Transphobia's Grim Toll — The Story of Chyna Long and Her Father's Fight for Justice

What Happened to Chyna Long?

Jamie Lerner - Author

Oct. 17 2023, Published 12:08 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Jonathan Long shared the tragic death of his transgender daughter, Chyna, who was killed by a gunman named Antonio Currin.
  • Chyna's death is part of a concerning pattern of transphobic-related homicides, making her the 20th victim of 2023.
  • Antonio Currin has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide, but a motive hasn't been determined.
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A parent losing a child is the hardest thing one can go through in life, and Jonathan Long is no stranger to it. Recently, he shared on TikTok that he lost his daughter, Chyna Long, to a gunman on Oct. 8, 2023. Jonathan’s life has been riddled with loss — his younger daughter died by drowning when she was 2 years old, Chyna’s mother died in her sleep at 38 years old, and Jonathan’s brother also died recently.

Chyna was on her way to comfort her father after his brother’s death when she was shot and killed. Born JaQuez Long on March 30, 1992, Chyna changed her name when she came out as trans at about 23 years old. She was just 31 years old when she died. But what happened to her?

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What happened to Chyna Long?

Tragically, Jonathan first shared the news in a TikTok video in which he’s sobbing and wrote, “Tried to go into work and had a breakdown in the car. Can’t believe they killed My Son.” He captioned the video, “They out here targeting transgender and gay people. My oldest son is a part of that community and you have dumb a--holes trying to kill him for what?”

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Commenters quickly shared their sympathies for Jonathan, wishing him condolences, hugs, peace, and strength. Someone even shared a similar story, “My condolences to you and yours. I feel your pain. Lost my daughter when she was 20. That was 21 years ago. Still hurts.” Losing a child is the kind of hurt most people can never fully recover from, but after Jonathan’s string of losses, this story is even more tragic.

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Jonathan is a comedian, so amid his grief and pain, he tries to find joy and light in every moment, which is why people are so enraptured by his videos. His first video amassed over 8.7 million views, adding visibility to Chyna’s homicide. On Oct. 8, 29-year-old gunman Antonio Currin shot and killed Chyna, just days before the 25th anniversary of Matthew Shephard’s death. (Shepherd famously died of a homophobic hate crime in Laramie, Wyo.)

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The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office charged Currin with first-degree reckless homicide, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. Police explained that Currin shot Chyna at around 7:45 a.m. on Oct. 8 on the 7300 block of North 89th Street in Milwaukee, Wis. However, police don’t have a motive for the shooting and haven’t charged Currin with a hate crime (yet).

However, we can’t deny the pattern of transphobic-related homicides in the past few years. According to Human Rights Campaign, a leading non-profit organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ lives, Chyna is the 20th gender non-conforming or trans person to die by homicide. She’s the 4th trans woman to be killed in Milwaukee since 2022.

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While Chyna told her father that she was set to return to Chicago on Saturday, Oct. 7, she was still in Milwaukee when she was shot, so there are still unanswered questions surrounding her case.

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Jonathan also shared an instance on TikTok in which he chatted with his daughter, who told him that she was woken up on a Chicago train by two men peeing on her. She was forced to deal with adversity her entire life as a queer person, but according to Jonathan, she “remained a light for all.”

Our condolences are with Jonathan and his family and friends.

A gathering will be held in Chyna’s honor on Oct. 18, 2023, at 7 p.m. at the Zao Mke Church, located at 2319 E. Kenwood, Milwaukee, Wis.

If you or someone you know is a member of the transgender community and in need of support, call the Trevor Project's 24/7/365 Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR. You can also use TrevorChat, their online instant messaging option, or TrevorText, a text-based support option. If you are looking for peer support, you can visit TrevorSpace from anywhere in the world.

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