Friends, family remember Michelle Henry at funeral

  • by Max Guerrera
  • Wednesday June 19, 2024
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A funeral service was held in San Francisco June 15 for Michelle Henry.
A funeral service was held in San Francisco June 15 for Michelle Henry.

Michelle Henry, the San Francisco transgender woman who was killed last month, was remembered as a kind and outgoing pillar of the trans community at a funeral service June 15. The service was held at the Episcopal Church of Saint John the Evangelist, where friends and family spoke about Henry's life and grieved her tragic death.

"She was going to change the world and now she cannot change it, and she's being unfairly justified by having the person who took her life walk the streets of San Francisco," said Winston "Neo" Henry, Michelle Henry's uncle.

Michelle Henry, 25, lived in San Francisco for the last three years of her life before she was tragically killed May 15. As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, according to the San Francisco Police Department, officers responded to a residence on the 700 block of Post Street after receiving a report there was a physical altercation between two people. Officers arrived and found Henry lying on the ground with stab wounds, according to SFPD.

Police did arrest a person, Raymani Yuhashi, and they were booked into San Francisco County Jail on the charge of the unlawful killing of a human being. Yuhashi was later released and no charges have been filed. The San Francisco District Attorney's office continues to investigate the case. A DA spokesperson did not respond to the B.A.R.'s request for comment.

Michelle Henry's family allowed a B.A.R. reporter to attend part of last weekend's funeral service. She called the Transgender District home and had moved into her new apartment there just a month before her death, according to her uncle.

Veronica Nikita Pritipaul, a close friend, recalled, "She moved here to San Francisco to start her new life, and I think a lot of us resonate with that."

Despite their tragic loss, Michelle Henry's loved ones emphasized the importance of honoring and remembering her life and the impact she made on their own.

"Michelle connected so many people, and I think it's important to mourn her loss as a lesbian, and as a trans lesbian. I think it's really easy when Black trans women die to create these narratives about her in our head about the life that she lived, but really she was giving back so much to her community, and she was deeply involved in lesbian spaces. That was a really core part of her identity," said Pritipaul.

Michelle Henry volunteered her time and energy toward fostering a sisterhood where trans women of color could feel loved and supported, friends said.

"We met in What's Tea, which is a trans people of color support group. She was sharing her story, and for us trans women of color, specifically trans lesbians of color, she was kind of like a bedrock part of our community," said Pritipaul. "I was in my community because of her. Black trans women are the ones doing the work and fighting every day for our community. I don't see people stepping up enough for Black trans women, and I'm gonna fight every day to make sure they get their flowers while they're still here."

Michelle Henry will be remembered as a welcoming friend, who was unafraid to take a stand for others, family members said.

"She was very bold. She was very straightforward, she would protect her friends, she would protect her community, and she would be there for anybody who needed her," said her uncle, Winston "Neo" Henry. "The person who did this should be held responsible. They took away something that cannot be replaced."

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