With the news of [transwoman] Felycya Harris’s violent death in Augusta, Georgia, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in the US have now matched the highest number of violent deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people they have ever recorded in a one-year period. At least 31 people have been violently killed this year, the vast majority of whom were transgender women of colour. They say ‘at least’ because too often these stories go unreported – or misreported.
The highest number of fatal deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people that the HRC has tracked over a 12 month period was in 2017, when they also saw 31 people violently killed. They have now reached that number in 2020, with nearly 3 months left to go in the year.
In reaction, HRC President Alphonso David released the following statement:
“With news of the death of Felycya Harris, we have hit a grim milestone; we have now matched the highest number of transgender or gender non-conforming people who were victims of fatal violence in one year – and there are 3 more months left in the year. This epidemic of violence, which is particularly impacting transgender women of color, must and can be stopped. We must work to address the factors that underpin this culture of violence and openly discuss how the intersection of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia work to deprive transgender and gender non-conforming people of equal access to opportunity and necessities like employment, housing and health care.”
We mourn the individuals we have lost this year while remembering them for who they were; our partners, family members, friends and community members. Not one of the 31 lives we have lost this year, or the 196 we have lost since 2013, deserved to have their lives or their futures taken from them.”
You can read more about Felycya Harris here. In order to combat stigma against the transgender and gender non-conforming community, HRC has collaborated with WarnerMedia on a PSA campaign, to lift up their voices and stories. Watch the PSA here.
Please note that the number of violent deaths may be increasing not only due to an escalating amount of violence, but also potentially because more instances of violence are being reported by advocates, the media and law enforcement.
The HRC Foundation will be releasing its 2020 report on fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people in late November, in recognition of Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th).