UPDATE: Friends speak out, offer support after Southside trans woman’s murder
Update 11/7 – Those close to Noonie Norwood are speaking out about the death of their friend. Zakia McKensey, Director of Nationz Foundation, had known Norwood for about 14 years. The two met when Norwood was looking for advice on drag – not so much for performance, but just to be a part of the community.
“She wasn’t really an entertainer, she just wanted to begin her transition and wearing women’s clothing and stuff like that,” McKensey said. “She did it in community; she wasn’t a girl who performed (other than at home),”
The two stayed close, with McKensey calling Norwood her “daughter,” a term used in the drag community which relates to a kind of mother-daughter mentor system.
McKensey said the last time she saw Norwood was about two weeks ago at Richmond City Hall. She invited Norwood to attend a meeting of T Girls Rock, a local support group run through McKensey’s nonprofit Nationz Foundation.
“She used to call me “Mom’pie” and so she said ‘Mom’pie I promise I’m coming.’ I told her to be safe and be careful,” she said.
McKensey has reached out to the Virginia Anti Violence project and will offer a chance for those affected by Norwords passing to speak with counselors during this week’s meeting.
Norwood is the first confirmed murder of a transperson in the Central Virginia region since 2013 when Amari Hill, 22, was similarly gunned down in a South Side ally. Hill’s murder remains unsolved. Sage Smith, a transgirl from Charlottesville, went missing in 2012 and her case has not been solved either.
“It needs to be talked about,” said McKensey when asked about the deaths she and her community has experienced. “People ask me about the Black Lives Matter movement and why I understand why the movement was started and I’m concerned because I don’t feel like its inclusive of them all. I think about all the African American transgender women who have been victims of homicide and there’s no mention of them… you don’t hear anything about it.”
And while details around Norwood’s case continue to come out, McKensey hopes people will approach the situation with an open mind.
“It’s sad and its frustrating and its infuriating,” she said. “Being trans isn’t a choice, the choice is being able to walk as your authentic self and make your outside match your inside and be happy.”
This week’s T Girls Rock event happens Thursday from 6pm-8pm at 1200 Bentley Street, Richmond, VA 23227.
Top image via McKensey
UPDATE 11/6 – 8PM: GayRVA has learned from friends that Norwood did identify as trans and a facebook page for “Noony Norwood” seems to confirm as much. The top image of this article comes from that facebook page.
Although it is still early in their investigation, RPD detectives believe the man in the photo below may have been nearby at the time of the shooting. They would like to speak with him about what he may have seen and heard. He was last seen leaving the area in a dark colored sedan, possibly a Hyundai Sonata.
He is described as a black male, 30-40 years old, 6’2”- 6’4” tall, weighing approximately 290 pounds.
Detectives are confident they will be able to provide the public with a much better look at the man once the photo is enhanced. They are hopeful he may even contact them before that occurs.
William D. Norwood, 30, was found shot dead on a the 2700 block of Hull Street street early Sunday morning.
Police have been unable to determine if Norwood identified on the LGBTQ spectrum, but Norwood was found wearing women’s clothes at the time of their death. If Norwood did, they would be the second sexual minority murdered in the Richmond area in less than a month.
UPDATE 11/16 – 4:40 PM: RPD spoke to the victim’s mother and said Norwood used male pronouns.
In late-October, Ava Tucker, a 26-year-old resident of Henrico County, was stabbed to death by her girlfriend, Sheena Wilson, who turned herself in shortly after.
As for Norwood’s murder, RPD detectives have interviewed a few people, but there are others they would like to hear from; especially those who were in the area last night or may have known the victim.
“We would like to speak to anyone who may have information about Mr. Norwood – his activity that night and possible associates,” said Lt. Donald Davenport. “We have interviewed a Good Samaritan who stopped to render aid, but there were others in the area, too, last night. We would like them to give us a call.
Richmond police LGBTQ Liaison Capt. Dan Minton reached out to GayRVA Sunday morning hoping those in the community might be able to help with information from friends and associates.
Submit tips to GUN250 about persons illegally possessing guns by texting Crime Stoppers at 274637, then using keyword “GUN250” followed by your tip. Rewards up to $250. Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.
- Prev Virginia Film Festival offers movies with LGBTQ focus (including one filmed in VA)
- Next Why we run – less than a week left to support ROSMY/Side by Side at Richmond Marathon
- Back to top
- Plunge into the depths of high school female relationships in TheatreLAB’s production of ‘Dryland’
- Brian Burns returns with new book detailing RVA’s history of income inequality, homosexuality and Maymont owner’s use of convict labor
- Proud lesbian, cult survivor and nurse – Chelsea Savage looks to capture Virginia House seat
- Alabama one step closer to matching Virginia with anti-LGBTQ adoption legislation
- GAYCATION returns with ‘United We Stand’ special focusing on LGBTQ life in Trump’s America