HRC was shocked and saddened to learn that Stephanie Montez, a 47-year-old transgender woman, was brutally murdered weeks ago near Robstown, Texas.
Officers from the Nueces County Sheriff's Office, who misgendered Montez in initial reports, had found Montez’s body with multiple gunshot wounds on Oct. 21. They are continuing the investigation into her murder.
Montez’s longtime friend, Brittany Ramirez, described her as “one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet." Ramirez remembers how Montez loved dancing and “had a great outlook on life.”
“She really enjoyed life,” Ramirez said of Montez. “She was very supportive of everyone.”
Montez’s death is yet another dark moment for the transgender community, which is plagued by disproportionately higher rates of violence. Montez is the 24th known transgender person violently killed in the U.S. this year. So far, almost every victim, including Montez, has been a woman of color.
While Texas’ hate crime laws covers sexual orientation, it does not cover gender identity. Three transgender people — Gwynevere River Song, Kenne McFadden, and now Stephanie Montez — have been killed in Texas just this year. Federal law covers both sexual orientation and gender identity.
Earlier this year, the Texas legislature considered SB 6, an anti-transgender bill that would have overturned non-discrimination ordinances in several major Texas cities, and would have forced state agencies, municipalities, public schools and public universities to discriminate against transgender people.
To learn more about HRC’s transgender justice work and violence against transgender people, visit http://www.hrc.org/explore/topic/transgender.