Trans murder victim identified
by Jen Colletta
Sep 13, 2012 | 8513 views | 6 6 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The transgender woman found murdered earlier this month in Frankford has been identified as a former staff member at a local LGBT agency.

Police found the body of Kyra Cordova Sept. 3 in a wooded area off of Adams Avenue.

Cordova, 27, who went by the name Kyra Kruz on social media, is a former volunteer and employee of the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative.

Cordova’s body was found shortly after 5 a.m. on Labor Day with a gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators say Cordova was last seen at a nearby Wawa, where she purchased two sandwiches and two drinks.

According to her Facebook profile, Cordova graduated from North Penn Senior High School in Lansdale in 2003. Her MySpace page says she was in college studying biology, with aspirations of opening her own transgender medical facility.

Elicia Gonzales, executive director of GALAEI, said Cordova began volunteering with the agency in 2010 and was hired as an HIV tester within a few months.

“She came in one day out of the blue just full of energy and life, saying she wanted to volunteer,” Gonzales said. “As soon as a position became open, she was first in line to apply.”

While Cordova was technically a part-time employee, she often put in full-time hours.

On her first day on the job as a volunteer, she, without being asked, put together a PowerPoint presentation about GALAEI’s services for display in the agency’s lobby.

Last summer, Cordova coordinated and performed in GALAEI’s carnival-themed Pride parade contingent.

“The impact she made on not just our staff but on the whole community GALAEI serves was immeasurable,” Gonzales said. “Her energy and enthusiasm carried over into everything, in her work as a counselor and just as part of the GALAEI family.”

Gloria Casarez, the city’s director of LGBT affairs, called Cordova a “vibrant, visible face in the community.”

“She was a young person engaged in work that is about all of our lives,” Casarez said. “She was visible, she liked to have fun and even people who didn’t know her are going to relate to her.”

Cordova left GALAEI at the end of summer 2011.

Gonzales said she ran into her at this June’s Pride.

“She was full of life and just being fantastic as always,” she said. “For those of us who had the privilege of knowing her, you felt her presence when she walked into a room. There was no mistaking she was there. She always had a smile on her face, and she insisted on saying hello and goodbye any time she left our office. She was an incredible personality and very much willing to give back to our community, a very positive figure in the LGBT community.”

Brian Green, executive director of SafeGuards Project, said Cordova’s energetic, generous reputation was well-known.

“She was always very cheerful and just a positive person who was always willing to help out,” he said.

At this summer’s Prevention Conference during AIDS Education Month, Cordova took time during a session to speak to fellow audience members about the value of community involvement.

“She stood up and spoke for a few minutes and she was giving really encouraging words to other members of the trans community and other young people,” Green said. “She talked about how important it can be to get involved and to try to make a difference in your community. I remember she talked very pointedly about that.”

Cordova helped relaunch Young, Trans & Unified at The Attic Youth Center in 2010 and served as a facilitator for the support group.

In an interview with PGN at the time, she said she was “really excited for the chance to give back to the community” with that venture.

The murder comes as the community continues to grapple with the unsolved murders of transwomen Stacey Blahnik and Nizah Morris.

Casarez said she hopes Cordova’s murder motivates the community to continue to press for justice for all LGBT victims.

“Whenever any act of violence like this happens, it reminds you of all the other acts of violence that have happened,” she said. “This is a reminder to us that we have many of these cases out there and we need folks to keep getting the word out about this and these other unsolved cases. It’s just a sad, sad situation.”

Transgender group BLITZ will hold a candlelight vigil for Cordova at 8 p.m. Sept. 13 at William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St.

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Comments-icon Post a Comment
September 15, 2012
This was a MUCH better written story than the one previously reported. Thankyou verymuch for giving a Name,Kyra,to the "unidentified transperson who was murdered". She was a much loved humanbeing who will be missed by many,xoxo!
Kitten Delancey
September 11, 2012
This is oh so much better.
September 11, 2012
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.... this is more like it... good job...thank you for understanding the situation
Joey Josephs
September 11, 2012
this was written beautifully, and it tells a story of a transgender woman with a heart and very much loved
September 11, 2012
Thank You to all who came together to clarified that Kyra was a wonderful human being This means so much to her family and friends. We need to be alert now that there is a killer on the loose that you have to be careful who you think are your friends and alert others of new friends Hey I always screen who I meet for many reasons including this one, the devil has many faces.
Patrick Dunn
September 11, 2012
Great job! Much better! Thanks!