Matthew Angelo SpampinatoAge 21
9 Feb 2022
New Castle, Delaware (USA)
TDoR list ref: tgeu/tdor2022/10-Feb-2022/Bunty
Matthew was killed during a hit and run incident on Wednesday 9th February.
Matthew Angelo Spampinato, a 21-year-old white transgender man, was a barista at a Starbucks in New Castle, Delaware. Customers and employees described him as bright, kind and “a breath of fresh air.” One coworker said “He was always so selfless. He would always ask how everybody was doing even when he wasn’t having a good day himself.” A regular at the store described him as having “a smile that could turn a day around.”
On Feb. 9, 2022, Spampinato was killed in a hit and run car crash in New Castle. Spampinato’s death is at least the fifth violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2022. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported. In 2021, despite limitations in reporting, HRC officially recorded the largest number of fatal trans violence incidents for a second consecutive year since we began tracking this violence in 2013.
According to local news, Spampinato had recently moved to Delaware after visiting a friend and falling in love with the area. After his move, he wrote on Instagram that he was “enjoying experiencing fall and winter in a new state for the first time.” He also shared updates on his transition on social media, describing that he waited four years to obtain a prescription for testosterone and writing “I’m glad I didn’t give up.”
Spampinato's cousin described him as “very headstrong…Once he set his mind on something, he went with it…I want people to think of him as a human being who had a family (and) who had people that loved him. I would give anything just to be able to see him.” Spampinato wrote that he realized he was not cisgender at age 13 and although not everyone in his life was supportive, he appreciated those who were.
Matthew’s death is tragic, but the one shining light was that he lived his life surrounded by people who loved and respected him. He was living his dream with a healthy support system. With all of the challenges trans and non-binary people face in society, including a disregard for our lives, it is so important for allies to celebrate and uplift our community. May Matthew never be forgotten by those who loved him and those who hold our community dear.”
Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative Police initially identified Spampinato by his birth name, but he was later confirmed as transgender and in the process of legally transitioning when he died. According to state police spokesman Sr. Cpl. Jason Hatchell, “investigators do not have any new leads on the driver that killed him.”
At the time he was hit he was walking towards the Starbucks where he worked as a barista. Police told the family Matthew was walking in the grass well away from traffic when he was hit.