Amiri Reid, a Black transgender woman, had an infectious sense of humor, enjoyed witty wordplay and is remembered as “the life of the party” by friends and family. On November 14, 2023, Amiri, 21, was shot and killed in Toledo, Ohio, while driving around her hometown with her friend, Kejaun Richardson, a gender nonconforming gay Black man; Kejuan was also killed in the shooting. Amiri’s death is at least the 27th violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2023. We say “at least'' because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported.
According to PGH Lesbian, “officers were dispatched to the area of Rosedale and Bluff. When officers arrived, they found the victims each suffering from gunshot wounds. The coroner’s office report said an autopsy found Reid died from two gunshot wounds to the head and Richardson died from two gunshot wounds to the head and neck.” The suspected shooter, Jorenzo Phillips, subsequently died by suicide on November 23rd, after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Amiri is at least the 15th Black transgender woman to be killed in 2023, and the 20th trans or gender non-conforming person killed in 2023 with a gun. More than 25,000 hate crimes in the U.S. involve a firearm each year, which equates to almost 70 cases, according to a 2022 report from Everytown for Gun Safety in partnership with HRC and The Equality Federation Support Fund, “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. In 2022, the most recent year for which data is available, the FBI recorded a record-high number of hate crimes related to gender identity, including a 33% jump in hate crimes on the basis of gender identity from the year before. HRC’s own tracking of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people found that between 2013 and 2023, approximately seven in ten (69.6%) of all recorded fatalities against transgender and gender non-conforming people involved a firearm.
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 the 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 June 2023, the Human Rights Campaign declared a National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans, as a result of the more than 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced into state houses that year, over 80 of which were signed into law—more than in any other year.