HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death early this year of Ellie Washtock, who sometimes went by Eli, a gender non-conforming person who was shot to death in St. Augustine, Florida. HRC was delayed in learning about this death due to conflicting reports on Washtock’s gender identity.
Washtock was shot to death on Jan. 31, 2019. On May 6, the Putnam County Medical Examiner’s Office announced that Washtock’s death was a homicide. No arrests have been made. Local authorities have asked that anyone with information regarding this death should contact Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 1-888-277-8477.
Washtock was a parent to two children. Loved ones noted the death on a memorial website: “My heart was torn 1-31-2019 when I heard you were taken. You are loved forever.”
Washtock, 38, is the 23rd known transgender person killed this year, and the 2nd transgender or gender non-conforming person HRC has learned was killed in Florida this year. Bee Love Slater, 23, was killed in Clewiston, Florida, on Sept. 4.
Of the known transgender and gender non-conforming people killed this year, 18, including Washtock, 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.
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 just numbers or headlines. They were real people worthy of dignity and respect, of life and love.
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-Pence 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.