An Advocate for Trans Rights with a Bright Smile, HRC Celebrates the Life of Kathryn “Katie” Newhouse

by Meghan Olson

Kathryn “Katie” Newhouse, a 19-year-old Asian-American neurodivergent transgender woman, was an Illinois native who had a passion for hiking, sightseeing and advocating for trans rights. On March 19, 2022, she was killed by her father in Georgia before he died by suicide using the same weapon. Newhouse’s death is at least the 8th violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person reported in 2022. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported. In 2021, despite limitations in reporting, HRC officially recorded the largest number of fatal trans violence incidents for a second consecutive year since we began tracking this violence in 2013.

Trigger Warning: Assault and Family Violence

According to court records, Kathryn’s father was previously arrested for assaulting her in 2019 when she was 16. In 2019, Howard Newhouse was accused of “intentionally or without provocation” causing physical pain and harm to his daughter at their home by “holding her down on a bed by her throat.” Records show the father was arrested by deputies for a misdemeanor charge of simple battery, described as family violence.

Kathryn’s death is a tragedy and she should still be alive. Simply, the nineteen years she had on this earth were not enough. As a young Asian-American transgender woman, her passion for advocacy and learning about the world shined as bright as her smile. We must work to protect transgender and gender non-conforming people facing abuse so they can safely live their truth and dismantle life-threatening systems of oppression."

Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative

Tragically, interpersonal violence accounts for a significant number of fatalities against transgender and gender non-conforming people. A report by the HRC Foundation, “An Epidemic of Violence 2021,” found that between 2013 and 2021, approximately two thirds of transgender and gender non-conforming people with known killers had their lives taken by an acquaintance, friend, family member or intimate partner. Intimate partners specifically accounted for over a fifth (21%) of all known perpetrators–and it is likely this may even be an undercount. To date, the relationship of the victim to the killer is still unknown for a plurality (43%) of all identified cases of fatal violence.

Last year, HRC released a report, titled “LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence and COVID-19,” that details the increased risk of interpersonal violence faced by LGBTQ+ people which has been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 10,000 hate crimes in the U.S. involve a firearm each year, which equates to more than 28 each day, according to a 2020 report from HRC, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, Giffords Law Center and Equality Florida titled “Remembering and Honoring Pulse: Anti-LGBTQ Bias and Guns Are Taking Lives of Countless LGBTQ People.” The report also notes a marked increase in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes, especially against transgender people. According to the 2017-2019 Transgender Homicide Tracker, three-fourths of confirmed homicides against transgender people have involved a gun, and nearly eight in 10 homicides of Black trans women involve a gun. Further, advocates saw a 43% increase in the formation of anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups in 2019.

More resources:

  • Learn more about the fatal violence cases that HRC is tracking where details are unclear. You may find a list of these cases here.

  • Watch this PSA campaign elevating stories of trans joy and love.

  • Join HRC's CountMeIn campaign to take action for transgender and non-binary people.

  • Read these guidelines and this FAQ for journalists to ensure greater accuracy and respect in reporting.