HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Scott DeVore, a 51-year-old white gender non-conforming person killed in Augusta, Georgia. Scott also identified as Scottlynn Kelly DeVore and appeared to have been presenting as Scottlynn when leaving home for the last time on March 14. It is unclear based upon public information what name and pronouns DeVore would have wanted used in this tragic context. DeVore’s body was found on March 30.
A suspect has been charged with murder. Tragically, although DeVore was killed in March, HRC did not become aware of this death until November. DeVore’s death is one of more than 36 deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people that HRC has tracked so far this year. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported -- or misreported.
“Every death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in the U.S. and around the world is a tragedy,” said HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative Tori Cooper. “This violence that we have seen so often this year results from stigma and bias against transgender and gender non-conforming people. It’s clear that we are not doing enough to stop this violence -- we need everyone to speak out and take action. As we remember and mourn Scott/Scottlynn DeVore, we must work to dismantle the culture of violence and stigma that is so prevalent in our society.”
DeVore was loved by many people, and friends and family have been posting remembrances on Facebook. One friend shared, “I miss you so much… it still doesn’t seem real to me. You deserved so much better. I love you.” Many have called Devore “sweet” and “beautiful.” Another friend said DeVore was “the best friend anyone could have.”
There are currently very few explicit federal legal protections for transgender or gender non-conforming people. At the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Georgia are not explicitly protected in state laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, education and public spaces. While Georgia passed hate crimes legislation in June 2020 that does include sexual orientation, the law does not explicitly cover 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, 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 first PSA here.
In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people. For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/transgender.