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Reports are emerging from the Sergpipe in north-east Brazil which appear to confirm that Gabi Mattos, a 17-year-old trans teenager, has been shot dead in a targeted anti-trans attack which too place in the early hours of 19th February.

Police had initially claimed that the shooting was an unfortunate accident, with Mattos being caught in the crossfire when two people were firing at each other, but witnesses appear to be disputing this account.

Intention to kill

Activist Linda Brasil, a trans local councillor, tweeted that “there was no exchange of fire, but that the criminal ran after the victim and shot the victim with the intention to kill her.”

Ms Brasil has called for the case to be reopened, saying “We need to pressure the Public Ministry and the Court of Justice, so that the case is reopened and the investigations continue, and to continue denouncing and charging #JustiçaPorGabi and #JustiçaPorNatasha.”

Witness Gabriel Vaquer added, “My God… They killed a 17-year-old trans teenager here in Aracaju. She was killed by 2 men shot at point-blank range in the head in the neighbourhood where I was born and raised, the [Orlinha do Bairro Industrial]. PM investigates, but found that none of the site’s security cameras work.” 

Trans murder rate

One third of the murders of trans people worldwide are in Brazil, by several measures the world’s most dangerous place to be trans, with almost 300 fatalities in 2020/21, according to Transrespoect vs Transphobia Worldwide. 

For context, the trans murder rate in Brazil is three times than of Mexico, the second-placed country on the list, while the same two-year period saw no trans murders reported in either Germany or the UK and fewer than 20 across the whole of Europe (exc. Russia and Turkey).

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