Members of Toronto’s LGBTQ community mourn the loss of activist Julie Berman, a transgender woman who famously advocated for more protections for transgender individuals. Police found her murdered December 22, the Globe and Mail reports.
Berman first rose to prominence in Toronto after delivering a passionate speech in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2017. Berman spoke about a transgender friend she’d lost to murder. Just two years later, Berman experienced a similar fate.
“It’s really heartbreaking … the same thing that she was trying to be vocal about happened to her,” said Davina Hader, a friend of Berman and a member of The 519, an LGBTQ organization that advocates for inclusion and provides services to the queer community. Berman had participated in The 519 events for almost 30 years. She also worked as a hairdresser.
Police discovered the beaten body of Berman in her home on December 22. She was rushed to a hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead. Law enforcement has arrested 29-year-old Colin Harnack and charged him with second-degree murder. A police investigation into the crime, as well as the relationship of Harnack and Berman, remains ongoing, though research by The Post Millennial suggests that Harnack had been a supporter–possibly even a member–of the LGBTQ community. Rob Choe, of the Toronto Police, say that the pair met the day of the attack, though it is unknown if the two had any kind of sexual or romantic involvement.