Daphne Dorman Dead: Trans Comedian and Inspiration for Dave Chappelle Special Dies Aged 44

Daphne Dorman, the trans comedian and activist, has died by suicide according to officials. She was 44 years old.

The Office of Transgender Initiatives for the City and County of San Francisco confirmed her death to the New York Daily News after she appeared to say goodbye to loved ones in a Facebook post on Friday.

Becky Kugler, who described herself as Dorman's sister, confirmed the comic had died in a message on the social media platform.

"It is with great sadness and despair to hand out this information," Kugler wrote beneath Dorman's last post. "Sweet, sweet Daphne. I so wish we could all have helped you through your darkness. We'll always love you, fly high sweet angel."

Dorman, who was from Philadelphia but lived in the Bay Area of San Francisco, described herself as an actress, activist, author, and advocate in her Twitter bio. She was listed on her Facebook page as a standup comedian.

She had a career as a stage and TV actor spanning 12 years, according to her LinkedIn profile, which included two years on the shopping channel QVC. Dorman was also director of operations for The Actors Center of Philadelphia, where she taught stage combat and improvisation.

Her varied career also saw her setting up a wildlife preserve for primates at sea turtles in Equatorial Guinea. Most recently, she was a software engineer for the Vineti gene therapy platform. As a volunteer with the San Francisco LGBT Center, Dorman shared her skills with transgender people looking for careers in the tech industry.

In 2016, Dorman took part in the San Francisco LGBT Center's Trans at Work campaign highlighting the obstacles trans folk face in the workplace. She told Buzzfeed at the time: "In a world with many obstacles for trans folks, I'm honored and grateful to have the opportunity to help others develop skills they can use to overcome some of those challenges. We all deserve a chance to succeed."

Dorman hit headlines over the summer, after comedian Dave Chappelle spoke of her in his Netflix special Sticks and Stones. Chappelle was criticized for making jokes about trans people in the show.

In a hidden extra, Chappelle recalled becoming friends with a trans woman. According to LGBT news website Pink News, Chappelle said Dorman was at a practice show, and was the member of the audience "laughing the hardest."

Dorman wrote on Instagram on August 26: "Yeah, you know, it's just that moment when you realize that after Dave Chappelle talks about meeting you in the secret ending of his new Netflix special, you see your photo appears immediately after Barack Obama's photo in the credits."

Dozens of people paid tribute to Dorman beneath her Facebook post.

The San Fransisco Office of Transgender Intiatives wrote on Twitter: "To our TGNC community, we love you.

"We are saddened to learn about of loss of Daphne Dorman today who was a beloved community member.

"If you need support, please reach out to @TransLifeline and @TRANSTHRIVE will be open for drop ins today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday)."

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours, every day.

The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention to LGBTQ young people, runs the TrevorLifeline 24/7. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal call 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available 24/7 via chat every day at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting 678-678.

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A stock image shows the colours of the transgender flag painted on a hand. Transgender woman Daphne Dorman has died aged 44. Getty
Daphne Dorman Dead: Trans Comedian and Inspiration for Dave Chappelle Special Dies Aged 44 | News