The year 2015 set a morbid record: the highest recorded number yet of transgender people lost to violence. There were 21 reported cases of transgender deaths from violence in that year. Unfortunately, 10 months into 2016, the record has been broken: 24 transgender deaths from violence have occurred so far this year.
Victims of violence against transgender people are often mislabeled in terms of gender, and so it is notoriously difficult to keep accurate records. However, as the Human Rights Campaign reports, “it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable.”
It is vitally important in the face of such violence that the victims are remembered. Their deaths prove that there is still a great distance to go in working towards LGBTQ equality and acceptance. As the Nov. 20 international Transgender Day of Remembrance grows near, qnotes wishes to honor those lost to violence in 2016:
Jan. 22: Monica Loera, 43, fatally shot outside her Austin, Texas home. Jon Casey Rowell has been charged with her murder.
Jan. 22: Jasmine Sierra found dead in Bakersfield, Calif.
Feb. 4: Kayden Clarke, 24, died in Mesa, Az.
Feb. 19: Veronica Banks Cano died in Philadelphia, Pa.
Feb. 20: Maya Young, 25, fatally stabbed in Pennslyvania. Arrests are forthcoming.
Feb. 27: Demarkis Stansberry, 30, shot in Baton Rouge, La. Nicholas Matthews has been charged with his murder.
March 2: Kendarie/Kandicee Johnson, 16, fatally shot in Burlington, Iowa.
March 23: Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum, 32, shot by her former boyfriend outside her Los Angeles, Calif. apartment.
April 10-11: Shante Isaac or Shante Thompson, 34, and a man walking with her, were beaten and shot in Houston, Texas. Tyriq Lackings has been charged with capital murder.
April 16: Keyonna Blakeney, 22, died violently in Rockville, Md.
May 1: Reecey Walker, 32, stabbed to death in Wichita, Kansas. Police charged a 16-year-old boy with second-degree murder.
May 15: Mercedes Successful, 32, fatally shot in Haines City, Fla.
May 25: Amos Beede, 38, died after an attack at his homeless encampment in Burlington, Vt.
June 5: Goddess Diamond, 20, found dead in New Orleans, La. as a result of blunt force trauma.
July 13: Deeniquia Dodds, 22, died after 10 days on life support resulting from a July 4 shooting in Washington, D.C.
July 23: Dee Whigham, 25, a registered nurse, was stabbed 119 times in St. Martin, Miss.
July 30: Skye Mockabee, 26, of Cleveland, Ohio.
Aug. 8: Erykah Tijerina, 36, found dead in her El Paso, Texas home. Anthony Bowden was charged with her murder.
Aug. 10: Rae’Lynn Thomas, 28, of Columbus, Ohio, was murdered in front of her family by her mother’s ex-boyfriend, James Allen Byrd.
Sept. 11: T.T., 26 or 27, described by friends as a “happy, cheerful” person full of laughter, was found murdered in Garfield Park of Chicago, Ill.
Sept. 16: Crystal Edmonds, 32, was shot and died as a result of her injuries.
Sept. 23: Jazz Alford, 30, found shot to death in a Birmingham, Ala. motel.
Oct. 8: Brandi Bledsoe, 32, was found dead in Cleveland, Ohio, a result of foul play.
Nov. 6: Noony Norwood, 30, found shot on Richmond, Va.’s south side on Nov. 5 and died the next morning.
Though it’s far too easy in reading this list to be depressed to the point of desensitization, it is the responsibility of every informed person not to ignore the danger that transgender people face every day of their lives. Members and allies of the LGBTQ community must take action when they witness transphobia and threatening behavior. Educate yourself; read up on the Anti-Violence Project and raise awareness. Take part in organizations like Transcend Charlotte that lend support to the transgender and queer communities. The reality is that transgender people, and disproportionately transgender women of color, live at risk of extreme violence. Do your part to protect the people who fight every day for their right to be themselves.