SEATTLE, Wash. – The Washington chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements after Zoella “Zoey” Rose Martinez, a 20-year-old transgender Latina, was shot and killed in Seattle, Washington.
“At only 20 years old, Zoey had her whole life ahead of her, but once again, the life of a transgender woman was cut short by gun violence,” said Justine Stromberg, a volunteer with the Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our hearts go out to her loved ones and all of those impacted by this tragedy. Transgender people deserve to live freely as their truest selves without fear of hate fueled violence.”
“Hate plagues the transgender community and kills a horrific number of people every year in Latinx communities across the United States and in Puerto Rico,” said Jose Alfaro, director of Latinx leadership and community engagement at Everytown. “There is more we can do to protect transgender people by stopping hate where it starts and keeping guns out of the wrong hands.”
Zoey is at least the 41st transgender or gender non-conforming person to be killed in 2021 in the United States and Puerto Rico, although it’s likely there have been more deaths that have gone unreported or victims who have been misgendered. Zoey was not initially recognized as transgender until her parents confirmed her identity.
2020 was the deadliest year on record for trans and gender-nonconforming people in the U.S., with at least 44 people being shot and killed. Some trends from 2017 to 2020 that are on track to continue in 2021: Guns are the most frequently used weapon in the murder of trans people. Three-fourths of trans people killed in America were killed with a gun.
Black trans women account for the majority of homicide victims in the trans community. To put this into perspective, while Black people make up 16% of the trans population, 75% of known trans homicide victims between 2017 and 2020 were Black.
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund has tracked homicides of transgender and gender non-comforming 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.