by Violet Lhant •
Keeva Scatter, a 34-year-old Black transgender woman, was found fatally shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Oct. 15, 2021. TransGriot reported Scatter’s death, but there is very little information about her personal life that is publicly available. Scatter’s death is at least the 55th violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported. In 2021, despite limitations in reporting, HRC officially recorded the largest number of fatal trans violence incidents for a second consecutive year since we began tracking this violence in 2013.
According to TransGriot, Scatter’s body was found dead from a gunshot wound in a grassy field in the 4100 block of W. Brookstown Dr. near Prescott Rd.
The Baton Rouge Police Department is continuing to investigate Scatter’s death. Those with information are encouraged to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at 344-7867.
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, Scatter 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 Louisiana are not explicitly protected from discrimination in employment, housing, education and public spaces. While Louisiana does include sexual orientation as a protected characteristic in its hate crimes law, it does not include gender identity. While we have recently seen some political gains that support and affirm transgender people, we have also faced anti-LGBTQ+ attacks at many levels of government this year. As of this writing, more than 200 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are under consideration in state legislatures across the country, more than 90 of which directly target transgender people. 2021 set a record as the worst year for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in recent history.
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 addition to the incidents of fatal violence that we track each year, HRC monitors several concerning deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people where details are unclear. We call for further investigation into these cases, which currently stand at 14--seven of which occurred in 2021. You may find a list of these cases here.
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 hrc.org/CountMeIn.
For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/transgender.
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