Lisa Love was a 35-year-old Black transgender woman from Chicago, Illinois who one friend described as “funny, smart, beautiful and a breath of fresh air to this world.” Tragically, on October 17, 2023, she was fatally shot in Chicago, Illinois while walking home from a friend’s house. Lisa’s death is at least the 24th 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. The Human Rights Campaign is deeply saddened to report on Lisa’s passing.
Lisa’s cousin remembered her as “An all-around good person who did not deserve this. A loving, caring, free-spirited person. Always smiling and laughing.”
Police are investigating the shooting, which Lisa’s family members believe was targeted.
Lisa is the fourth transgender or gender non-conforming killed in October, and the second to be killed in Chicago that month, with her death occurring just four days after Dominic Dupree (also known as Dominic Palace) was killed two miles away. All four victims were Black, and three of the four were killed with a gun. HRC’s own tracking found that, since 2013, at least 231 transgender and gender non-conforming victims of fatal violence have been killed with a firearm, approximately 70% of all deaths identified to date.
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.
At the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Illinois are explicitly protected from discrimination in employment, housing, education and public spaces. Illinois does include sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected characteristic in its hate crimes law. Though we have recently seen some political gains that support and affirm transgender people, we have also faced unprecedented anti-LGBTQ+ attacks in the states. 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.
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.