32 trans Americans have had their lives violently taken in 2022 as ‘epidemic of violence’ continues

Trans Day of Remembrance

At least 32 trans people have been violently killed in America this year alone, as anti-trans rhetoric continues to fuel violence.

Sunday (20 November) marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honours the memory of those whose lives were cut short by anti-trans violence. 

Ahead of the date, LGBTQ+ advocacy organisation Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a report reflecting on the causes of this violence, as seen over a year of documenting.

The report confirmed that at least 32 trans and gender non-conforming people have been violently killed in the United States (US) since the start of 2022. 

They are: Amariey Lej, Duval PrincessCypress RamosNaomie SkinnerMatthew Angelo SpampinatoPaloma VazquezTatiana LabelleKathryn “Katie” NewhouseKenyatta “Kesha” WebsterMiia Love ParkerFern FeatherAriyanna MitchellRaymond “Ray” MuscatNedra Sequence Morris, ​​Chanelika Y’Ella Dior HemingwaySasha MasonBrazil JohnsonShawmaynè Giselle Marie, Kitty MonroeMartasia RichmondKeshia Chanel GeterCherry BushMarisela Castro,  Hayden DavisKandii Redd, Aaron Lynch, Maddie Hofmann, Dede Ricks, Regina “Mya” Allen, Acey Morrison, Semaj Billingslea and Tiffany Banks

HRC uses “at least” because the true total will inevitably be higher.

It explained: “Data collection is often incomplete or unreliable when it comes to violent and fatal crimes against transgender and gender non-conforming people.

“Some victims’ deaths may go unreported, while others may not be identified as transgender or gender non-conforming.”

Tori Cooper, of the HRC, said: “In 2022, we’ve seen at least 32 transgender and gender non-conforming people killed in an epidemic of violence threatening our community.

“These victims had families and friends, hopes and dreams. None of them deserved to have their lives stolen by horrific violence.

“Most of the victims were Black trans women, a tragedy that reflects an appalling trend of violence fuelled by racism, toxic masculinity, misogyny and transphobia and the politicisation of our lives.”

At least 300 trans live lost since 2013

Since 2013, when HRC began tracking trans murders, it has recorded more than 300 trans people killed.

In 40 per cent of these cases no arrests have been made and the killer remains unknown. 

During this same period, a total of 15 people were killed by police or while in jails, or immigration and customs enforcements detention centres, including two in 2022.

A total of 29 per cent of those killed had their lives cut short by someone they knew, such as a friend, partner or family member. 

The report also found 85 per cent of victims discovered were people of colour – 69 per cent were Black and 15 per cent were Hispanic.

Meanwhile, 77 per cent of the victims were under 35 and 69 per cent of deaths were caused by a fire arm.

Shoshana Goldberg, the director of public education and research for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, said: “For 10 years we at HRC have tracked fatal violence against trans and gender non-conforming people, with the goal of memorializing their lives and uplifting their stories to bring this epidemic of violence to an end. 

“Each and every one of the at least 300 people killed since 2013 was a person with a full, rich life that did not deserve to be cut short.” 

2022 was the most violent year on record, with 59 trans people killed that year alone.

145 anti-trans bills introduced across US

The HRC’s Jay Brown noted that “fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people is the tragic result of a society that devalues our lives, with Black and brown trans people facing significantly higher rates of harassment, bias and physical violence”.

Brown added: “This year, we also saw anti-transgender lawmakers passing a record number of discriminatory bills, including bans of lifesaving, medically necessary gender-affirming healthcare. These attacks fuel more stigma against transgender and non-binary people, especially aimed at the youngest among us. It is a stigma that too often ends our lives.”

The report notes that more than 145 anti-trans bills have been introduced across 34 states this year.

These laws include bans on trans youth playing sports, with Louisiana becoming the 18th state to enact law banning trans athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports.

Bills introduced to prevent trans students using bathrooms such as in Virginia have also been introduced, while bans on gender-affirming care, and the “Don’t Say Gay” laws have all made the LGBTQ+ community feel extremely fearful this year.

Most recently Texas introduced an anti-drag bill that would criminalise venues for hosting trans performers or drag shows. It follows a federal judge in Texas ruling that discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in healthcare settings is fine. 

Meanwhile, the Flordia Board of Medicine voted to ban lifesaving gender-affirming care for trans youth in the state. Flordia governor Ron DeSantis also signed the “Stop WOKE Act”, heavily restricting how workplaces, schools and colleges can teach about racism, homophobia and other systemic biases.

Brown added: “As we once more honour our dead, we must continue fighting for the full equality and liberation of transgender and non-binary people.” 

The HRC’s Tori Cooper said: “We need everyone to join us in empowering transgender leaders, building safer, stronger communities and reducing stigma. We cannot rest until all transgender and gender non-conforming people can live our lives safely as our full selves.”