Selena Reyes-Hernandez, 37, lived on the Southwest Side of Chicago in the Marquette Park neighborhood. She was an artist and used the stage name Selene Maldonado.
In the early hours of May 31, 2020, an 18-year-old man shot Reyes-Hernandez to death in her home when he learned she was transgender. When she said she was transgender, he left, only to return an hour later with a handgun, detectives reported.
Reyes-Hernandez had spent the day before with three friends, attending a birthday party before having drinks at a friend's home, prosecutors said. Around 5 a.m. on May 31, Reyes-Hernandez dropped a friend off at home, about 25 minutes before she met her killer.
"May our memory of Selena Reyes-Hernandez show your gorgeous wide smile rather than the cruel smirk of your killer," one Twitter user shared in June 2020. "She was an artist. Her stage name was Selene Maldonado. Fly, Selena, Fly #ProtectTransWomen."
The person tweeting did not know Reyes-Hernandez personally, but was in contact with some of Reyes-Hernandez's friends, she told Windy City Times.
"Selena should still be here today," said Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, in a statement following Reyes-Hernandez's death. "Our continued failure to support and empower transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people is as inhumane as it is unacceptable. We need to take action now as a community and as a country that takes us towards racial justice and trans liberation."
According to the Transgender Law Center, Reyes-Hernandez's family didn't want to recognize or acknowledge their trans daughter. They buried her in Mexico under her deadname. The Chicago medical examiner, police and media also deadnamed and misgendered Reyes-Hernandez in their initial reports.
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, Pittsburgh's oldest LGBTQ+ blog, posted a remembrance of Reyes-Hernandez in June 2020.
"Rest in power, Selena," the posting said. "There is progress towards justice, but we cannot change the facts of your burial. Posts like this one will say your name so your memory will live on. You deserved a long life far from this violence. I hope we learn more about your lived life. You are not erased."
Windy City Times attempted to reach out to sources who knew Reyes-Hernandez personally, but they declined to comment or did not reply by the time of publication. Those who knew Selena Reyes-Hernandez and would like to speak about their memories of her should contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
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