Killed for being transgender

While transgender identities are becoming the subject of mainstream attention, that exposure has coincided with a violent backlash.

2019 marked the start of what the American Medical Association deemed an “epidemic” of transgender murders. As of September, 18 transgender people were killed, predominantly women of color, and the looming threat of violence is a major reason why many transgender people live in fear, according to an article in the New York Times (Rojas & Swales, 2019).

“It’s always in the forefront of our minds, when we’re leaving home, going to work, going to school,” said Kayla Gore, who lives in Memphis. “Guys were flirting with me at the gas station, and the first thought was, ‘This could go horribly wrong.’” (Rojas & Swales, 2019).


Read more about the alarming trends of violence and the resulting public outcry.

18 Transgender Killings This Year Raise Fears of an ‘Epidemic’


Black transgender women express anger, hurt and frustration at the hostility they face--including within the African American community. Read more about the threats faced by black transgender women.

Transgender African-Americans' Open Wound: 'We're Considered a Joke'


Database of transgender homicides 2010-2018. (2019). Mic.

Eligon, J. (2017, August 6). Transgender African-Americans’ open wound: ‘We’re considered a joke’. New York Times.

Rojas, R. & Swales, V. (2019, September 27). 18 Transgender killings this year raise fears of an epidemic. New York Times.

Stotzer, R.L. (2017). Data sources hinder our understanding of transgender murder. American Journal of Public Health, 107(9), 1362–1363.

Gender Identity Gender identity icon Our core sense of who we are as a man, a woman, a mixture of both, or neither.

Gender Expression Gender expression icon How we show up in the world through choices like clothing, hair style, mannerisms or tone of voice.

Attraction attraction icon How we feel toward others sexually, romantically and/or emotionally.

Biological Sex Biological sex icon Physical attributes such as reproductive organs and genitalia, chromosomes, genes and hormone levels.

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More research is necessary to analyze the current outbreak of violence, but a study published in the American Journal of Public Health confirms the widespread observation that young transgender women of color are at a particularly high risk of violence, including homicide. Read about these findings.

Data Sources Hinder our Understanding of Transgender Murders

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Sadly, violence against transgender persons is not a new phenomenon. The publishing company MIC has tracked transgender murders committed in the U.S. since 2010, creating a powerful and devastating portrait of lives lost but not forgotten.


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