A new report shows “epidemic” levels of violence against transgender Americans, and something needs to change

Today, November 20th, is officially Transgender Day of Remembrance—a day to honor and remember all of the transgender people who have died at the hands of anti-trans violence. While strides have been made in the arena of transgender rights and visibility in recent years, trans people still face violence and discrimination every single day. Trans people face pervasive misgendering, partner violence, and even physical attacks. And a new report published by the Human Rights Campaign on November 19th refers to fatal violence against trans people as an “epidemic,” noting that at least 22 trans people have been killed in 2018.

The report notes that because the data on violence against trans people is often incomplete, it’s likely that the actual number of trans people killed was even higher. Out of the 22 people whose deaths were recorded in the report, 82% were women of color and 64% were younger than 35. HRC notes that in 2017, 29 trans people were killed in violent attacks, and this remains the highest number on record. The organization has been compiling these annual reports since 2013, and in that time, at least 128 trans people have died as a result of targeted violence. The victims of these attacks are overwhelmingly black and/or trans women.

HRC’s yearly findings were released on November 19th, and the HRC took the opportunity to commemorate the 22 victims and to issue a call to action.

"For far too long in our society, transgender people—and especially transgender women of color—have faced blatant discrimination and severe violence simply for being who they are," HRC President Chad Griffin wrote in an introduction to the report. "In order for this to change, we must all take action to dismantle the barriers that dehumanize, delegitimize and endanger transgender lives."

Sadly, violence against the transgender community extends beyond these fatal attacks. In the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey—the largest ever survey of the trans community—48% of respondents reported being either verbally harassed, denied equal treatment, or physically attacked for being trans in the past year.

With these statistics in mind, it’s clear that we need to fight discrimination against transgender people—whether by spreading awareness, donating to causes that benefit the trans community, or volunteering with trans rights organizations. On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn those who have lost their lives to bigotry, and we commit to standing up for trans rights however possible. You can read about concrete ways to help here.

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