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Recent Acts of Anti-Transgender Violence Underscore Need for Change

by Allison Turner August 19, 2016

Early this morning, a transgender woman was attacked with a hammer in Queens, NY. Police sources say the attacker shouted anti-LGBTQ sentiment during his attack. The attacker fled the scene, and no arrests have been made. The woman is being treated in a local hospital for her injuries. The incident is one of several recent reports of disturbing -- and deadly -- violence of transgender people.

Earlier this month, Stacy Lorraine Naber, a transgender woman fighting to affirm her identity while in prison, was found dead in her cell at Dade Correctional Institution. Her death is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Her family believes she may have died by suicide. Prior to her death, Naber was working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida to change her legal name.

This year, at least 17 transgender people are known to have been murdered in the United States. In August alone, HRC was horrified to learn of the deaths of Rae’Lynn Thomas in Ohio, Erykah Tijerina in Texas and Skye Mockabee, also in Ohio. The majority of these deaths, including all the deaths in August, have been of transgender women of color. At least three additional transgender people have died in unclear circumstances in 2016, bringing the total number to at least 20 people.

This epidemic of violence also has significant global implications -- earlier today BuzzFeed reported that Turkish trans activist Hande Kader was murdered last week in Istanbul. Kader participated in an LGBTQ Pride celebration last year, where advocates were attacked with water cannons and rubber bullets by local police. In May, the Trans Murder Monitoring Project -- a project of Transgender Europe -- reported 100 known murders of trans and gender diverse people worldwide in 2016.

To learn more about the realities that conspire to put transgender people -- especially transgender women of color -- at risk of fatal violence, read HRC’s 2015 Addressing Anti-Transgender Violence report, released in partnership with the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC). The report also details solutions that can be pursued by policymakers, advocates and public and private sector leaders to address this national crisis.

Allison Turner
Allison Turner


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