Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Sakia Gunn

Sakia Gunn was born on May 26, 1987, in Newark, New Jersey. She identified as an aggressive, or AG, butch. In May 2003, when she was fifteen years old, she was on her way home from a trip to Greenwich Village with friends when she was propositioned by two men at a bus stop in Newark. When she said she was not interested because she was a lesbian, one of the men stabbed her. She died en route to nearby University Hospital.


Newark’s LGBTQ community was outraged by Gunn’s death. Protests were held at the street corner where she was murdered and at Newark City Hall, and 2,500 people attended her funeral. LGBTQ Newarkers also pressured the Newark city government and Westside High School, which Gunn attended, to take action for LGBTQ youth, and founded the Newark Pride Alliance and a Newark chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in response to government inaction. The legacy of Gunn’s death is explored further in Queer Newark, 1885-present, by Timothy Stewart-Winter and Whitney Strub.