HRC is heartbroken to learn of the death of Merci Mack, a 22-year-old Black transgender woman killed on June 30 in Dallas, Texas. Her death is believed to be at least the 19th known violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person this year in the U.S. Since HRC began tracking this data in 2013, 10% of all deaths have occurred in Texas and another 10% of all deaths occured in Florida, the states with the highest counts nationwide.
On her Facebook, Mack shared that she liked baking cookies at home. She loved relaxing in the jacuzzi. Recently, she posted about how excited she was to return to her job at a local restaurant, which had been closed due to COVID-19. Mack’s loved ones have taken to social media to mourn her death, calling her “beautiful” and “friend.”
Dallas police are asking that anyone with information to contact Detective Tabor with the Dallas Police Department Homicide Unit at 214-671-3605 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reference case #114244-2020.
“Another Black transgender woman has had her life stolen from her,” said Tori Cooper, HRC director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative. “We cannot become numb to the fact that our community has learned of more killings of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the past few weeks than HRC has ever tracked in the past seven years. Her friends say that Merci Mack was a young, upbeat soul who deserved to experience a full life. HRC is mourning with Merci’s loved ones and are calling for a full, thorough investigation into her death.”
Last month, on the 4th anniversary of the tragedy at Pulse, HRC, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, Giffords Law Center and Equality Florida released a new report titled “Remembering and Honoring Pulse: Anti-LGBTQ Bias and Guns are Taking Lives of Countless LGBTQ People.” This report notes that over 10,000 hate crimes in the US involve a firearm each year, which equates to more than 28 each day. The report also notes a marked increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, especially against transgender people. Since 2013, three-fourths of homicides against transgender people have involved a gun, and nearly eight in ten homicides of Black trans women involve a gun. Further, advocates saw a 43% increase in the formation of anti-LGBTQ hate groups in 2019.
In November 2019, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2019,” a heartbreaking report honoring the trans people killed and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence -- a toxic mix of transphobia, racism and misogyny. Sadly, 2019 saw at least 27 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. We say at least because too often these stories go unreported -- or misreported.
At the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Texas are not explicitly protected in employment, housing, education and in public spaces. Additionally, Texas does not include gender identity as a protected characteristic in its hate crimes law. Nationally, despite some recent gains that support and affirm transgender people, the past few 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.
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.