After only eight months, the number of trans people killed this year has surpassed the number for all of 2019.
In the U.S. last year, 26 trans, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people were known to be murdered, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). In 2020, at least 28 transgender people have been murdered so far. Of these 28 victims, 23 were transgender women, four were transgender men, and one was non-binary. Most of the victims have been Black and Latina trans women.
Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears became the 28th known trans person to be murdered this year earlier this month in Portland, Oregon. The 33-year-old woman was attending the vigil of murder victim Tyrell Penney where she and one other person were fatally stabbed.
The full list of trans people murdered in the U.S. this year, compiled by NCTE:
- Dustin Parker, McAlester, OK
- Alexa Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
- Yampi Méndez Arocho, Moca, Puerto Rico
- Monica Diamond, Charlotte, NC
- Lexi, New York, NY
- Johanna Metzger, Baltimore, MD
- Penélope Díaz Ramírez, Bayamon, Puerto Rico
- Layla Pelaez Sánchez, Puerto Rico
- Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, Puerto Rico
- Nina Pop, Sikeston, MO
- Helle Jae O’Regan, San Antonio, TX
- Tony McDade, Tallahassee, FL
- Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Philadelphia, PA
- Riah Milton, Liberty Township, OH
- Jayne Thompson, Mesa County, CO
- Selena Reyes Hernandez, Chicago, IL
- Brayla Stone, Sherwood, AR
- Merci Mack, Dallas, TX
- Shaki Peters, Amite City, LA
- Bree “Nuk” Black, Pompano Beach, FL
- Summer Taylor, Seattle, WA
- Draya McCarty, Baton Rouge, LA
- Tatiana Hall, Philadelphia, PA
- Marilyn Cazares, Brawley, CA
- Tiffany Harris, The Bronx, NY
- Queasha D. Hardy, Baton Rouge, LA
- Brian “Egypt” Powers, Akron, OH
- Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, Portland, OR
“Transgender people—and particularly Black and Latina transgender women—are marginalized, stigmatized, and criminalized in our country,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, the deputy executive director for NCTE. “They face violence every day, and they fear turning to the police for help.”
To combat this epidemic of violence, NCTE suggests access to safe and affordable housing be increased and policies that protect transgender people from discrimination and increase economic opportunity be introduced.
“This crisis demands change to improve policing and hold the police departments accountable for their failure to protect transgender people,” Heng-Lehtinen said. “But reforms must go further to disrupt the systemic racism and transphobia that push so many transgender people of color into vulnerable situations, shut out of stable housing, secure jobs, and loving homes. No one should be forced to live in fear.”
It is likely that 2020 will become the deadliest year on record for transgender people, surpassing 2017 with 29 deaths.