Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, founder of Miss Trans America, was found murdered in her Massachusetts home on Friday.
Her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien, allegedly confessed to police that he had killed her, Gay Star News has reported.
Christa Leigh, 42, was the founder of the Miss Trans New England and Miss Trans America pageants.
An autopsy revealed that she died from a stab wound to her torso, and had also suffered “multiple blunt force traumas to the head”.
The death has been ruled a homicide, and Christa Leigh is believed to be the first trans person murdered in the US this year.
Trans people, particularly trans women, are at substantial risk of transphobic violence.
Dozens of trans people are killed in the US each year, incidents that are likely underreported because data on trans status is often not kept.
LGBTI rights groups, including GLAAD, Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign have posted messages of mourning on social media, calling for more action against transphobic violence.
Heartbreaking. Rest in power, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien. https://t.co/s7dN2SLTtE
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) January 8, 2018
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien is the 1st known transgender person to be killed this year.
Violence against transgender people, especially trans women of color, must receive more national media attention.https://t.co/9NtNsvCRRU
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 8, 2018
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) January 8, 2018