Post submitted by HRC Writer Melissa Cruz
According to KHOU, witnesses say that Thompson, as well as a man who was walking with her, was initially swarmed by a group of men and beaten with a variety of weapons before both were gunned down on the Midtown street. Though Houston police are still investigating the details of the crime, witnesses say that the men first fired several warning shots into the air, as if to alert Thompson that they were coming for her.
The victim's mother, Leola Thompson, believe that the perpetrators were likely the same group of people her daughter had been referencing since recently coming out as transgender. She had told her mother that a group of local men had been repeatedly bothering her since she came out.
Her horrific death marks at least the seventh murder of a transgender person in 2016 alone, with an estimated, additional 21 lives of transgender people tragically claimed throughout 2015. This follows a heinous crime trend in which transgender people, and particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately the victims of violence.
This incident of violence comes at a particularly distressing time for LGBTQ Texans, as conservative state lawmakers and Governor Greg Abbott are currently looking to pass anti-LGBT legislation into The Lone Star State's constitution when the state legislative session begins next year. This legislation would be worse than the proposal Georgia Governor Nathan Deal vetoed earlier this year.
Despite the fact that Houston is the most diverse city in the United States, it is currently the only major city in Texas without a non-discrimination ordinance. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which would have protected the city’s residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, failed to pass last year.
For more information on addressing anti-transgender violence, visit hrc.org/trans-violence.