In the face of a national crisis, the Human. Rights Campaign Foundation has joined activists, journalists and advocacy organizations.
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iAN INTRODUCTION FROM CHAD GRIFFIN, PRESIDENT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN Since 2013, at least 128 transgender and gender-expansive individuals have been killed in the U.S. At the end of 2017, we mourned the loss of 29 people Š the highest number ever recorded. At the time of publication, at least 22 transgender people have been killed in 2018. In the face of a national crisis, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has joined activists, journalists and advocacy organizations to report and raise awareness about fatal anti-transgender violence in the United States. Unfortunately, the levels of violence are just as disturbing and deeply saddening as they were when HRC redoubled our reporting efforts nearly six years ago. Just this summer, we saw a disturbing outbreak of attacks, claiming the lives of nine Black trans women in eight cities across the country in a span of only 10 weeks. As we have in the past, HRC continued to join and support advocates in calling out instances where law enforcement and media misgendered and disrespected victims, who are disproportionately young women of color. We also know that hate crimes reporting and inclusive policing must be enhanced, and we continue to advocate for these reforms to ensure all victims are delivered justice. At the same time, our work cannot stop there. Even as we pursue these immediate and largely reactive solutions, we must simultaneously address the root causes of violence to make our communities safer for everyone. It is unacceptable that transgender and gender-expansive people are killed simply because of who they are. In this report, HRC™s team of researchers, policy experts and programmatic specialists have laid out steps that each and every one of us can take to make our society safer for transgender people. Whether you™re a teacher promoting LGBTQ- inclusivity at your school, a concerned citizen ˜ghting for expanded shelter access in your city, or simply an individual who wants to make your community safe and welcoming for all, there are ways you can dig in and help. For far too long in our society, transgender people Š and especially transgender women of color Š have faced blatant discrimination and severe violence simply for being who they are. In order for this to change, we must all take action to dismantle the barriers that dehumanize, delegitimize and endanger transgender lives. Chad Grif˜nPresident Human Rights CampaignOver the past several years, the transgender community has pressed forward with courage and resilience in the face of physical and political attacks. HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN FOUNDATION
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iiTABLE OF CONTENTS 4 INTRODUCTION 5 WHO IS TRANSGENDER? 6 IN MEMORIAM 38 DISMANTLING A CULTURE OF VIOLENCE 39 WHAT LEADS TO ANTI˚TRANSGENDER VIOLENCE? 40 ANTI˚TRANSGENDER STIGMA 45 DENIAL OF OPPORTUNITY 54 INCREASED RISK FACTORS 61 THE STATISTICS BEHIND THE FACES 67 TAKE ACTION HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN FOUNDATION
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4INTRODUCTIONAt least 22 transgender people have been killed in the United States since the beginning of 2018. We say ﬁat leastﬂ because the stories detailed in this report very likely undercount the number of transgender people who were killed in the United States this year. Although advocates, bloggers and media groups have elevated this crisis in the past several years, data collection is often incomplete or unreliable when it comes to violent and fatal crimes against transgender people. Some victims™ deaths may go unreported, while others may not be identi˜ed as transgender in the media, often because authorities, journalists and/or family members refuse to acknowledge their gender identity. As we remember the lives lost this year, this context of identity erasure and denial could not be any more signi˜cant. Across the United States, anti-transgender stigma and systemic discrimination heighten the vulnerability of transgender people from an early age. For transgender women of color, who comprise the vast majority of victims, these challenges are further exacerbated by and intertwined with racism and sexism. Even in the face of physical danger, hatred and discrimination Š sometimes ruthlessly endorsed and enforced by those at the highest level of our government Š transgender Americans live courageously and overcome unjust barriers in all corners of our country. But until we as a country address and dismantle these barriers, transgender people will continue to face higher rates of discrimination, poverty, homelessness and violence. In life, each of the individuals memorialized in this report went to extraordinary lengths to live authentically as who they were. In death, we must honor their truth and bravery with action. 82percent of them were women of color. 64percent were under the age of 35.55percent lived in the South.
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5WHO IS TRANSGENDER?For the purpose of this report, we use the word transgender to describe a collective community of individuals whose gender identities, expression and/or lived experiences differs from Š and may in fact transcend Š what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. This includes transgender men and women, as well as: As with any language that attempts to succinctly capture the human experience, the usage of these terms and sense of identity among the transgender community vary widely. Meanwhile, virtually every culture has its own terminology and differing concepts of gender and whom we may consider to be transgender. In this report, we have taken every effort to ensure our memorials re˚ect the most accurate depiction of individual™s identity, based on their own words, the accounts of loved ones and/ or the ways in which they presented themselves and interacted with the world. Tragically, in several of the stories in this report, government of˜cials, media and even loved ones have denied, ignored or intentionally erased victims™ gender identities. Using correct identi˜ers and pronouns isn™t just about accuracy Œ it™s about affording all individuals the respect and dignity that everyone deserves . Moreover, in order to end anti-transgender violence, we must acknowledge the true identities of its victims and address the ways in which societal attitudes regarding these identities may have played a role in their deaths. AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON TERMINOLOGY Non-binary people who do not identify exclusively as men or women Š or, in fact, who do not identify with either. A non-binary person may also use the terms genderqueer, gender ˚uid or others to describe their gender identity. NON˜ BINARY GENDER˜ EXPANSIVE GENDER NON˜ CONFORMING People who are gender non-conforming in expression, which includes their outward presentation and behavior. Any person, regardless of their gender identity, can be gender non- conforming. People who are gender-expansive, a term that conveys a wider, more ˚exible range of identity and/ or expression, including, but not limited to, the terms listed above.
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6IN MEMORIAMCeline Walker Jacksonville, FL Age 36 | February 4, 2018 Phylicia Mitchell Cleveland, OH Age 45 | February 23, 2018 Antash™a English Jacksonville, FL Age 38 | June 1, 2018 Christa Leigh Steele-KnudslienNorth Adams, MA Age 42 | January 5, 2018 Viccky Gutierrez Los Angeles, CA Age 33 | January 10, 2018 Tonya ﬁKitaﬂ Harvey Buffalo, NYAge 35 | February 6, 2018 Zakaria Fry Albuquerque, NM Age 28 | February 19, 2018 Amia Tyrae Berryman Baton Rouge, LAAge 28 | March 26, 2018 Sasha Wall Chester˜eld County, SC Age 29 | April 1, 2018 Karla Patricia Flores-Pavón Dallas, TX Age 26 | May 9, 2018 Nino Fortson Atlanta, GA Age 36 | May 13, 2018 Gigi Pierce Portland, OR Age 28 | May 21, 2018 Diamond StephensMeridian, MS Age 39 | June 18, 2018 Keisha Wells Cleveland, OH Age 54 | June 24, 2018 Cathalina Christina JamesJacksonville, FL Age 24 | June 24, 2018
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8Christa Leigh Steele-KnudslienNorth Adams, Massachusetts Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, was killed in her home in North Adams, Massachusetts, on January 5. Her husband Mark Steele- Knudslien was charged with her murder after turning himself in to police. A beloved leader in the local transgender community, Christa was integral to the creation of both New England Trans Pride and the Miss Trans New England Pageant. Her friend, Justin Atkins, notes that Christa ˜rmly believed that ﬁtransgender women are beautiful and need a venue to be seen as beautiful.ﬂ Lorelei Erisis, who won the ˜rst Miss Trans New England Pageant title in 2009, says that Christa ﬁmade it a mission to have a party around being trans.ﬂ ﬁShe [gave] me the boost I needed to do almost everything I do today,ﬂ recounts Lorelei. ﬁShe almost single-handedly created the community that all of us bene˜ted from.ﬂ
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9Viccky Gutierrez Los Angeles, California On January 10, Viccky Gutierrez, a transgender Latina woman, was fatally stabbed and brutally set ablaze inside her Los Angeles home. She was 33 years old. The Los Angeles Police Department of˜cially charged Kevyn Ramirez with murder, attempted robbery and arson. According to local reports, it took 60 ˜re˜ghters working for nearly an hour to extinguish the ˚ames. Those who knew Viccky remember her as someone ﬁwhose warm smile would give anyone comfortﬂ and who served as an inspiration to those around her. Friend Felisha Starr says that Viccky loved the color green and frogs, believing both to bring ﬁgood vibesﬂ and luck. Viccky was an active organizer within LA™s Latinx, transgender and LGBTQ communities. TransLatin@ Coalition founder Bamby Salcedo describes Viccky as ﬁsuch a sweet girlﬂ and like a sister to her. Viccky previously collaborated with the Los Angeles LGBT Center for a Transgender Day of Remembrance event in 2015 to honor victims of anti-transgender violence. The Center mourned her death, writing, ﬁOur deep sorrow is accompanied by a sense of moral outrage that Viccky is yet another transgender woman of color whose life has been taken Rest in Power, Viccky.ﬂ Following her passing, friends held an online fundraiser to ensure that she could be laid to rest in her native Honduras. According to friends, Viccky had came to LA because she believed she could live there free from persecution. A vigil was held in her honor on January 12.
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10On February 4, Celine Walker, a 36-year-old Black transgender woman, was found fatally shot in a hotel room in Jacksonville™s Southpoint area. Police have yet to charge a suspect in connection with her death, although a sketch of a wanted person of interest was released to the public in August.According to those who knew her, Celine had an understated personality and lived a ﬁlow key life.ﬂ Today, she is remembered for her courage to live as her authentic self, which friends describe as both ﬁinspirationalﬂ and ﬁencouraging.ﬂ Celine was repeatedly misgendered by police and in initial media reports, even after loved ones reached out numerous times to request corrections. Activists worry that the Jacksonville Sheriff™s Of˜ce™s refusal to recognize Celine™s identity as a transgender woman may have delayed investigative efforts in the days immediately following the shooting. In the aftermath of her death, many advocates and organizations, including Equality Florida, TransAction Florida and the ACLU of Florida, held solidarity vigils calling for justice for Celine.Celine Walker Jacksonville, Florida
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11Tonya ﬁKitaﬂ Harvey, a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Buffalo, New York, on February 6. She was 35 years old. Of˜cers are investigating the case as a potential hate crime but, at the time of publication, there are no leads. Tonya was known for her sweet and kind demeanor and as someone who did everything with strength and conviction. She was a seasoned performer and a ﬁbig stapleﬂ to the local LGBTQ community. Vaughn Mciver, a mentor to Tonya, paints the picture of a natural entertainer: ﬁShe was very good. We used to call her the rig queen because she could rig anything. She could take a T-shirt and turn it into a doll. She was very, very creative, very articulate.ﬂ A ﬁshow-stopperﬂ with a ﬁloving heart,ﬂ Tonya was honored by friends and family who held a rally in her memory in front of Buffalo™s City Hall on February 26. Tonya ﬁKitaﬂ Harvey Buffalo, New York
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