by Violet Lhant • December 1, 2021
This story appeared on HRC’s website.
Cris Blehar, a 65-year-old white transgender woman and U.S. Air Force veteran, was tragically killed at her home in the Flaherty area of Meade County, Kentucky, on May 19, 2021. According to local news, a suspect has been charged with her murder and a trial date has been set for June 2022. Blehar’s cousin Mark Stephens contacted HRC to ensure that she was “remembered, honored, and counted” as a member of the transgender community. Her death is at least the 49th violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported.
According to her obituary, Blehar was a former law enforcement officer in the U.S. Air Force and retired from United/Continental Airlines. She also worked as an Uber driver and loved animals and bowling.
In a statement to HRC, Mark Stephens said the following:
“If there is one thing to know about Cris, it was that she fought fiercely to define her life as SHE wanted. Whether it was her military service, her 20+ year career in the airline industry, or her post retirement decision to buy a farm & start a family of her own. She lived life to the fullest and wanted everyone around her to live their best life as well. Growing up ‘different’ in Kentucky is certainly no easy task, something we shared in addition to being cousins, and she tackled it with the passion and zeal that only she could have. Her friends will always remember her infectious personality & her unmistakable laugh. She loved others passionately and fiercely, none more than her own son, Maverick.”
Blehar’s son Maverick Thompson also remembered her, writing:
“Cris was an amazing mother and a wonderful person. She had so much love and brought a smile to many. She had a hilarious sense of humor that will live on through those that knew her. She will be sorely missed!”
Cris was full of life and it is appalling that she was so violently taken from this Earth. It is comforting to know that she was well loved by friends and family, but her death highlights the need to combat gun violence and all of the factors that contribute to these killings.”Tori Cooper, HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative