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Transgender Activist ID'd as 1 of 2 Women Killed in Dorchester Stabbing

NBC Boston logo NBC Boston 5 days ago Asher Klein and Mike Manzoni
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A transgender activist was one of two women fatally stabbed Sunday by a man at a home in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, authorities said Monday.

Jahaira DeAlto was hosting Marcus Chavis and his family when Chavis killed her and his wife, Fatima Yasin, while also stabbing a dog, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. They haven't determined a motive for the attack.

DeAlto, 42, described herself as a YouTube personality and social commentator -- her channel, JahairasMission, had just under 2,500 subscribers as of Monday night -- and used the platform to discuss transgender issues and other topics.

DeAlto's former roommates said she was a transgender activist who was always willing to help others.

"She just cared so much about so many people, and was so motherly to so many people," Alice Guss said.

The Elizabeth Freeman Center, a Berkshire County support center for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault where DeAlto worked, called her "an activist and survivor who touched the lives of everyone around her with her passion, drive, humanity, humor, and fierce vision."

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According to Out Magazine, DeAlto was a legend in the ballroom scene, the LGBTQIA community in which people compete in dance competitions and more established members of the community take in needy youths, helping to guide them like parents. DeAlto was a member of the House of Balenciaga

"Let us not forget her ongoing work against domestic abuse and continue to uplift her name and ensure her memory lives on in this ironic twist of fate," Harold Balenciaga wrote on Facebook, Out Magazine reported.

Others in the community remembered DeAlto as well.

"Jahairah was someone one we all loved dearly and was murdered yesterday. Ballroom isn’t simply entertainment..it’s our culture, our lives, our families and our real life stories," wrote Indya Moore, a star on the ballroom show "Pose," in an Instagram post.

While the situation remains under investigation and many details are unclear, Out Magazine noted that DeAlto is the latest transgender person to be killed in the United States.

The Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group, has tracked at least 17 such killings in 2021, after a record 40 in 2020.

After the stabbing on Sunday, Boston police encountered Chavis, 35, on the porch of the home on Taft Street covered in blood and on the phone with relatives making arrangements for his children -- aged 7 and 8 years old and uninjured in the incident -- who were in the house at the time of the incident, prosecutors said.

DeAlto and Yasin, Chavis' wife, were found inside, prosecutors said. One died at the home, the other died after being taken to a hospital with serious injuries.

"It's shocking, and I'm sad. I'm really sad," said Stephanie Morales, a neighbor.

The stabbed dog was found in DeAlto's room -- it survived after getting a blood transfusion, authorities said.

A judge ordered Chavis held without bail.

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