TDoR 2021 / 2020 / December / 13 / Jaheim Bella Pugh

Jaheim Bella Pugh

Age 19

13 Dec 2020
Prichard, Alabama (USA)

TDoR list ref: tgeu/13-Dec-2020/Jaheim Pugh Jaheim Barbie

Jaheim Bella Pugh
Jaheim Bella Pugh [photo:]

Jaheim was killed while leaving a Christmas party.

Bella Pugh, a Black gender non-confirming [Editor's Note: this is incorrect] teen, was shot to death after a Christmas party erupted into a night of violence earlier this month. The 19-year-old was slain at a residence in Rosedale Avenue in Prichard, Alabama on 13 December.

Reports suggest that after Pugh was shot, party-goers waited 20 minutes before calling emergency services. Some did nothing, others took out their mobile phones and recorded.

Pugh’s mother Tiffany told Fox10 News that it was their rainbow-coloured jumpsuit that led to their murder, saying: “If [they] wasn’t wearing that dress [they] would still be alive.”

At least two other people attending the party were also injured, according to the Prichard City Police Department. Officers added that a suspect, James Lee James Jr, turned himself in for questioning 16 December, NBC15 News reported.

He was later charged with murder and two counts of second-degree assault – however, authorities said that they are not investigating Pugh’s death as a hate crime. Their family disagree with the decision.

Tiffany believes Pugh “was killed because of what [they] was wearing, not because of who [they] was or what [they] did. I loved [them] with everything in me, that’s why [they] could shine like [they] did. Everything I had I poured into [Bella].”

Pugh’s father Antonio Ruggs reflected: “Love your kids for who they are. Because you know one day they could be here, the next day they can be gone,” he added, according to MyNBC15.

Jaheim did not identify as trans, but was a newly out cisgender gay man who was exploring his identity.

Kudos to HRC for honoring Jaheim Bella Pugh, a murdered cisgender gay man on their TDoR page.

The trouble is that HRC identifies Jaheim Bella Pugh as a Gender Non-Conforming‘ person. While technically correct this term is easily conflated and misunderstood as it describes gender, not sex.

Jaheim Bella Pugh, according to his mother, was a 19-year-old cisgender gay man just beginning to learn who he was. Bella was the name of his new puppy which he adopted as his drag name.

After thorough research, I could not find anywhere that he self-identified as a gender non-conforming or transgender person. There was one person who posted a tribute identifying Bella as transgender but that has since been refuted by multiple sources.

The whole idea behind the TDoR project which honors our dead is to investigate with integrity each individual and how they died. This is critical so that we may know who they were. Prior to the first TDoR, a trans-peer-led initiative, those who murdered us were arrested but never served jail time for their crimes.

However, there is no honor in superimposing a narrative that fits your needs while intentionally disregarding facts about a person’s life and death.

Report added: 2 Jan 2021. Last updated: 12 Nov 2021

Trigger warning

This site contains reports of violence against transgender people, and links to detailed reports which contain graphic imagery.

Please continue with caution.


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