about Taja:
“I was a young mother, and I was raised in a very traditional family,” Pamela DeJesus said. “But I told my husband that we had to accept her no matter what. We knew she was going to deal with discrimination in the streets, but not at home. At home we needed acceptance.”
She said her daughter was active in her Bayview church and a volunteer at a food pantry. “Taja was beautiful inside and out,” she said through tears. “She was a rock for our family.”
Taja was different from an early age, her mother said. She remembered when Taja was 3 and asked, “When do I get to grow up and be a girl?”
As a teenager, Taja DeJesus was independent, her mother said, filing all the paperwork to get a job at 15 and often taking the train to San Francisco — “without permission,” her older sister, Erika, chimed in — because she knew the streets and dance clubs of San Francisco were more tolerant.
She loved music and used the money she earned to buy her first stereo, which typically played either Prince or Madonna. Eventually, she moved to the city, getting her own apartment in the Bayview, which she loved, according to her mom, even though it wasn’t the safest part of town.
“Whenever she had anything extra, she would give it away. That’s just how she was,” Pamela DeJesus said. “I don’t know how anybody could do this. But I’m proud of how strong and selfless she was. That’s what brings me peace.”
She said of the killing, “I don’t know how anybody could do this. But I’m proud of how strong and selfless she was. That’s what brings me peace.”
TvT project: The Advocate 09.02.2015 & Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents 06.02.2015