NEW YORK – 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 a rash of shootings of trans women of color. In the two weeks from April 21 to May 2, at least six trans women of color – Tiara Banks, Iris Santos, Tiffany Thomas, Natalia Smut, Keri Washington, and Jahaira M. DeAlto Balenciaga – were killed; at least four of the women were killed with a gun.
“Trans people have time and time again been targeted by violent attacks in this country – attacks from people fueled by hate and made deadly by easy access to guns, and attacks from extremist lawmakers whose policies reject and endanger trans lives,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Head of Movement Building at Everytown for Gun Safety. “Our hearts are with these women, their families, and the trans community, which will continue to face this dual threat until we take action against it.”
These women are at least the 20th 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 – six by gun. The killings come amidst a record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation. According to the Human Rights Campaign, as of April 15, 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-conforming 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.