HRC Mourns Bailey Reeves, a Black Transgender Teen Killed in Maryland

by Madeleine Roberts

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Bailey Reeves, a Black transgender teen fatally shot in Baltimore over Labor Day weekend.

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Bailey Reeves, a Black transgender teen fatally shot in Baltimore over Labor Day weekend. 

Reeves, 17, was found late on September 2 after being shot multiple times, according to reports. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died of her injuries. Reeves is the 17th known transgender person killed this year, a majority of whom were Black transgender women.

A vigil is being held on Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. in Baltimore to celebrate her life. 

Reeves’ death comes in the midst of a recent rise in violence in Baltimore and as a national spotlight is focused on the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. Just one week ago, a shooting rampage near Odessa and Midland, Texas, left seven people dead and at least 22 injured. 

Of the known transgender people killed this year, 11 have died from gun violence. Of the more than 140 known victims of anti-transgender violence from 2013 to present, approximately two-thirds of those killed were victims of gun violence.

Anti-transgender stigma is exacerbated by callous or disrespectful treatment too often seen from media, law enforcement and our highest elected officials. In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people.

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 numbers -- they were people with hopes and dreams, love and laughter. 

There are currently very few explicit legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. 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 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