Update: A suspect was arrested later that month and is being held without bond.
HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Bee Love Slater, a Black transgender woman who was brutally murdered in Florida last week.
Slater, 23, was found burned in a vehicle in Clewiston, Florida, on Wednesday. According to reports, she was tied up and shot before she was burned.
Of the known transgender people killed this year, 12 have died from gun violence. Of the more than 150 known victims of anti-transgender violence from 2013 to present, approximately two-thirds of those killed were victims of gun violence.
Slater is remembered by loved ones as someone “with a really, really sweet heart” who “never harmed anyone.”
“Bee Love was loved by many family, friends and neighbors,” the funeral home wrote in a Facebook statement. Slater would have turned 24 this week.
Slater’s friends believe she may have been targeted because she was transgender.
Slater is the 18th known transgender person killed this year, a majority of whom were Black transgender women. Slater was killed the same week as Bailey Reeves, a 17-year-old Black transgender teen who was shot in Baltimore on Labor Day.
In November of 2018, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2018,” a heartbreaking report honoring the trans people killed and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence.
These victims are not numbers -- they were people with hopes and plans, dreams for the future, loved ones and communities who will miss them every day.
In an injustice compounding injustice, Slater was deadnamed by law enforcement and in initial reports. Anti-transgender stigma is exacerbated by callous or disrespectful treatment too often seen from media, law enforcement and our highest elected officials. In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people.
There are currently very few explicit legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. Transgender people in Florida are not explicitly protected across many aspects of daily life, including housing and employment, and they are not covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation.
Despite marginal gains in state and local policies that support and affirm transgender people, recent years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government. We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state and federal levels because it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.
HRC will continue to hold the Trump administration and all elected officials who fuel the flames of hate accountable at the ballot box.
This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color -- particularly Black transgender women -- must cease.
For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/Transgender.