Violence Against the Transgender Community in 2019

In 2018, advocates tracked at least 26 deaths of transgender people in the U.S. due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were Black transgender women. These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners and strangers, some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified. Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias. In others, the victim’s transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, such as forcing them into unemployment, poverty, homelessness and/or survival sex work.

While the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable.

As is too often the case in the reporting of anti-transgender violence, many of these victims are misgendered in local police statements and media reports, which can delay our awareness of deadly incidents. In the pursuit of greater accuracy and respect for transgender and gender expansive people in both life and death, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people.

Sadly, 2019 has already seen at least one transgender person fatally shot or killed by other violent means. As HRC continues to work toward justice and equality for transgender people, we mourn those we have lost:

  • Dana Martin, 31, a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Montgomery, Alabama, on January 6. Reports stated that she was found in a roadside ditch in her vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd, an Alabama-based trans advocate, said that “she was a person that was loved by many.”