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- Fatal violence against transgender people is an “epidemic,” experts at the American Medical Association (AMA) said.
- In 2019, at least 18 transgender people have been killed, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
- According to the AMA, violence against transgender people in the US is on the rise, particularly effecting black transgender women.
- It’s also possible that there are more deaths than the ones recorded, as the data collected when reporting these crimes can be inaccurate due to misgendering and deadnaming (using a person’s birth name rather than their chosen name) by law enforcement.
- According to data collected by the HRC in 2018, most of the victims of this violence last year were young, black transgender women who live in the US south.
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At least 18 transgender people have been killed in the US this year – many of them women of color. The spate of murders has caused alarm among public health experts, and the lack of institutionalized recognition of transgender people has led to poor data from law enforcement officials.
In a June press release, the American Medical Association (AMA) called this an “epidemic.” Bobby Mukkamala, who is on the board of the AMA, said that violence against transgender people in the US is on the rise, particularly impacting transgender women of color.
Experts believe the number of those affected by violence could be even higher than 18 due to errors in reporting these crimes to law enforcement.
Factors that lead to inaccuracies in reporting are things like posthumously misgendering or deadnaming a person. Misgendering is when a person is referred to by any pronouns other than the ones they use. Deadnaming is when a person is referred to by the name they used before they transitioned. Referring to someone by their deadname is considered insensitive and harmful.
This ‘epidemic’ has been going on for years
A 2018 report from ProPublica found that about 65 different law enforcement agencies across the country have investigated murders of transgender people since January 2015. In 74 of 85 cases, victims were either misgendered or deadnamed. The outlet also found that arrests have been made in 55% of the killings of transgender people in the US.
- REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) found that at least 26 transgender people were killed in 2018. Of those killed, 82% were women of color, 64% were younger than the age of 35, and 55% lived in the US South, according to a report from the HRC. Of the crimes reported in last year, 74% of victims were misgendered in initial police or media reports, the HRC reported.
18 transgender people have been killed in 2019
So far in 2019, at least 18 transgender people have been killed. Due to inaccurate counts because of factors like misgendering and failure to report, that number could be higher.
Here is a list of all those who have been killed so far in 2019, according to the HRC:
- Dana Martin, 31, was found dead on January 6 in Montogomery, Alabama, according to NBC News.
- Jazzaline Ware, age unknown, was found dead in her Memphis, Tennessee, apartment in March, according to the Transgender Law Center.
- Ashanti Carmon, 27, was found dead in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on March 30, ABC 7 reported.
- Claire Legato, 21, was shot on April 15 in Cleveland, Ohio, according to Cleveland.com. She died on May 15.
- Muhlaysia Booker, 23, was fatally shot in East Dallas, Texas, on May 18, according to a local CBS affiliate.
- Michelle “Tamika” Washington, 40, was fatally shot in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 19, according to the Philadelphia Gay News.
- Paris Cameron, 20, was shot dead in a Detroit, Michigan, house on May 25, BuzzFeed News reported. Four others were shot in the same incident, including two gay men who were killed – Alunte Davis Timothy Blancher.
- Chynal Lindsey, 26, was found dead in White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, with police noting there were “obvious signs of homicidal violence,” CBS News reported.
- Chanel Scurlock, 23, was found dead in a field in Lumberton, North Carolina on June 6 after she had been fatally shot, Vice reported.
- Zoe Spears, 23, was found dead in the street in George’s County, Maryland, on June 13, according to the Washington Post.
- Brooklyn Lindsey, 32, was found dead on the porch of a vacant home in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 25, BuzzFeed News reported.
- Denali Berries Stuckey, 29, was found fatally shot on the side of the road in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 20, ABC News reported.
- Kiki Fantroy, 21, was fatally shot near an abandoned home in Miami, Florida, on July 31, the Miami Herald reported.
- Jordan Cofer, 22, was among those killed in a mass shooting near a bar in Dayton, Ohio, on August 4. Cofer’s sibling, Conner Betts was the suspect in the shooting. In original reports, Cofer was identified with a different name, and according to a report from Splinter News, the 22-year-old was out as a trans man to only a small number of people.
- Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, 24, was found shot dead in her car in Allendale County, South Carolina, according to the Post and Courrier. She was misgendered in initial reports.
- Tracy Single, 22, was found dead in a Houston, Texas, gas station on July 20, according to the Dallas Voice.
- Bailey Reeves, 17, was fatally shot in Northeast Baltimore, Maryland, on September 2, the Baltimore Sun reported.
- Bee Love Slater, 23, was found dead in her car in Harlem, Florida, on September 4, Insider previously reported. She had been burned beyond recognition.
Of those listed above, 17 of the 18 were black, with Cofer being the only exception.
The AMA has a policy-focused response to the violence
In response to the epidemic of violence, the AMA has issued new policies that focus on education, legislature, and working with law enforcement to ensure correct and consistent data collection for hate crimes committed against transgender people.
The AMA also seeks to enact policies to increase mental health treatment accessibility and prevent bias against and mistreatment of transgender people by law enforcement.
“The ugly truth is, despite some progress made regarding rights for trans people in this country, our society is still largely unwilling to accept them for who they are,” Claudia Harrison, a spokesperson for the Compass LGBTQ Community Center in Florida, previously told Insider. “Trans people who choose to live authentically are in danger every day simply for being themselves.”
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