White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called deaths of transgender people ""terrible, heartbreaking."

WH Unsure if Biden Briefed on 2021 Breaking Record for Anti-trans Violence

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday she was unsure whether President Biden has been briefed on continued violence against transgender and non-binary people, with 2021 totaling out at 45 deaths and the highest number of killings ever reported.

Psaki, asked by the Washington Blade just days before the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, said reports of the violence are “terrible, heartbreaking” after saying she was uncertain whether Biden was briefed.

“I’m not sure, Chris, and I’m happy to ask the president’s — see with out domestic policy team if they briefed on that,” Psaki said. “That’s devastating, and that’s terrible, heartbreaking to hear. It is a commitment by the president to address violence, address threats to transgender people and anyone who is facing those threats, but I will see if he’s been briefed on that.”

When the Blade followed up with an inquiry on what options are on the table to combat the violence, Psaki said she needed to do more research.

“In terms of reducing violence?” Psaki said. “Let me just see if he’s been briefed, and I’ll talk to our domestic policy team and maybe we can connect you directly with them.”

Biden as 2020 presidential candidate highlighted ongoing anti-transgender violence, including its disproportionate reported impact on transgender people of color. In his comprehensive LGBTQ platform, Biden repeatedly pledged he’d take step to protect LGBTQ people from violence.

In fact, Biden predicted the killing of transgender people would end if former President Trump were voted out of office, telling attendees at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in 2019: “The fastest way to end it is to end the Trump administration.”

The year 2021 reached new record for anti-transgender upon the death of Marquiisha “Quii” Lawrence, a 28-year-old Black transgender woman who was shot and killed in her home in Greenville, S.C.

Joni Madison, interim president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement this week announcing 2021 has broken the record for violence against transgender and non-binary a “tragic and deeply upsetting moment.”

“With the death of Marquiisha Lawrence, 2021 has become the deadliest year ever for transgender and gender non-conforming people,” Madison said. “Each of these 45 names represents a whole person and a rich life torn from us by senseless violence, driven by bigotry and transphobia and stoked by people who hate and fear transgender people and the richness of their experience.”

Madison concluded: “Every life has value. Marquiisha’s life had value. At this moment, HRC vows to double down on our efforts to dismantle this culture of hate and stigma, and to honor these lives with action.”

The White House has given recognition to the grim milestone via White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who’s a lesbian and tweeted about the issue last week,

“This year is the deadliest on record for transgender and non-binary people,” Jean-Pierre tweeted. “It’s unacceptable. Our hearts are with all who knew and loved the 45 people who have been killed this year. The march to end this epidemic of violence continues.”

A White House official, in response to a follow-up email from the Blade on whether Biden has been briefed on anti-transgender violence, pointed to a White House interagency transgender working group announced earlier this year.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has established a government-wide interagency working group to understand and address violence facing transgender Americans,” the official said. “The working group is focused on reviewing policies that are upstream drivers of violence to help develop policy recommendations that will advance safety, opportunity, and inclusion for transgender Americans. The grim milestone that 2021 has become the deadliest year on record for transgender and non-binary people is a difficult reminder that our ongoing efforts remain critical to advance equality and to root out discrimination and violence facing LGBTQ+ Americans.”

Story courtesy of the Washington Blade.