Transgender Comedienne and Activist Referenced in Dave Chappelle's Sticks & Stones Dies by Suicide

(L-R): Dave Chappelle in Sticks & Stones; Daphne Dorman
Photo: Mathieu Bitton (Courtesy of Netflix), Screenshot: YouTube

Daphne Dorman, the transgender woman referenced in Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special, Sticks & Stones, has died, Deadline confirms. San Francisco’s Office of Transgender Initiatives reports that the cause of Dorman’s death was suicide.

Dorman, who according to her Twitter bio (which also confirms she is the person Chappelle referred to in his special) was an “actress, activist, author, advocate [and] amazon,” was 44 years old. 

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Dorman is mentioned during a “hidden extra” addition to Chappelle’s special, which airs as a type of easter egg right after the initial credits finish rolling. In the additional footage, Chappelle refers to Dorman as a friend and her picture appears alongside the extra’s credits.

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Deadline adds:

Chappelle claimed that Dorman was “laughing the hardest” at the jokes. But not everyone was laughing. Some claimed the comedy was transphobic.

Dorman posted a goodbye message on Facebook on Friday. “I’ve thought about this a lot before this morning. How do you say “goodbye” and “I’m sorry” and “I love you” to all the beautiful souls you know? For the last time.”

Dorman was a software engineer and held at senior position at Vineti, a software automation and analytics company for cell and gene therapies.

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Hailing from Philadelphia, Dorman lived in San Francisco where she volunteered at the San Francisco LGBT Center. “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 told BuzzFeed in 2016 as part of the center’s Trans at Work photo campaign.

The Root has reached out to Chappelle’s team for comment.


If you are thinking about harming yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433; help is available 24 hours a day.

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.