Sumaya Dalmar ("Sumaya Ysl")Age 26
22 Feb 2015
Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
TDoR list ref: tgeu/22-Feb-2015/Sumaya Dalmar Ysl
Sumaya was found unresponsive on Sunday 22nd February in a home in Danforth Village in eastern Toronto. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy proved inconclusive and her death was never ruled a homicide. However, reportedly she had been seen being chased by a man hours before.
Described as a “bold, brave and brilliant young woman who loved her friends fiercely,” members of both Toronto’s LGBT and Somali communities are mourning her loss.
Though police say her death has been ruled not a homicide, posts saying Dalmar — who was also known as Sumaya Ysl — was a victim of murder spread quickly on social media. They asked why there had been no statement from police, why there was no media coverage and how the death of yet another trans woman of colour could be met with such silence.
In cases of “sudden death,” police do not typically release details of either the victim or the circumstances surrounding their death. In this case, however, police released a statement after requests for information.
On Tuesday afternoon, Toronto Police posted a statement to Facebook saying Dalmar was found unresponsive after a call from the Danforth Road and Main Street area. They said autopsy results were inconclusive and toxicology tests are pending.
Sumaya was born in Somalia and had migrated to Canada with her family as a child. In 2012 she was the subject of a short documentary and photography exhibition by the award-winning Somali-Canadian artist Abdi Osman. It described her as undergoing speech therapy training and being “actively involved in the transgender community”.
Her friends described her as 'a bold, brave and brilliant young woman'. Despite this, reportedly she was estranged from her family, who opposed her transition and refused to release any information about her death.
Details remain sparse and what appears to be deliberate radio silence on the part of the Toronto Police Service and her birth parents continues to feed speculation about what exactly happened to Sumaya. What we do know is that the senseless violence against the trans- community needs to end and that begins with wider media coverage and an understanding that people who are transgender deserve equal protection under the law.
But with the backdrop of shocking statistics on violence against the trans community in North America and amid all the online speculation, police issued a statement on Facebook saying officers “are conducting a thorough investigation”.
TvT project: The Independent UK 25.02.2015 & Ravishly 05.03.2015