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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: Transgender woman murdered in Miami


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Miami (Photo by iamNigelMorris via Flickr)

A transgender woman who was a well-known activist and performer in Miami was murdered on Tuesday.

Media reports indicate Yuniesky “Yuni” Carey Herrera’s boyfriend, Ygor Arrudasouza, stabbed her 36 times inside their apartment near the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami.

Arrudasouza
on Wednesday during his first court appearance confessed he was under the
influence of methamphetamines when he used a fork and a knife to stab Carey,
39, in a fit of rage.

Arrudasouza,
a 27-year-old dancer of Brazilian origin, has been charged with second-degree
murder. Arrudasouza in an emotional confession claimed he “deserves the
punishment that comes to him.”

Media reports say Arrudasouza called 911 at around 4:25 a.m. on Tuesday and said meth had destroyed his life and he had stabbed Carey inside their apartment.

Carey
was pronounced dead at 4:38 a.m.

Arrudasouza, according to the arrest report, told a detective that Carey said during an argument that “she had a better man.” This confession triggered Arrudasouza, who has a recent history of violence, to attack Carey.

Court
records indicate Arrudasouza in January was charged with three counts of
battery.

That
case remains open and is scheduled to go to trial on March 8. Arrudasouza was
out on bail when he allegedly killed Carey. He is currently being held without
bail at a Miami jail.

Arianna
Lint, executive director of Arianna’s Center, a South Florida-based group that
works with members of the trans community, told the Washington Blade on
Wednesday that she knew Carey and Arrudasouza well. Lint said she is still in
shock over Carey’s murder.

“They came to the center for exams and for emotional support,” said Lint. “I received calls from her (Carey) on several occasions seeking advice when she had a fight with her husband. They, as a couple, were facing problems.”

Carey
performed at Azucár, a gay nightclub near Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.
Alexis Fernández, a drag queen known as Marytrini who is the establishment’s
artistic producer, told the Blade that Arrudasouza was kicked out three times
because of violence.

“Her boyfriend was aggressive, violent,” said Fernández. “He got hysterical out of jealously and he was always hitting people. I advised her to leave him on several occasions, but she was afraid. I even think she wanted to rehabilitate him for his violence.”

Carey born, raised in Cuba

Carey
was born in Santa Clara, the capital of Cuba’s Villa Clara province that is in
the center of the country, and spent her childhood there. She lived with her
grandmother in Miami, while the rest of her family remains in Cuba.

Carey
previously won the Miss Trans Cuba beauty pageant. She was later crowned Miss
Trans Global 2019 in Barcelona. Carey was preparing to return to the stage for
the first time in eight months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Next
Sunday would have been her great return to Azúcar,” said Fernández. “I was
ready for the show.”

Fernández,
as an artist, defined Carey as a person who knew how to seduce her audience.
Fernández added the community loved her.

“She
was the typical jovial and cheerful Cuban,” added Lint. “She loved
parties. She was very Cuban, very beautiful.”

Bamby
Salcedo, president of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition, told the Los
Angeles Blade she had known Carey since she was a teenager. Salcedo described
Carey as a highly motivated person and a role model for young trans women who
took care of her grandmother.

“This is
a crazy world, so sad,” said Salcedo. “She [Carey] was admired by so many in
the Trans communities, her work in pageantry, her work as a service provider,
she was the most resilient person. She was a good person.”

Carey
was killed days before the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, which pays
tribute to trans people who were murdered. Carey is the 37th trans person
reported killed in the U.S. in 2020.

Azúcar
on Friday and Sunday plan to honor Carey’s life with a tribute. Marytrini,
Valeria Coutier and Mónica Simpson are among those who are expected to perform.

Brody Levesque
contributed to this story.

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights