Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager

Transgender women of color are facing an epidemic of violence. Just days after we learned of the killing of Amber Monroe in Detroit, another transgender woman of color was shot yesterday in the same city. And today, we mourn the death of Shade Schuler, a 22-year-old from Dallas, whose badly decomposed body was found in a field on July 29 and only identified this week.

Shade Schuler is at least the 13th transgender woman who has been killed in the U.S. in the first eight months of 2015, which is the same number of transgender women that we know of who were killed in all of 2014. The uptick suggests either an increase in anti-transgender violence, or at the very least, that we are becoming more aware of these crimes, despite the tendency of local media outlets to misgender victims in press reports.

The vast majority of these victims were young transgender women of color, who are faced with the intersecting challenges of racism, sexism and transphobia, which too often translate into extreme poverty, and barriers to housing, employment, healthcare and support services like shelters and rape crisis centers. 

According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, Black transgender people, for example, are more than eight times as likely than the general U.S. population, and more than four times as likely than the general Black U.S. population to live in extreme poverty, making less than $10,000 per year.

Earlier this year, the HRC Foundation released an issue brief, A National Crisis: Anti-Transgender Violence, highlighting some of the issues that contribute to this epidemic of violence and issuing several calls-to-action to both public and private institutions, including: 

  • Support for emergency housing initiatives
  • Expanding healthcare coverage for transgender people
  • Addressing unemployment through public-private partnerships and non-discrimination protections
  • Improving educational environments for transgender students, and
  • Improving law enforcement training and response.

For more information on anti-transgender violence visit hrc.org/trans-violence.


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