The disturbing trend of violence against transgender people has continued in 2021, a year that has become the deadliest on record for the epidemic. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which has been recording violence against the transgender community since 2013, 47 transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals have been killed by violent means in 2021.
In 2020, the HRC recorded 44 violent deaths of transgender or gender-nonconforming people. The researchers conclude that a majority of the victims in previous years have been Black and Latinx transgender women.
Violence against transgender people has been especially evident in the southeast region of the U.S. Several states in the region have passed anti-transgender bills, including laws that would prevent transgender youth from participating in sports teams that match their gender identity, The Hill reports.
Advocates say the anti-transgender bills contribute to the violence, portraying LGBTQ+ people as “predators” on sports teams or in bathrooms. Brendan Lantz, an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University, said many of those who commit crimes against transgender people are not arrested or prosecuted.
“Witnesses are less likely to come forward, and a lot of issues enter the equation,” Lantz told NBC News.
The HRC added that about 80% of transgender people who are killed are initially misgendered by media or law enforcement. Lantz said it's difficult to find justice for the victims when they're not identified properly.
"If we’re not even using the correct name, obtaining that evidence isn’t particularly easy to do, right?” he said.
Tyianna Alexander, a 28-year-old Black trans woman, became one of the first victims of the year after being shot to death in Chicago on Jan. 6. Three days later, a transgender man named Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín was killed in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico.
Most recently, a 36-year-old Black transgender woman named Angel Naira was found dead on Nov. 11 after being fatally shot at her home in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.