2016 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people




2016 has now overtaken 2015 as the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States. In 2015, 21 transgender women were killed in the United States, nearly all of them transgender women of color.

In 2016, the deaths of 27 transgender people were reported. That's a rate of more than two transgender people killed every month. This number does not include transgender people whose deaths were not reported due to misgendering in police reports, news stories, and sometimes by the victim's family. (Due to misgendering and misidentifying in initial media reporting, the death of India Monroe in 2016 was not known until 2017.)

The most recent victims: Noony Norwood, a 30-year old Black transgender woman, who was killed in Richmond, Virginia on November 5; Brandi Bledsoe, a 32-year-old Black transgender woman, who was killed in Cleveland, Ohio on October 12; Jazz Alford, a 30-year-old Black transgender woman, who was killed in Burmingham, Alabama on September 23; Crystal Edmonds, a 32-year-old Black transgender woman, who was killed in northwest Baltimore on September 16; T.T., a Black transgender woman, about whom few details are known but thought to be in her mid-twenties, was killed in Chicago's Garfield Park on September 11.

The victims of this violence are overwhelmingly transgender women of color, who live at the dangerous intersections of transphobia, racism, sexism, and criminalization which often lead to high rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. While some of these homicides have not yet been identified as hate crimes due to lack of information about the perpetrators or motives, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports an alarming multi-year trend showing that transgender women experience a greater risk of death by hate violence than any other group.

By the numbers in 2015:

  • Of the 24 reported LGBTQ people killed by hate violence, 67% (16) were transgender and gender non-conforming people.
  • Of the homicides, 54% (13) were transgender women of color.

By the numbers in 2014:

  • Of the 20 reported LGBTQ people killed by hate violence, 55% (11) were transgender women.
  • Of the homicides, 50% (10) were transgender women of color.

By the numbers in 2013:

  • Of the 18 reported LGBTQ people killed by hate violence, 72% (13) were transgender women.
  • Of the homicides, 67% (12) were transgender women of color.

With violence against transgender people at an all-time high and rising, media coverage is severely lacking. The media must do a better job of reporting these murders and bringing needed attention to a community under vicious and violent attack. Without acknowledging this transphobic violence as the reality, we cannot begin to address, and put an end to the epidemic.

GLAAD is calling on the media to:

  • Report on each transgender person murdered. In order for people to be aware of the unprecedented violence affecting the community, the public needs to know it is happening. The media has a responsibility to communicate about the deadly realities faced by transgender people.
  • Respect and use the lived identity, name, and pronoun of the victim. Disregarding the victim's gender identity and misgendering them in news reports adds further insult to injury, compounding the tragedy by invalidating who the victims were. GLAAD's Doubly Victimized: Reporting on Transgender Victims of Crime offers clear guidelines for reporting respectfully on stories where transgender people have been victimized by crime.

For additional information about the poverty, discrimination and violence faced by the transgender community, see the Injustice at Every Turn report. GLAAD's Media Reference Guide offers a glossary of terms, and best practices for fairly and accurately covering transgender stories.

As necessary, GLAAD reaches out to media outlets to correct incidents of irresponsible reporting where misgendering and victim-blaming occur. We also work with local communities and advocates, connecting them to journalists to confirm information about the victims. If you see a news story which misgenders a transgender victim and/or publishes details about their personal life irrelevant to their murder, contact us at transgender@glaad.org.

    We say their names to remember those we've lost in 2016:

    • Monica Loera of Austin, Texas murdered January 22. She was 43 years old.
    • Jasmine Sierra of Bakersfield, California murdered January 22. She was 52 years old.
    • Kayden Clarke of Mesa, Arizona killed on February 4. He was 24 years old.
    • Veronica Banks Cano of San Antonio, Texas found dead on February 19. She was in her mid-30s.
    • Maya Young of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania murdered on February 21. She was 25 years old.
    • Demarkis Stansberry of Baton Rouge, Louisiana murdered on February 27. He was 30 years old.
    • Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson of Burlington, Iowa murdered on March 2. They were 16 years old.
    • Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum of Los Angeles, California murdered on March 23. She was 32 years old.
    • Shante Isaac of Houston, Texas murdered on April 10. She was 34 years old.
    • Keyonna Blakeney of Rockville, Maryland murdered on April 16. She was 22 years old.
    • Tyreece Walker of Wichita, Kansas murdered on May 1. She was 32 years old.
    • Mercedes Successful of Haines City, Florida murdered on May 15. She was 32 years old.
    • Amos Beede of Burlington, Vermont murdered on May 25. He was 38 years old.
    • Goddess Diamond of New Orleans, Louisiana murdered on June 5. She was 20 years old.
    • Deeniquia Dodds of Washington D.C. murdered on July 13. She was 22 years old.
    • Dee Whigam of Shubuta, Mississippi murdered on July 23. She was 25 years old.
    • Skye Mockabee of Cleveland, Ohio murdered on July 30. She was 26 years old. 
    • Erykah Tijerina of El Paso, Texas murdered on August 8. She was 36 years old. 
    • Rae'Lynn Thomas of Columbus, Ohio murdered on August 10. She was 28 years old. 
    • Lexxi Sironen of Waterville, Maine killed on September 6. She was 43 years old.
    • T.T. Saffore of Chicago, Illinois killed on September 11. She was thought to be in her mid-twenties. 
    • Crystal Edmonds of Baltimore, Maryland killed on September 16. She was 32 years old. 
    • Jazz Alford of North Carolina killed on September 23. She was 30 years old. 
    • Brandi Bledsoe of Cleveland, Ohio killed on October 12. She was 32 years old. 
    • Simon (Sierra) Bush of Boise, Idaho killed on October 22. They were 18 years old. 
    • Noony Norwood of Richmond, Virginia killed on November 5. She was 30 years old. 
    • India Monroe of Newport News, Virginia killed on December 21, 2016. She was 29 years old.*

    *Due to misgendering and misidentification in initial reporting, the death of India Monroe in 2016 was not known until 2017.

    (Originally published July 26, 2016.)

    Learn more about each of the victims' individual lives and stories on The Advocate's dedicated page