Conflicting media reports have led to uncertainty about Bostick's gender identity. Interviews with people who knew him indicate that he previously lived as a as a transgender woman, but identified as male and used the name Kenneth at the time of his death. Because of the many ways that anti-transgender bias can put someone at risk for violence, HRC and other advocates are marking Bostick's death, while making every effort to respectfully reflect his identity.
HRC was horrified to learn of the death of Kenneth Bostick, a transgender person found with severe injuries on a Manhattan sidewalk on the evening of April 25. Mr. Bostick was hospitalized, but died of his injuries Thursday. The New York City medical examiner has ruled his death a homicide.
New York police have not identified any suspects in Bostick’s murder, NBC 4 reported, and authorities are asking the public to share any information about the attack. Police also have not said whether Bostick was attacked near Seventh Avenue and 29 Street, where he was found unconscious, or whether he was moved there after being assaulted elsewhere.
Though few details about Bostick’s life have been reported, he is believed to have been homeless at the time he was attacked, according to the New York Post. As HRC and the Trans People of Color Coalition explained in A Matter of Life and Death, released last November, homelessness is a major path by which bias and discrimination put transgender people at risk for violence.
Transgender people face extraordinary rates of homelessness exacerbated by discrimination in education, employment and housing, according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality. Nearly three in 10 survey participants had been homeless at some point in their lives. Of that group, more than a quarter had avoided shelters because they feared discrimination, while 70 percent of those who accessed shelters were harassed, assaulted, kicked out, or otherwise mistreated because they were transgender.
To learn more about violence against transgender people, click here to read A Matter of Life and Death from HRC and the Trans People of Color Coalition.