Transgender woman Katherine Johnson of Little Rock, R.I.P.

Katherine Johnson of Little Rock

Katherine Johnson’s last Facebook profile picture.

Transgender woman Katherine Johnson of Little Rock Arkansas took her own life Jan 5, 2016. While her family’s obituary misgenders her and uses her birth name, her friends posted about Katherine on her facebook profile commiserating with one another, remembering and commemorating the life of transgender woman Katherine Johnson of Little Rock Arkansas.

The Transgender Violence Facebook group first alerted us to this tragedy by sharing a post by Adam Lodestone who wrote “Safe Passage to our sister, Katherine Johnson, of Little Rock, Arkansas ~ who took her own life, Tuesday, January 5, 2016. She was born in Pine Bluff on February 26, 1990. Katherine had served in the United States Navy and was a current student at UALR.
(TW: The official obituary, published by Katherine’s family, should anyone read it, lists her deadname and misgenders her)

Katherine Johnson, of Little Rock

Adam continues. “As I read through her posts and as I witness her as seen through the eyes of her friends and family, I see that Katherine was an artistic, optimistic, passionate, funny, wise, and loving soul who always had time to listen to others ~ was always willing to help others. Her friends give their testimony, below. I could think of no more fitting dedication than that.”

“A young Arkansas transgender woman named Katherine Johnson recently took her own life through suicide. Those that knew her her are saying on Facebook that her family did not support her transition. Now, the family is disrespecting her identity in death by using her former name (known in the trans community as “dead name”) in her obituary. Another tragedy unfolding in our community.” – Evelyn Rios

Andrea Zekis Policy Director at Basic Rights Oregon and Victory Empowerment Fellow at Victory Fund & Institute wrote:
“I’m terribly saddened to lose a friend. Katherine Johnson was referred to me when I led a support group in Little Rock. She worked so hard, holding jobs at the Banana Republic and Big Orange (the fruit salad, as I would put it.) that she would not have a lot of time for socializing. Still, I felt so happy to assist her with the name change process, and even invited her to take part in a paid photo shoot for an educational guide, which helped her pay the bills. She was beautiful inside and out, but she faced a tragedy that’s all too common in the transgender community. Suicide. It’s so important to check in on people, tell them how much you love them, and we never forget how vulnerable and fragile life is. Check yourself today, take care of your self care…then do what you can to come together and never forget her. ‪#‎katherinejohnson‬”

Editor in Chief at

Kelli Busey an outspoken gonzo style journalist has been writing since 2007. In 2008, she brought the Dallas Advocate on-line and has articles published by the Reconciling Ministries Network, The Transsexual Menace, The Daily Kos, Frock Magazine the TransAdvocate, the Dallas Voice and The Advocate. Kelli, an avid runner is editor in chief at Planet Transgender which she founded in 2007.

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4 Responses to Transgender woman Katherine Johnson of Little Rock, R.I.P.

  1. trilesh January 9, 2016 at 11:09 am

    hi there i want a partner for whole life from one of u to whome i will love unconditionally and will marry her and accept as she is

    • Katie January 10, 2016 at 3:41 am

      Christ trilesh. Not the time or place.

  2. Tabitha Martin January 10, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I dont want to take anything away from her. I dident know her. But i want to make a statement for the rest of our up and coming little sisters.

    You toughed it out this long. Dont quit your race just when you have broken from the pack.

    Being trans, alone, in the closet, is hard. You cry, you dream, you fantasize, you watch basic girl moments like “sweet 16, homecoming Queen, cheerleading, prom, ect slip on by. Impossible to obtain by simple default of a “Y” chromosome. Oh how i wanted a Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven, or a Barbie when i was 8. You hit puberty and you cry in the shower every day as you watch your curves disappear, you body masculinizes, your beautiful voice becomes Buffalo Bills (silence of the lambs), ect. You think desperately of ways to “cut it off”, but fear and pain stop you. And you hate that too.

    Then you find the words Transgender and Transsexual, and SRS/GRS. Its a LONG, painful, EXPENSIVE process of jumping through hoops, cutting red tape, fighting tooth and nail for every INCH of acceptance, even from those you love, and who are supposed to love and support you. Its facing your limitations on appearance or other setbacks, then learing to minimize or eliminate those setbacks. Learning all over again simple things like how to dress, manners and mannerisms. Some come naturally, some do not. We ALL have our banes. And then there is the money… but one who goes out drinking or drugging, partying and those who cant stop buying their video games, tech gear, net flix, and other such things WONT ever have the money for surgery. PRIORITIES……. smoking ciggy’s and playing xbox wong save you from the misery of being trapped in the wrong body.

    Its a hard path to walk. You WILL loose things that you cherish.

    But dont look at it as if you are a victim. Dont blame and curse God. Dont let this cruel world laugh as you give in and kill yourself. Dont let all that hates us and wants us wiped out, win…

    Instead, say to everyone and everything, “challenge accepted”. Then put on your Big Girl Panties, kick some ass, and blossom into the woman that has been chained down inside of you since from your earliest of memories.

    Be strong. Be there for and support each other. Prove everyone wrong. And dont do their dirty work for them by throwing in the towel and taking your own life. Your continued survival, your success, you thriving, is your victory and their defeat.

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