At least 33 trans and gender-nonconforming people were killed in the past year, report finds

Angela Weiss

The nation’s largest LGBTQ rights group released its latest data on fatal attacks on transgender and gender-nonconforming people, describing an “epidemic of violence” targeting the community, especially young Black trans women.

The Human Rights Campaign found that at least 33 transgender and gender-nonconforming people have been killed in the United States since November last year. Of those deaths, 26 have been recorded so far this year, following a total of 41 recorded deaths last year. The annual report was released Monday to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“The epidemic of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people is a national embarrassment,” Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson wrote in the report. “Each of these lives taken is a tragedy — the result of a society that demeans and devalues anyone who dares challenge the gender binary.”

People of color have made up the largest share of trans and gender-nonconforming victims of fatal violence since the group began tracking such data in 2013. This year, 69% of all victims were Black, and 51% were Black trans women, according to the report. Hispanic people were the second largest group of victims, making up 21% of all deaths. White people made up 9% of the deaths.

The data also showed that most of the victims were under the age of 35. In the past year, the average age of victims was 28, according to the report.

Human Rights Campaign has identified at least 335 transgender and gender-nonconforming people killed in the past decade. The past four years have been especially fatal for the community, with 171 recorded deaths. In 2021, the number of deaths recorded by the rights group in a single year peaked at 59.

The report emphasized that their numbers are likely an undercount, because “data collection is often incomplete or unreliable when it comes to violent and fatal crimes against trans and gender-nonconforming people.”

It also included a call for lawmakers to take action to address violence toward LGBTQ people by passing legislation such as the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in numerous arenas, including employment, housing and education. The bill passed a House vote in 2021 but has not seen movement in the Senate.

Human Rights Campaign declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ people earlier this year in response to growing numbers of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced nationwide. The majority of the bills target transgender people, according to the rights group, and aim to limit their use of bathrooms, access to gender-affirming care and participation in sports.

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