by Laurel Powell •
HRC mourns the death of Kelly Loving (she/her), a 40-year-old transgender woman who was killed in the Club Q mass shooting in Colorado Springs on November 20, 2022. Loving’s death - along with the death of Daniel Aston (he/him), a transgender man also tragically killed at Club Q - mark at least the 33rd and 34th violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2022. Three others -- Ashley Paugh (she/her, 35), Derrick Rump (he/him, 38) and Raymond Green Vance (he/him, 22) -- were also killed in what is now being investigated as a hate crime. A fund has been established to support victims and their families through Colorado Gives.
In an interview, Kelly’s sister, Tiffany Loving, said “She was loving, always trying to help the next person out instead of thinking of herself. She just was a caring person.” Kelly’s friend, Natalee Skye Bingham, said “She was a tough woman… she taught me how it was to be a trans woman and live your life day to day.”
At publishing time, the investigation into the mass shooting at Club Q is still ongoing and an individual in custody is facing murder and bias crime charges. HRC, our staff, and our members join in mourning with the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs in the face of this immeasurable tragedy.
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 HRC’s recent report, “An Epidemic of Violence: Fatal Violence against Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People in 2022,” more than two-thirds (69%) of homicides against transgender people involved a gun, and in 2022, more than seven in ten (72%) involved a gun.
At the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Colorado are explicitly protected from discrimination in employment, housing, education and public spaces. Colorado does include sexual orientation and 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. As of this writing, more than 3000 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are under consideration in state legislatures across the country, nearly 150 of which directly target 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.
Learn more about the fatal violence cases that HRC is tracking where details are unclear. You may find a list of these cases here.
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