A National Crisis: Anti-Transgender Violence

Produced by the HRC Foundation

New issue brief details realities that conspire to put transgender people of color at heightened risk of violence.

In January 2015, HRC Foundation, in partnership with Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC)released an issue brief detailing the violence facing transgender people, and solutions that can be pursued by policymakers and public and private sector leaders to address the national crisis.

At the time of this report, at least 21 transgender people have been murdered in the United States during 2015:

  • Papi Edwards, 20, of Louisville, Ky. was fatally shot on January 9. (1)
  • Lamia Beard, 30, of Norfolk, Va. was fatally shot on January 17.
  • Ty Underwood, 24, of Tyler, Texas was fatally shot on January 26.
  • Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, of Los Angeles, Calif. was fatally stabbed on January 31.
  • Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, 33, of San Francisco, Calif. was fatally stabbed on February 1.
  • Penny Proud, 21, of New Orleans, La. was fatally shot on February 10.
  • Kristina Gomez Reinwald (aka Kristina Grant Infiniti), 46, of Miami, Fla. was fatally stabbed on February 15.
  • Keyshia Blige, 33, of Aurora, Ill., was fatally shot in March.
  • London Chanel, 21, of Philadelphia, Pa. was fatally stabbed on May 18.
  • Mercedes Williamson, 17, of George County, Ala. was found dead after being stabbed on June 2.
  • Jasmine Collins, 32, of Kansas City, was fatally stabbed on June 23.
  • Ashton O'Hara, 25, of Detroit, was found dead on July 14.
  • India Clark, 25, of Tampa, Fla. was fatally beaten on July 21.
  • K.C. Haggard, 66, of Fresno, Calif. was fatally stabbed on July 23.
  • Shade Schuler, 22, of Dallas, was found dead on July 29.
  • Amber Monroe, 20, of Detroit, was fatally shot on August 8.
  • Kandis Capri, 35, of Phoenix, was fatally shot on August 11.
  • Elisha Walker, 20, of Salisbury, N.C. was reported missing by her family last fall and her body was found August 13.
  • Tamara Dominguez, 36, of Kansas City, Mo., was killed when she was hit by a car and run over repeatedly on August 15.
  • Keisha Jenkins, 22, of Philadelphia, was fatally shot October 7.
  • Zella Ziona, 21, of Montgomery Village, Md., was fatally shot on October 15.

"The level of violence targeting transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, is a national crisis that the LGBT movement has a responsibility to confront,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This issue reveals how far we still have to go in order to ensure that all members of the LGBT community have equal access to basic dignity and fair treatment.”

The reality is appalling:

  • At least 13 transgender women were murdered in 2014, and at least another 13 have been killed already this year;
  • All but one of the victims in 2014 were black or Latina;
  • The murders are typically gruesome and have gone mostly unsolved;
  • Local media routinely misgender these victims, and often police emphasize victims’ arrest records to diminish and miscast the lives of the murdered.

Read the issue brief in full here.

(1) While Edwards' transgender identity has been contested, the most thorough report to date, by Buzzfeed's Dominic Holden, clarifies that Edwards was presenting as female at the time of death and offers clear evidence that anti-transgender bias was a factor in the crime.

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.