The Georgia chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement in response to the death of Ashley Burton, a 37-year-old Black transgender woman, who was shot and killed in Atlanta, Georgia last week.
“Our hearts go out to Ashley’s loved ones during this immensely difficult time. Together we mourn a joyous and beautiful life tragically cut short — but we know that thoughts and prayers are not enough,” said Kailee Eidson, a volunteer with the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “To honor Ashley’s life and legacy, we must take action. Black transgender women are on the frontlines of our country’s epidemic of hate-fueled gun violence, and we demand our lawmakers across all levels pass legislation that will protect them.”
This tragedy wasn’t isolated — Ashley’s death is at least the 7th fatal shooting of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2023 in the United States and Puerto Rico, and it’s likely there have been more deaths that have gone unreported or victims who have been misgendered. This tragic trend isn’t happening in a vacuum. It comes as some states across the country have been advancing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation while simultaneously dismantling their gun safety laws. In Georgia, this legislation includes bills that would deny gender-affirming care to transgender youth, prohibit transgender school children from using school facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, and that would ban drag shows and other performances done by transgender individuals. Georgia also has some of the weakest gun laws in the country lacking foundational gun safety measures such as background checks for all firearm sales and concealed firearm carry permitting. This deadly intersection creates a culture in which acts of gun violence towards trangender and gender non-conforming individuals become commonplace.
2021 was the deadliest year on record for trans and gender nonconforming people in the U.S, and Black transgender women were disproportionately impacted by the violence. Below are trends from 2017 to 2022 that researchers fear will continue in 2023:
- Between 2017 and 2022, there were 222 homicides of transgender or gender non-conforming people.
- Guns are the most frequently used weapon in the murder of trans people. Nearly three-fourths of trans people killed in America were killed with a gun. This violence is not evenly spread throughout the US.
- From 2017 to 2022, the majority of gun homicides of transgender and gender nonconforming people (67%) were of Black trans Women.
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.