by Madeleine Roberts •
HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Diamond Kyree Sanders, a 23-year-old Black transgender woman who was shot to death in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 3. Her death is at least the 11th violent death of a transgender or non-binary person in 2021. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported.
Diamond was described by a family member on social media as “beloved.” An obituary shared by her family describes many loving memories. “She valued her family and enjoyed spending time with them. As a child, she would say ‘I love my WHOLE family!’,” the obituary states. “As an adult, Diamond was a traveler, known to be in New York City one week and New Orleans the following week. Diamond was really into fashion… Diamond’s unique style, charm and personality will be greatly missed.”
HRC recorded 44 deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people in 2020, more than in any year since we began tracking this violence in 2013.
According to the National Black Justice Coalition, Diamond’s death is currently being investigated, and anyone with information can contact the Cincinnati Police Department Homicide Unit at 531-352-3542.
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.
At the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Ohio are not explicitly protected from discrimination in employment, housing, education and public spaces. Ohio also does not have a law that expressly addresses hate or bias crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While the past few years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at many levels of government, recent weeks have seen some gains that support and affirm transgender people.
We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation at the local, state and federal levels, while also considering every possible way to make ending this violence a reality. It is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, especially Black transgender women. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive, so we must all work together to cultivate acceptance, reject hate and end stigma for everyone in the trans and gender non-conforming community.
In order to work towards this goal and combat stigma against transgender and non-binary people, HRC has collaborated with WarnerMedia on a PSA campaign to lift up their voices and stories. Learn more and watch the PSAs here.
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. For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/transgender.
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