Nov 20, 2020 3 mins, 15 secs

As the trans community pauses on Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor those lost to violence this year, activists are laying the groundwork to push the incoming Biden administration to address the rising levels of violence plaguing the community.

From October 2019 through September 2020, 350 transgender and gender-diverse people were reported killed around the world, according to data from the Trans Murder Monitoring project.

The latest data represents a 6 percent increase in transgender violent deaths from the year prior, and brings the total number of trans and gender-diverse people reported killed since 2008 to 3,664.

In the United States alone, at least 37 transgender and gender-diverse people have by killed by violence so far this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights group focused on empowering Black LGBTQ Americans, said the “epidemic of violence” faced by trans people of color is “too-often ignored” and added that “hostile legislation and policy make it worse.”.

“We have to prioritize protection, fight shame and stigma, and do the work of healing, so we no longer need to remind people that our trans family deserves to be here,” Johns said in a statement.

Biden, the projected winner of the election, has laid out an ambitious platform when it comes to LGBTQ rights, which includes “combat[ing] the epidemic of violence against transgender women of color,” and he has doubled down on his ambitious plans over the past several months.

Several days later, Biden issued a statement calling violence against trans people an “epidemic that needs national leadership” and vowed to prioritize the fight against anti-trans violence and discrimination if elected.

Reggie Greer, the Biden team’s LGBTQ engagement director, said last week that signing into law the Equality Act, federal legislation that would add LGBTQ protections to existing federal civil rights laws, is a “top priority” regardless of which party controls the Senate next year.

To mark Transgender Day of Remembrance, Biden issued a statement saying that “2020 has been a year of tremendous suffering and loss” for the transgender community, calling the death of at least 37 transgender and gender-nonconforming people “intolerable.”.

“Transgender rights are human rights.

To transgender and gender-nonconforming people across America and around the world: from the moment I am sworn in as president of the United States, know that my administration will see you, listen to you, and fight for not only your safety but also the dignity and justice you have been denied,” Biden’s statement said.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris issued a statement on social media stressing “today and every day we must recommit to ending this epidemic,” of violence against the transgender community.

Restoring Obama-era rights, however, is only one part of the calculation to protect the safety of trans Americans, according to advocates.

Any long-term plan to address violence against the transgender community, must be intersectional, according to Michael Munson, executive director of Forge, an organization that works to improve the lives of the trans community

“What’s happening this year is really the reflection of what’s happening in our culture and how that’s being played out in the murders against trans folks,” Munson said, adding that anti-trans violence stems, in part, from lack of access to economic opportunities, housing instability, lack of proper health care, racial injustice and stigmatization of trans people

He hopes federal legislation around human rights and human dignity more broadly will have a “positive, trickle-down” effect on broader systemic issues that will “hopefully lead to less violence against trans people directly.”

In addition to the 37 known trans lives lost to fatal violence, the transgender community lost two giants in the transgender movement this year: Monica Roberts and Aimee Stephens

While the Human Rights Campaign’s list of trans deaths due to fatal violence is likely not complete, due to underreporting and misreporting, here are the 37 lives lost the organization has recorded so far this year:


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