A memorial service for a local performer who was killed in New Orleans over the weekend is scheduled Saturday night in Sacramento.
Chyna Gibson, 31, was shot Saturday evening while visiting family in New Orleans. Police said she was found with gunshot wounds in the 4300 block of Downman Road amid the citywide Mardi Gras celebrations.
Gibson, who also went by the stage name of Chyna Doll Dupree, danced at various drag shows and LGBT events across the country. GLAAD, a national LGBT advocacy organization, lists her as one of several transgender women of color who have been killed in 2017.
The 31-year-old performer moved to Sacramento more than four years ago from Houston and most recently lived in south Sacramento, said Iona Maxie, who identified herself as Gibson’s adoptive sister.
Gibson worked at local in-care homes and occasionally performed at the Faces Nightclub in midtown, her sister said.
She spent most of her free time with family members, as well as getting involved with her local church, the Genesis Missionary Baptist Church on Meadowview Road, Maxie said.
“It was all about family with her, just being together as a family,” she said.
Maxie said the 31-year-old kept a positive attitude despite the many hardships she faced throughout her life. Gibson was adopted by her cousin, Maxie’s mother, when she turned age 9, following the death of both her parents.
The two grew up in the housing projects of New Orleans, where Gibson lived until moving to Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At that time, Gibson began her transition from a man to a woman, with her family showing their full support, Maxie said.
“She wasn’t who her body portrayed,” Maxie said. “She felt like she was a woman and she lived her life as a woman.”
Gibson continued with her transition when she moved to Sacramento, attending the local Gender Health Center, where she received counseling and help with changing her legal name. Maxie said the center reached out to her family to put together a service.
Maxie said the memorial, scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Center for Spiritual Awareness in West Sacramento, is intended for local family, friends and fans of Gibson who wanted to pay tribute to the dancer’s life. At least two other memorial ceremonies, one in Houston and one in Dallas, were held after her death.
“It’s just beautiful to see everyone reach out and said how she was an inspiration to them,” Maxie said. “We are just trying to take it one day at a time.”