HRC investigates the growing trend of violence against transgender people

Trans Pride Flag – Photo: Ted Eytan – Flickr

The Human Rights Campaign, the education arm of the LGBTQ civil rights organization, released a report highlighting the continuing trend of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and honoring those who have died in the past 12 months.

The release of the report coincides with today’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, which commemorates those transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary individuals who have lost their lives since November 2022.

Since 2013, the HRC has recorded the deaths of 335 transgender and gender non-conforming people due to violence, including at least 33 who were killed in the past year. That differs significantly from the number of transgender people killed by violence reported by the National Center for Transgender Equality — 53 — although HRC only counts confirmed murders.

The LGBTQ rights organization also acknowledges that the actual number of transgender and gender nonconforming deaths may be higher than its own estimates, as many deaths may go unreported or the victims may be misidentified. gender in the news or police reports.

“The epidemic of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people is a national tragedy and a national shame,” HRC President Kelly Robinson said in a statement. “Each of the lives taken is the result of a society that demeans and devalues ​​anyone who dares to challenge gender duality.”

According to an HRC analysis, nine out of 10 transgender and gender nonconforming victims are people of color, seven out of 10 are trans women, and 6 out of 10 are black trans women. The average age of the victims killed in the past year was 28, with three-quarters of them under 35.

As for the wave of anti-trans violence, the report found that the killer was unknown in a third of all cases. Among cases where a killer was identified, almost half, or 46%, were killed by a friend, family member, or sexual or romantic partner. Seven out of 10 victims were killed with a firearm. And more than half of all trans victims were brought up by the police or news reports.

The trends identified in the report regarding victimization are similar to those that existed a decade ago when the HRC officially began tracking transgender deaths due to violence. Since 2013, at least 286 transgender or gender non-conforming individuals who were Black, Indigenous or people of color have been murdered, representing almost 85% of the 335 trans-identified victims who have been murdered in the past decade.

“Nearly two-thirds of reported victims are black trans women, a tragedy that reflects a horrific trend of violence fueled by racism, toxic masculinity, trans misogynoir and transphobia, and the politicization of our lives,” Tori Cooper, Community Director commitment to HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, it said in a statement.

“These victims had families, friends, hopes, dreams and none of them deserved to have their lives stolen by horrific violence. We need everyone to join us in empowering transgender leaders, building safer, stronger communities and reducing stigma. We cannot rest until all transgender and gender non-conforming people can live their lives safely as their full selves.”

According to the HRC report, more than half of all deaths involving trans victims in the last decade occurred in the last four calendar years. It also coincides with a wave of anti-transgender legislation and a continued rise in anti-transgender hate crimes. According to the FBI, the number of bias-motivated crimes based on the victim’s gender identity increased 32% from 2021 to 2022, after previously increasing from 2020 to 2021.

In 2023, for the first time in its history, HRC declared a national emergency for LGBTQ Americans after a series of more than 550 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures across the country, more than 80 of which eventually became law .

The majority of these bills – more than 220 in total – specifically target members of the transgender community, attempting to revoke rights or protections they enjoy, or restrict transgender visibility and gender identity information in general.

“We need to imagine a better future for transgender and gender non-conforming people — not just survival, but truly living as free and equal members of our society,” Robinson said.

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