HRC Mourns Kiér Laprí Kartier, Black Transgender Woman Killed in Arlington, Texas

by Violet Lhant

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Kiér Laprí Kartier, a 21-year-old Black transgender woman who was fatally shot in Arlington, Texas on September 30, 2021. Kartier’s death is at least the 38th violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021, and the fifth in Texas. We say “at least'' because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported.

Kartier was from Dallas, Texas and graduated from Skyline High School. Her friends remembered her on social media, with one describing her as a “very strong, independent person” who “always had my back through thick and thin.”

“Since I moved to Dallas 3 years ago to the date tomorrow, this is the eighth transgender woman of color who has been shot. The seven who were killed were all Black and the Latina survived. I didn’t know that when I moved here I was moving to a place where being trans means being more deserving to die. That a trans life was not equivalent to any other life and was less deserving. That is the mentality of many outside our LGBTQ+ community here and it has to stop. We need the help of others to stop the senseless violence and killing of trans people in this city. My heart goes out to this lovely trans sister who lost her life at only 21 and all those who loved and knew her.”

Naomi Green, HRC ACTIVATE Fellow

“With Kartier’s death, we’ve already recorded more incidents of fatal violence this year than at this time last year. These attacks on our community must stop, and we need to direct resources toward supporting and protecting transgender and non-binary people.”

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

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.

Arlington PD detectives are currently seeking surveillance video and witnesses. Anyone with information about Kartier’s death is asked to call Detective Spencer at 817-459-6466 and reference report 2021-02730723. For anonymous tips, call Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County at 817-469-TIPS (8477).

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.

In an injustice compounding this tragedy, Kartier 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 Texas are not explicitly protected from discrimination in employment, housing, education and public spaces. While Texas does include sexual orientation as a protected characteristic in its hate crimes law, it does not expressly include gender identity. While recent weeks have seen some gains that support and affirm transgender people, we are also currently facing anti-LGBTQ attacks at many levels of government, with more than 260 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country, more than 120 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.

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.

HRC has also launched the “Count Me In” campaign to encourage everyone, LGBTQ people and allies, to get loud, get visible and spread awareness on behalf of transgender and non-binary people. The more people who show they care, including allies and trans and non-binary people who speak up for the most marginalized in our community, the more hearts and minds we will change. Learn more and take action at