Human Right Campaign President Alphonso David: 2020 Now Officially the Deadliest Year on Record for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People in the United States

by Lucas Acosta

Today, with news of the death of 20-year-old Brooklyn Deshuna, whom some reports identify as Brooklyn DeShauna, in Shreveport, LA, the Human Rights Campaign has now officially recorded more violent deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people than any year prior -- and we still have three months left in the year. At least 32 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been violently killed this year. We say at least because too often these stories go unreported -- or misreported. Previously, the highest number of fatal deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people that the Human Rights Campaign has tracked over a 12 month period was in 2017, when we recording 31 people violently killed.

In response, Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement:

“Today, we have reached a tragic milestone as we mark the 32nd transgender or gender non-conforming person killed this year, Brooklyn Deshuna. Each person was ripped from their family, their friends and their community by an act of senseless violence driven by bigotry and transphobia, and inflamed by the rhetoric of those who oppose our progress.

“Dehumanizing rhetoric, especially by political leaders like President Trump, has a real life consequence for the community, particularly transgender women of color and especially Black transgender women. As the presidential campaign has hit its crescendo, so too has the attacks coming from Trump, his administration and his allies. They have spent millions on ads spewing hate and lies about the transgender and gender non-conforming community, and have attacked their right to health care, right to serve and right to live openly -- dehumanizing and denying them the dignity they deserve at every opportunity.

“Every life has value, and we must utilize this moment to not only remember Brooklyn and each and every one of the people killed this year, but take action and work to dismantle this culture of violence and stigma that the transgender and gender non-conforming community faces. Our community’s lives are on the line, and we must commit with every breath to fight for the change we need.”

In order to combat stigma against transgender and gender non-conforming people, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has collaborated with WarnerMedia on a PSA campaign to lift up transgender people’s voices and stories. Watch the PSA here and visit www.hrc.org/trans to learn more.

Background information:

  • We have lost at least 32 transgender and gender non-conforming people to fatal violence in 2020, exceeding the previous record of 31 set in 2017
  • There have been 32 deaths in 40 weeks, or about one death every 9 days.
  • Since we began tracking fatal violence in 2013, we have lost at least 197 lives
  • 2/3rds of known victims have been Black women (2013-Present)
  • More than 60% of the incidents involved gun violence (2013-Present)

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