Christa Steele-Knudslien, 42, is the first transgender person in the United States to be murdered in 2018. Police are naming her husband Marc Steele as the prime suspect in the case. The deceased was a well-known transgender rights activist, according to The Huffington Post.
The murder victim is sometimes known as Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien. She was memorialized for her work in transgender activism. The Huffington Post reports that “In addition to founding the Miss Trans America pageant, she also helped launch the Miss Trans New England pageant and was one of the organizers of the first New England Trans Pride march in 2008.”
Christa’s body was found on Friday, January 5, in the couple’s Veazie Street North Adams, Massachusetts home. According to MassLive, Mark Steele-Knudslien, 47, entered a local police department and confessed to the murder of his wife.
“[He] stated he killed Christa by striking her numerous times with a hammer and then finally killed her by stabbing her in the back with a large knife,” according to MassLive who quoted the police report. “Steele-Knudslien later wrapped Christa’s body in a tarp and moved her to the basement which is where the body could be found.”
According to a report from The New York Daily News, Mark Steele-Knudslien “walked into the police department at 9:09 P.M. on Friday and said he had done ‘something very bad.’”
The husband told law enforcement officials the reason why he murdered his wife. According to the husband’s confession reported by MassLive, he “snapped” after feeling “belittled.” He told police that he “began striking Christa in the head with a hammer in their living room. He then stabbed her in the back, took a shower and went to the liquor store to buy alcohol…After he returned, he wrapped Christa’s body and the murder weapons in bedding, plastic and a tarp and dragged them to the basement.”
According to Massachusetts authorities, “The preliminary results of an autopsy on a North Adams woman indicate she died of loss of blood due to a stab wound to the torso; a contributing factor was multiple blunt force traumas to the head.”
Authorities have issued a press release on the crime, saying that Mark Steele-Knudslien “has been arrested and charged with one (1) count of MURDER. It is alleged that he killed his wife whose body was found inside their Veazie Street North Adams home Friday evening” (January 5, 2018).
Who is Christa Steele-Knudslien?
Christa was an activist for transgender rights, as well as an advocate of highlighting the beauty of transgender people through pageants. She’s a well-known activist who spoke out about transgender issues to promote their inclusion in mainstream society. According to a report from The New York Post, Christa was “well known in the Massachusetts transgender community for her activism and helped launch the first New England Trans Pride event a decade ago.”
“She and other advocates later started the Miss Trans New England Pageant, which brought together transgender women from across the region.” Christa’s friend, Justin Adkins, told the Post that “Her thing was always that transgender women are beautiful and need a venue for trans women to be seen as beautiful.”
The Anti-Violence Project sent out a message regarding Christa’s death, writing, “Our hearts remain heavy. Though we are grieving, may we find some peace in celebrating the many contributions Christa gave us…she was a passionate advocate and leader in our community, a friend, mentor and founder of Miss Trans New England and Miss Trans America.”
According to Glaad, “Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien is the 1st known transgender person to be killed this year. Violence against transgender people, especially trans women of color, must receive more national media attention.”
The now-deceased Christa once took to Facebook to commemorate all the transgender people who have died tragically. She wrote, “Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. My heart goes out to Jamie Wounded Arrow and all the life’s taken this year and years past.” Christa also sent out posts on Facebook, paying tribute to the victims of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub mass shooting.
GLAAD is asking the news media to put in a greater effort to humanize transgender people and provide more coverage to the deaths of transgendered individuals. The organization wrote, “With violence against transgender people at an all-time high and rising, national media coverage is severely lacking. The media must do a better job of reporting these murders and bringing needed attention to a community under vicious and violent attack. In order for people to be aware of the horrific violence affecting the community, the public needs to know it is happening. The media has a responsibility to communicate about the deadly realities faced by transgender people.”
According to Christa’s Facebook, she went to Spring Valley High School in Minnesota, lived in Berkshire, Massachusetts, and was originally from Rochester, Minnesota.
Christa Steele-Knudslien’s Social Media Posts
The now-deceased 42-year-old transgender activist made her last public Facebook post on January 4, 2018. The post was in regards to the winter blizzard that hit the east coast hard. One friend commented on the thread of Christa’s blizzard post, writing, “i am going to miss you girl what happened ?????”
For Christmas, Christa wrote on Facebook, “Had a AMAZING Christmas with hubby & great friends. Hopefully yours was as AMAZING.”
Much of her Facebook posts revolved around home decorating. At the time, she was vastly refurbishing her home.
In one post, she wrote about an unpleasant encounter with a Walmart employee. In November 2017, she wrote, “Was threatened by a Walmart employee tonight at our local store.. Just got off the phone with the ethics department.”
She affectionately referred to her husband and now-confessed killer as “baby” in social media posts. She once wrote, “Double chocolate banana cream cake I made for my baby’s birthday. His Birthday is tomorrow but he has been a good boy this year so I just finished it and let him have a piece early this morning.. Lol.”
Christa also wrote, “I think I see a political future in the near future.”