At least forty-seven transgender people in the United States fell victim to violence this year, according to the latest estimates from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s top LGBTQ organization.
The 47 confirmed trans fatalities due to violence in 2021 surpassed the 44 transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals who died in 2020, which heretofore had been the highest of any year since HRC began tracking reports of transgender deaths in 2013. At the same time, the organization notes that 47 may be an underestimate of the total number, as data collection can be difficult, in part due to incomplete or unreliable reporting. That larger number could include trans individuals whose deaths were never reported, or who were misgendered by police, in the media, and even by their own families.
“For the second year in a row, the trans community has seen a grim milestone: 2021 has become the deadliest year on record, just as 2020 was. Each and every name read and recognized on the Trans Day of Remembrance represented a full, rich life that did not deserve to be cut short,” Joni Madison, the interim president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.
Just days before the Transgender Day of Remembrance — when people throughout the world remember the trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming victims of violence in vigils and memorial services — HRC released a report honoring the 47 who lost their lives to violence, as well as a webpage honoring 13 other trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming individuals whose deaths have not yet been ruled homicides.
The report authors note that stigma, bias, and systemic discrimination heighten and even exacerbate the vulnerability of transgender individuals. At the same time, legislators in various states have introduced more than 130 bills targeting transgender individuals, especially transgender youth, with at least 25 of those bills being enacted across eight states. Those statistics mark the highest number of bills introduced or enacted in a single year since HRC began tracking such legislation.
“The rhetoric and stigma aimed by anti-equality political leaders and public figures at transgender and non-binary people have led to an unprecedented level of horrific violence against our transgender community,” Madison added. “We must fight for change. We must dismantle this stigma. We must bring this epidemic of violence to an end.”
The report also suggests action items that activists, stakeholders, and those in positions of power can take to help curb anti-transgender violence, often by addressing the root causes of or contributing factors to that violence, such as poverty, discrimination, and societal stigma. The proposals echo recommendations made in a recent report published by the international watchdog organization Human Rights Watch.
The names of those lost this year include:
Tiyanna Alexander, a.k.a. Davarea Alexander, 28, shot to death in Chicago on Jan. 6;
Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, shot to death in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico on Jan. 9;
Bianca “Muffin” Banks, shot to death in Atlanta on Jan. 17;
Dominique Jackson, shot to death in Jackson, Mississippi, on Jan. 25;
Fifty Bandz, 21, shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Jan. 28;
Alexus Braxton, 45, killed in Miami on Feb. 4;
Chyna Carrillo, a.k.a. Chyna Cardenas, 25, killed in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 18;
Jeffrey “JJ” Bright, a 16-year-old trans man, and his sibling, Jasmine Cannady, a nonbinary 22-year-old, shot to death by a family member, in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 22;
Jenna Franks, 34, killed in Jacksonville, North Carolina in February sometime before Feb. 24;
Diamond Kyree Sanders, 23, shot to death in Cincinnati, Ohio, on March 3;
Aidelen Evans, 24, killed in Port Arthur, Texas, prior to March 15;
Rayanna Pardo, 26, struck by a car while fleeing attackers, in Los Angeles, on March 17;
Jaida Peterson, 29, killed in Charlotte, North Carolina, on April 4;
Dominique Lucious, 26, shot and killed in Springfield, Missouri, on April 8;
Remy Fennell, shot to death in Charlotte, North Carolina, on April 15;
Tiara Banks, 24, shot to death in Chicago on April 21;
Natalia Smut, 24, stabbed to death in Milpitas, California, on April 23;
Iris Santos, 22, shot to death in Houston on April 23;
Tiffany Thomas, 38, shot to death in Dallas on April 24;
Keri Washington, 49, bludgeoned to death in Clearwater, Florida, on May 1;
Jahaira DeAlto, 42, stabbed to death in Boston on May 2;
Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, 41, shot in York, Pennsylvania on May 3 and dying the following day;
Sophie Vásquez, 36, shot and killed in Brookhaven, Georgia, on May 4;
Danika “Danny” Henson, a.k.a. Pryynce Daniel and Niia Da Don, 31, shot to death in Baltimore on May 4;
Serenity Hollis, 24, shot to death in Albany, Georgia, on May 8;
Oliver “Ollie Taylor, 17, kidnapped and shot in Gervais, Oregon, on May 12, and dying a week later;
Thomas Hardin, a gender-fluid 35-year-old, shot to death in York, South Carolina, on May 2;
Poe Black, a.k.a. Oliver Jackson and Legion, 21, killed in Niland, California, sometime before May 11;
Tierramarie Lewis, 36, shot and killed in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 12;
EJ Boykin, a.k.a. Novaa Watson, 23, shot to death in Lynchburg, Virginia, on June 14;
Taya Ashton, 20, shot and killed in Suitland, Maryland, on July 17;
Shai Vanderpump, 23, shot to death in Trenton, New Jersey, on July 30;
Miss CoCo, 44, shot and killed in Dallas on Aug. 7;
Pooh Johnson, 25, shot and killed in Shreveport, Louisiana, on Aug. 23;
Zoella “Zoey” Rose Martinez, 20, shot and killed in Maple Valley, Washington, on Aug. 31;
Disaya Monaee, 32, shot and killed in Chicago on Sept. 6;
Briana Hamilton, 25, shot and killed in Chicago on Sept. 17;
Kiér Laprí Kartier, 21, shot and killed in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 30;
Royal Poetical Starz, 26, shot to death in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Oct. 2;
Mel Groves, 25, shot and killed in Jackson, Mississippi, on Oct. 11;
Jessi Hart, 42, killed in Banks, Oregon, on Oct. 17;
Jo Acker, 26, killed in a mass shooting at a mall in Boise, Idaho, on Oct. 26;
Rikkey Outumuro, a.k.a. Tru Starlet, 39, shot to death in Centralia, Washington, on Oct. 30;
Jenny De Leon, 25, killed in Tampa, Florida, on Nov. 2;
Marquiisha Lawrence, 28, shot and killed in Greenville, South Carolina, on Nov. 4;
Angel Naira, 36, shot and killed in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 11.
“Each year, transgender and nonbinary people gather together to mourn those lost and hope for a more peaceful future,” Tori Cooper, the director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a statement. “On the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we must all reaffirm our commitment to fighting on every front necessary to ensure our transgender siblings’ deaths will not be forgotten. We will honor their lives and their memories with action.”
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