Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, and this past Sunday marks one year since the horrific shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs where five people were killed and 17 were wounded. Gun violence deeply affects the transgender community and the broader queer community. In reflecting on this year in which hate-motivated gun violence impacted many LGBTQ+ community members, it is crucial to acknowledge the disproportionate effect gun violence has on marginalized communities and the work that must be done to disarm hate in this country.
This tragic trend isn’t happening in a vacuum. Transgender people are 2.5 times as likely to be victims of violence as cisgender people. Anti-LGBTQ+ political attacks & extremism fuel real-life violence. This hateful rhetoric has real-life consequences on the LGBTQ+ community. And when that kind of hate is paired with unfettered access to firearms, the consequences become even more deadly. This year alone, 421 anti-trans bills have been filed in states across the country.
“Trans Day of Remembrance is a sober reminder that we must include voices from the trans community as we fight to keep our neighborhoods safe – especially Black women, who continue to be disproportionately impacted by gun violence,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “Today and every day, we’ll honor the lives that were tragically lost by pushing our lawmakers to disarm hate, and build a world where everyone is celebrated and protected, no matter their identity.”
“Every life is precious, and every death is a tragedy. More than half of the violent deaths of trans people we know of this past year were the result of gun violence, evidence of an alarming epidemic in our country,” said Kris Tassone, Policy Counsel for National Center for Transgender Equality. “We all deserve to live our lives without fear. Put even more simply: we all deserve to live. On Trans Day of Remembrance, we celebrate the brilliant, beautiful lives of our loved ones. They were activists, artists, teachers, students, outdoor enthusiasts, and community members who were deeply cherished by their family and friends. In honoring those who left us too soon, it is our duty to fight for all of us who are still here – to do what we can to ensure that we are able to live our fullest lives.”
From 2017 to 2022, there were 224 homicides of transgender individuals in America. 73% were with a gun. 66% of all transgender gun homicide victims in the US were Black women. So far this year, at least 29 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed in the United States and Puerto Rico. It is important to note that this number is likely an undercount as many homicides go unreported or victims are misgendered.
To keep trans and gender-nonconforming people safe, lawmakers at every level must take action to prioritize legislation that protects individuals from intimate partner violence. Media and law enforcement also have a duty to respect and affirm people’s names and genders, not only out of respect for their loved ones and communities but also so that research on the ongoing violence against transgender people is accurately understood and represented.
There is much more work to be done to prevent hate-motivated gun violence against the LGBTQ+ community. A vital part of the solution to this problem is to have comprehensive research that develops a deeper understanding of the intersection between gun violence and the queer community, including firearm suicide, in order to find the best solutions.
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund has tracked homicides of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. since 2017. In addition to breaking down gun violence to the state- and county level, the platform includes a database of known trans or gender-nonconforming homicide victims in the United States.