Black Trans Woman Tierramarie Lewis, 30, Murdered in June in Cleveland

Sue Kerr
5 min readAug 6, 2021
Courtesy of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless

Note — my blog at is migrating to a new server so I cannot add new content. All of these posts will be added when the work is complete — Sue

A 30-year-old Black trans woman, Tierramarie Lewis, was murdered on June 12, 2021 in Cleveland. Misgendering obscured her identity until this month when the truth came to light thanks to the diligence of the trans advocates with the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland.

If the center hadn’t been connected with Lewis, it’s unclear her murder would have been included in that count at all, says Turan, who penned a piece last year that dubbed Cleveland as the American “epicenter” of a growing trans murder crisis.

Lewis’ murder wasn’t covered by local news outlets, aside from a single post on the online Cleveland Ohio Remembrance page.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office has Lewis listed under the male name she was given at birth — despite the fact her name was legally changed, which was reflected on her state identification card.

A spokesman for the medical examiner’s office said that fingerprints identified Lewis as Tierramarie, her chosen name. But on her death certificate, a document prepared by the funeral home, the family provided a different name and that became the official record linked to her death.

“We do not overrule families regarding the death certificate,” says medical examiner’s office spokesperson Christopher Harris.

On June 28 a grand jury indicted Duane Lunsford, 25, of Cleveland in Lewis’ death. Lunsford pleaded not guilty to the aggravated murder and felonious assault charges.

On June 12, media reports (misgendering) indicate police responded to shots fired around 1:12 AM on the 2200 block of E. 79th Street. They found Tierramarie unresponsive and transported her to University Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Tierramarie’s Facebook profile identifies Chicago as her hometown, but local news reports state she was born in Coshocton, Ohio and most recently lived in Columbus before relocating to Cleveland. Her obituary as penned by her family deadnames and misgenders her.

Sue Kerr

I blog @ & tweet @pghlesbian24 GLAAD named us OUTstanding Blog in 2022 & 2019 National Media Awards Also I ❤soaps, cats, dogs & genealogy She/Her