At least 33 transgender and gender non-conforming people were killed in the U.S. in the past 12 months — with people of color comprising more than 90% of those deaths — a new report released Monday by the Human Rights Campaign has found.
Released annually on Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20 — a time when trans rights advocates around the world take a moment to honor the lives of their friends and loved ones who were brutally killed simply for being who they are — the report looks into the spate of violence that has claimed the lives of at least 335 people since tracking began in 2013.
Findings from the latest report, which tracked anti-trans crimes from Nov. 21, 2022 to Nov. 20, 2023, reflect an alarming trend seen over the past 11 years: Transgender women of color, particularly Black women, continue to be disproportionally affected. Of all 33 known victims killed in the past 12 months, more than half of them were Black trans women.
That shocking ratio is a “tragedy that reflects an appalling trend of violence fueled by racism, toxic masculinity, trans misogynoir [anti-Black misogyny] and transphobia and the politicization of our lives,” Tori Cooper HRC’s director of community engagement for the transgender justice initiative, told the Daily News in an email.
It also comes in a record year for anti-LGBTQ legislation, as Republican lawmakers in conservative states use anti-trans sentiments as fuel for their political campaigns —marking an unprecedented period of anti-LGBTQ extremism that followed last year’s mass shooting at Club Q, a popular Colorado Springs bar often described as a safe haven for the local LGBTQ community.
Exactly a year ago, a 22-year-old shooter armed with an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon opened fire at patrons and staff at the club killing five, including two trans individuals, and injuring more than a dozen.
Many saw the shooting as part of an explosion in anti-LGBTQ extremism across the nation and a precursor of things to come. In 2023, more than 550 bills targeting the rights of the community were introduced in state houses across the country, with more than 220 of those specifically targeting the rights of young trans people by restricting access to bathrooms, books, school sports and even gender-affirming care.
The growing anti-transgender rhetoric further marginalizes an already vulnerable population, increases stigma, and leads to the creation of a “hostile environment that endangers the lives of anyone outside the gender binary,” which is reflected in the rise in anti-trans hate, said HRC president Kelley Robinson.
While the total number of killings has dipped slightly since the previous report — when the HRC reported on 41 anti-trans killings — a particularly worrying trend continues for both trans people of color, as well as younger individuals.
According to Robinson, 207 Black trans women have been killed since the HRC’s first report in 2013, representing about 62% of all lives lost.
Over the past 12 months, 78% of the victims were under the age of 35. That hasn’t changed much over the last decade: About 76% of all victims since 2013 were under 35, according to Robinson.