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Trans People Continue to Be Murdered at Extreme Rates as Republicans Push Transphobic Laws

Trans People Murdered Extreme Rates
Image: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

The Human Rights Campaign released its annual report on Transgender Day of Remembrance, highlighting the disproporionate violence transgender and gender nonconforming people face.


The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released its yearly report into fatal violence against transgender and gender nonconforming people in the U.S. The organization continues to find that these communities are killed at disproportionate rates compared to cisgender people.

Released on Transgender Day of Remembrance, the latest report looks at the past 12 months since the previous TDoR. At least 33 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been victims of fatal violence since then. The group notes that they say “at least” due to some crimes going unreported or victims being misgendered, which delays identifying them.

“The epidemic of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people is a national tragedy and a national embarrassment,” said Kelly Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Each of the lives taken is the result of a society that demeans and devalues anyone who dares challenge the gender binary. In statehouses across the nation, we’ve seen bills signed into law that ban gender-affirming healthcare, make schools unsafe for LGBTQ+ youth, and ban transgender and non-binary people from public bathrooms.”

HRC reports that many of those were killed by a friend, family member, or intimate partner. Guns, the group reports, were involved in most cases.

The report found that 90 percent of those killed were people of color. Seven out of ten were transgender women and more than 6 out of 10 were Black trans women. Of the victims, the average age was 28 at the time of their death. About 80 percent were under 35.

So far, only a third of the killers in these cases are known. Seventy percent of the victims were killed with a gun.

In police and news reports, about half of the victims reported by HRC were first misgendered.

The findings follow the past 11 years since HRC began tracking this violence, according to a press release. Of the 335 trans and gender nonconforming victims reported since 2013, 286 have been Black, indigenous, or people of color. More than 200 have been Black. Additionally, about three-fourths of the victims were under 35.

In data provided to The Advocate, more than 100 of the cases remain unsolved.

Related: Murders of LGBTQ+ People Often Go Unsolved. We're Telling Their Stories.

“Almost two-thirds of the victims reported on were Black trans women, a tragedy that reflects an appalling trend of violence fueled by racism, toxic masculinity, trans misogynoir and transphobia and the politicization of our lives,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative at HRC, said. “These victims had families, friends, hopes, dreams, and none of them deserved to have their lives stolen by horrific violence.”

The new report comes as HRC declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans after 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in state legislatures this year. Most of those bills targeted transgender people.

It also comes as a recent FBI report found that hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people have increased by almost 14 percent — the increase is 32 percent for hate crimes based on gender identity.

“Even before the horrific Club Q shooting last November, we’ve seen bomb threats directed at schools, hospitals, and libraries simply for supporting transgender and nonbinary people. Each of these grotesque actions serves to increase stigma and create a hostile environment that endangers the lives of anyone outside the gender binary,” Robinson said. “We must imagine a better future for transgender and gender nonconforming people — not just surviving, but truly living as free and equal members of our society.”

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