HRC Blog

Remembering Islan Nettles and All Transgender Victims of Hate Crimes

Today marks the one year anniversary of the death of Islan Nettles, a 21-year-old transgender woman who was brutally beaten to death while walking with friends.

Nettles was out with a group of friends in Harlem, New York, when a group of men identified her as transgender. They began throwing punches and yelling anti-transgender and anti-gay slurs. She was rushed to Harlem Hospital and died four days later. Her murderer is still not behind bars.

Nettles story is tragic. And it's just one of many anti-transgender bias-related hate crimes in the last year. Yesterday, Buzzfeed released a timeline of the violence against the transgender community.  

There are heartbreaking stories from the trans community across America. Yazmin Shanchez, a transgender woman whose body was found burned behind a garbage container in Florida and Zoraida “Ale” Reyes, a 28-year-old transgender and immigration reform activist, was killed in California. Or the murders of Tiffany Edwards in Ohio, Mia Henderson in July and, just one month, earlier Kandy Hall in Baltimore, Maryland.

Lourdes Ashley Hunter, Co-Founder of the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC), works towards bringing visibility to the case and uplifting the narratives of struggle and resilience of trans woman of color. In a statement to HRC, Hunter said, "Five trans women of color were brutally murdered in the forty-two days surrounding our nation’s forty-fifth anniversary of Pride. The average age of these women is 30.  Trans women of color have been violently attacked in our nations parks and subways and three trans women were shot in my hometown of Detroit, Michigan, just this month.’

"Groups like TWOCC and Casa Ruby are leading the way in addressing these critical issues. They shouldn't have to do it by themselves - this is a crucial issue for the whole LGBT community and our allies,"added Hayden Mora, HRC’s Director of Strategic Relations.

HRC condemns all horrendous act of violence. We should all strive to come together and mark the passing of transgender and gender-variant individuals - or those perceived to be transgender - who have been murdered because of hate.

As more and more transgender people share their stories, the public’s understanding of gender identity and expression builds. HRC works to educate the public and provide a range of resources on issues that transgender and gender nonconforming people face—from workplace discrimination, to securing identity documents, to finding culturally competent healthcare, to family and parenting issues—and to advocate for full inclusion and equality. Learn more about HRCs work with the trans community here.

Learn more about the the Trans Women of Color Collective here
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