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HRC is horrified to learn of the death of Mia Green, 29, a Black trans woman who was killed in Philadelphia, Pa. on September 28. She was found suffering from a gunshot wound and was transported to a hospital, where she passed away. Her death is believed to be at least the 29th violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person this year in the U.S. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported -- or misreported. The number of transgender or gender non-conforming people whom HRC has tracked as being killed so far this year has now surpassed the total number of deaths that HRC tracked in all of 2019.
“We are mourning Mia’s loss along with her friends and family. Although I did not know Mia personally, we are from the same community and share many mutual friends. Her loss is devastating,” said HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative Tori Cooper. “Mia was a person who mattered, and she did not deserve to have her life stolen from her. Too often, we see a mix of toxic masculinity, misogyny, racism and transphobia play a strong factor in the deaths of Black trans women like Mia. As we remember her, we must continue to affirm that Black Trans Lives matter. Everyone — including those in government, law enforcement and our friends and neighbors — must speak up and take action to bring this horrific violence to an end. Yet another Black trans woman has been taken from us far too soon.”
Friends are remembering Mia on social media. One friend shared, “Her smile was so perfect and so contagious. She made me laugh.” Another said that she was “such a sweet spirit.” Others shared that her death was “heartbreaking,” and called for justice.
After an investigation, police arrested a suspect in Mia Green’s killing, who has been charged with murder and related offenses.
In an injustice compounding this tragedy, Mia Green has been misnamed in some media reports following her death. 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 or by law enforcement. In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people.
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 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. Three-fourths of 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 Pennsylvania are not explicitly protected from discrimination in employment, housing, education and public spaces. Pennsylvania also does not have a law that addresses hate crimes that are based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Nationally, despite some marginal gains that support and affirm transgender people, the past few 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 at the local, state and federal levels. 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.
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 hrc.org/transgender.