Post submitted by Jane Coaston, former HRC Writer

Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, a transgender woman living in San Francisco who volunteered at a shelter for transgender people, was brutally murdered on Sunday morning. Her death and the deaths of three other trans women of color this month are a stark and horrifying reminder that for trans people, discrimination, violence and prejudice are all too often daily occurrences.  

Seventy-two percent of the victims of LGBTQ or HIV-motivated hate violence homicides in 2013 were transgender women, and 67 percent were transgender women of color. In a country where many transgender people lack safe spaces to work, live, learn or even go to the bathroom, discrimination puts their very lives at incredible risk.

And the resources we might expect could help transgender and gender-nonconforming people can do more harm than good. We're still learning more about the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Jessie Hernandez, a 17-year-old Latina Coloradan. Jessie was openly gay and had a masculine presentation.  

A 2011 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force found that among transgender people who had interactions with police, 22 percent reported encountering bias-based harassment. Just last week, HRC Foundation, in partnership with Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC), released an issue brief detailing the violence facing transgender people, and solutions that can be pursued by policymakers and public and private sector leaders to address the national crisis. 

As our movement continues to fight for full equality, we must remember that justice for some is not justice for all. Marriage equality will not prevent discrimination against transgender people. The elimination of the Defense of Marriage Act will not stop the brutal murders of transgender and gender non-conforming people. We have come a long way. But not far enough. 


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