Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2021 makes note of the deadliest year yet for the community

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New Jersey Transgender Day of Remembrance logo with candle flame in background
New Jersey Transgender Day of Remembrance

In 2021 46 trans and gender non-conforming people were violently killed

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation released An Epidemic of Violence: Fatal Violence Against Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People in the United States in 2021 a report honoring the at least 46 transgender and gender non-conforming people killed in 2021. It shines a light on data that HRC has continued to collect on the epidemic of violence since 2013.

With 46 known deaths since January 1, 2021 HRC has officially recorded more violent deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people than any year since it began tracking the violence in 2013. Previously, the highest known number of fatal deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people was in 2020.

Last year they reported 44 people were violently killed throughout the calendar year. This year’s report’s release came several days ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, a moment to remember the transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been lost to fatal violence over the course of the year. The report is a grim reminder of the fear of many within the trans community.

“For the second year in a row, the trans community has seen a grim milestone: 2021 has become the deadliest year on record, just as 2020 was,” said Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison. “Each and every name read and recognized on the Trans Day of Remembrance represented a full, rich life that did not deserve to be cut short. The rhetoric and stigma aimed by anti-equality political leaders and public figures at transgender and non-binary people have led to an unprecedented level of horrific violence against our transgender community. We must fight for change. We must dismantle this stigma. We must bring this epidemic of violence to an end.”

“Each year, transgender and non-binary people gather together to mourn those lost and hope for a more peaceful future,” said Director of Community Engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative Tori Cooper. “On the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we must all reaffirm our commitment to fighting on every front necessary to ensure our transgender siblings’ deaths will not be forgotten. We will honor their lives and their memories with action.”

This year’s report, An Epidemic of Violence: Fatal Violence Against Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People in the United States in 2021, found that since the start of the year, at least 46 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been killed in the U.S. Of those 46 victims, 29 were Black and eight were Latinx. Since January 2013, HRC has documented more than 250 transgender and gender non-conforming people who were victims of fatal violence. Two-thirds of these known victims have been Black women and nearly 60% of known fatalities have involved a firearm.

This fatal violence affects trans and gender non-conforming people nationwide, with HRC and advocates tracking cases of fatal violence since 2013 across 113 cities and towns in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These disturbing numbers likely underreport deadly violence targeting transgender and gender non-confirming people, who may not be properly identified as transgender or gender non-conforming by police, media or other sources.

The 46 known transgender and gender non-conforming people killed so far in 2021 are:

Tyianna Alexander, Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, Dominique Jackson, Fifty Bandz, Alexus Braxton, Chyna Carrillo, siblings Jeffrey “JJ” Bright and Jasmine Cannady, Jenna Franks, Diamond Kyree Sanders, Rayanna Pardo, Jaida Peterson, Dominique Lucious, Remy Fennell, Tiara Banks, Natalia Smut, Iris Santos, Tiffany Thomas, Keri Washington, Jahaira DeAlto, Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, Sophie Vásquez, Danika “Danny” Henson, Serenity Hollis, Oliver “Ollie” Taylor, Thomas Hardin, Poe Black, EJ Boykin, Taya Ashton, Shai Vanderpump, Tierramarie Lewis, Miss CoCo, Pooh Johnson, Disaya Monaee, Briana Hamilton, Kiér Laprí Kartier, Mel Groves, Royal Poetical Starz, Zoella “Zoey” Rose Martinez, Jo Acker, Jessi Hart, Rikkey Outumuro, Marquiisha Lawrence, and Jenny De Leon. HRC also tracks additional concerning deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.

Although there are some existing legal protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people—such as the Violence Against Women Act, the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia as well as various state and local laws— HRC says  the community still lacks explicit federal protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people and pervasive stigma makes lived equality far out of reach even in LGBTQ inclusive regions. The report lays out the realities that conspire to put transgender people at risk, as well as federal and state actions that would move us closer to ending violence against trans and gender non-conforming people.

This past week, HRC has commemorated Transgender Awareness Week, an annual event that is dedicated to illuminating both the progress and unfinished work in the fight for transgender and non-binary equality. The week culminates in Transgender Day of Remembrance, held every year on Nov. 20.

For more information on the Human Rights Campaign’s work on transgender and non-binary equality, visit hrc.org/transgender.