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Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond to Recent Shootings of Trans People of Color

May 12, 2021

Everytown for Gun Safety, and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement in response to continued gun violence against trans women of color. Since May 3, three more trans people— Sophie Vásquez, a trans Latina in Georgia, Danny Henson, a Black trans woman in Maryland, and Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, an Indigenous non-binary person in Pennsylvania— were shot and killed.

“From discriminatory policies in statehouses to anti-trans gun violence, trans people are under assault in our country,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Head of Movement Building at Everytown for Gun Safety. “ We are continually reminded of the disproportionate impact of our gun violence public health crisis and how disturbingly common these tragic shootings are in the transgender community. It’s clear that we cannot have a true conversation about gun violence prevention without centering trans people, particularly Black trans women. Our hearts are with the loved ones and survivors of these senseless acts of gun violence, and we will continue to fight for a safer nation without gun violence.”

These people are at least the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd reported trans people killed in 2021, although it’s likely there have been more deaths that have gone unreported or victims who have been misgendered. April has been the deadliest month so far this year, in which at least seven trans people were killed including six by gun, and May does not seem to be slowing down. The killings come amidst a record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation. According to the Human Rights Campaign, as of April 12, at least 117 bills have been introduced in at least 33 states that target the trans community.

Last year was the deadliest year on record for trans and gender nonconforming people in the U.S., after 36 people were shot and killed. Some trends from 2017 to 2020 that are likely to continue:

  • 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. As the numbers show, violence against the trans community is inherently linked to guns, and 2020 was the deadliest year on record.

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