(The Hill) — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights group, on Monday released its annual report on fatal violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the U.S., describing the past year as an “epidemic of violence” targeting the community.
At least 33 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were killed in the last 12 months, according to Monday’s report, released on Transgender Day of Remembrance. An overwhelming majority were young people of color, with Black transgender women disproportionately impacted.
Most victims were killed by a friend, family member or romantic partner, the report said, and guns were involved in most cases. A 2022 report from Everytown for Gun Safety, a national gun control organization, found that known transgender homicides had jumped 93 percent over four years — from 29 killings in 2017 to 56 in 2021 — and 73 percent involved a firearm.
“The epidemic of violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming people is a national tragedy and a national embarrassment,” HRC President Kelly Robinson said Monday in a statement. “Each of the lives taken is the result of a society that demeans and devalues anyone who dares challenge the gender binary.”
According to the group’s report, more than two-thirds — or 69 percent — of all of transgender and gender-nonconforming victims of fatal violence this year were Black, and 51 percent were Black transgender women.
People of color have made up the largest share of victims since 2013, when HRC began tracking such data and the FBI started reporting on hate crimes motivated by anti-transgender bias.
In the year since last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, Hispanic victims accounted for 21 percent of all deaths, according to Monday’s report, and white victims accounted for just over 9 percent.
At least 335 transgender and gender-nonconforming people have been killed over the past decade, HRC said Monday. The actual tally, however, is likely much higher, the group said, because “data collection is often incomplete or unreliable when it comes to violent and fatal crimes against trans and gender-nonconforming people.”
The FBI recorded just 21 fatal hate crimes committed against transgender and gender-nonconforming people over the same time period.
Robinson on Monday condemned recent acts of violence against the community and said legislation seeking to ban gender-affirming health care, prevent transgender people from using restrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity and restrict talk of gender and sexuality at school has worsened stigma and created “a hostile environment that endangers the lives” of LGBTQ people.
More than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced this year in over 40 states, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, and at least 84 became law.
The LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD last week linked more than 700 incidents of violence and threats against LGBTQ people this year to anti-LGBTQ legislation and “lies and disinformation” about the community spread online.
All five major social media platforms received low or failing scores on an annual assessment of LGBTQ user safety released by GLAAD in June. The group’s report deemed X, formerly known as Twitter, “the most dangerous platform for LGBTQ people.”
“We must imagine a better future for transgender and gender-nonconforming people,” Robinson said Monday. “Not just surviving, but truly living as free and equal members of our society.”