In response to the violent attack of a 15-year-old transgender teenager on the Washington, D.C. metro this week, HRC has renewed calls for stronger measures to protect transgender people - especially transgender women of color - from violence and harassment.
According to the reports, friends who were with the victim at the time, said she was approached by a stranger who “asked her why she was wearing a wig and insulted her appearance” before attacking her with a knife. The victim – who has not been identified because she is minor – is in stable condition and the police have a suspect in custody.
"Attacking a child is always utterly reprehensible and our hearts and thoughts are with the victim and her family. This terrible incident fits within a broader trend of violence against transgender people and especially transgender women of color. While there are no easy answers on how to end this violence, that's no excuse for inaction,” said HRC’s Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. "All of us must do more - from states and municipalities to LGBT organizations like HRC. We're committed to reaching out to and working with leaders in the transgender community -inside and outside of HRC- to identify ways in which we can be a part of the solution."
This attack comes in midst of a series of violent incidents against the transgender community - including the murder of six women of color just this year.
The 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on the experiences of transgender Americans found that nationally, black transgender and gender non-conforming people often live in extreme poverty, with 34% reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year, eight times the rate of the general U.S. population. Transgender women of color face disproportionate levels in violence in comparison to other members of the LGBT community. According to a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), 72 percent of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were transgender women and 89 percent were people of color. Discrimination in employment, healthcare, and persistent racism can reinforce one another to place transgender people of color at greater risk for poverty and violence.
Sainz continued, "Anti-bullying programs that address anti-LGBT and gender-based harassment and bullying will help to thwart this hostile, violent behavior. We would encourage educators, parents, counselors, community leaders to talk to young adults about respecting difference, about the "golden rule" and not to target people based on how they look or what they wear."