HRC Mourns Camdyn Rider, transgender man murdered in Winter Haven, Florida

by Laurel Powell

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Camdyn Rider, a 21-year-old white transgender man, who was murdered outside his Winter Park home on Friday, July 21st, 2023. Camdyn’s death is at least the 15th violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2023. We say “at least'' because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported.

Worsening an already unspeakable tragedy, Camdyn was eight months pregnant at the time he was killed, and had recently posted on Facebook about how excited he was to welcome a child into the world.

Today we mourn a tragedy so cruel that it’s hard to even understand. Once again, intimate partner violence - made even more dangerous by too-easy access to a firearm - has ended someone’s life, destroyed a family, and shocked our conscience. How much more of this must we tolerate? Camdyn’s life had barely gotten started, and he had so much potential. We owe it to each and every transgender and non-binary person to renew our commitment to end the epidemics of gun violence and intimate partner violence.”

Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative.

According to news reports, Camdyn was killed outside of his Florida home by his partner, Riley Groover, 26, during an argument. Groover then died by suicide. Sheriff's deputies investigating the murder revealed that Groover had a “history of violence,” and that prior domestic violence incidents had not been reported.

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 2022” found that between 2013 and 2022, approximately one third (29%) 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 one in five (19%) 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 of 44% of all identified cases of fatal violence.

Additionally, according to the 2015 United States Transgender Survey, 54% of transgender and non-binary people have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their life. 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 25,000 hate crimes in the U.S. involve a firearm each year, which equates to almost 70 cases, according to a 2022 report from Everytown for Gun Safety in partnership with HRC and The Equality Federation Support Fund, “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. HRC’s own tracking of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people found that between 2013 and 2022, more than two-thirds of all recorded fatalities against transgender and gender non-conforming people involved a firearm – including over three -quarters of all reported fatalities in 2022.

In an injustice compounding this tragedy, Camdyn was misgendered in some media and police reports. Anti-transgender stigma is exacerbated by callous or disrespectful treatment by some in the media, law enforcement and elected offices. According to HRC research, it is estimated that approximately three-quarters of all known victims were misgendered by the media and/or by law enforcement. In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people. HRC, Media Matters and the Trans Journalists Association have also partnered on an FAQ for reporters writing about anti-trans violence.

At the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Florida are explicitly protected from discrimination in employment, housing, education and public spaces; however, Florida does have multiple anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-transgender laws on its books, and Florida does not include gender identity as a protected characteristic in its hate crimes law. Though we have recently seen some political gains that support and affirm transgender people, we have also faced unprecedented anti-LGBTQ+ attacks in the states. During the most recent legislative session, more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were under consideration in state legislatures across the country, over 200 of which directly targeted transgender people.

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 Count Me In 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. Learn about how transgender and non-binary people are combating transphobia, stigma and anti-trans violence through our Celebrating Changemakers series.