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

Amber Monroe was only 20 years old when she was fatally shot in Detroit this past Saturday morning. A recent high school graduate and student at Wayne State University, Amber’s death is a horrific reminder of the near-constant threat of violence that transgender people face.

Amber is at least the 12th transgender woman, and the 10th transgender woman of color, who has been killed in 2015. In the past three weeks, two other transgender women, India Clarke and K.C. Haggard, were violently killed.

Since I came to work at the HRC Foundation about a year ago, I have written countless blog posts on the murders of transgender women, highlighting the ways in which issues like housing and workplace discrimination, poverty and racism conspire to make transgender women vulnerable to violence.

The vast majority of the women whose murders I have chronicled have been young women of color, many who were early in their transitions and only beginning to enjoy living as their authentic selves. They have been victims of violence by intimate partners––people who are supposed to love them––or by men who solicit them for sex, but otherwise see them as disposable or find their own desires to be a source of shame.

But these women are more than their deaths. They have also been loved dearly by friends, family members and their communities. The memories of their surviving loved ones are haunting, offering glimpses of their kindness, determination and resilience in the face of challenges that most of us cannot imagine.

To be clear, these crimes have not been random––they are the results of systemic problems that force transgender women of color to the margins of our society and offer them few avenues for success. These crimes are the result of a society where people are still more obsessed with whether a transgender person has had surgery than that they are a human being.

As we mourn the death of Amber Monroe, may our sadness drive us to action that starts with supporting the transgender people in our lives and our communities and educating ourselves about the challenges transgender people face.

For more information about the violence facing transgender people, visit

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