The Illinois chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement responding to reports that Haven A. Bailey, a transgender man, was shot and killed by police in Villa Park, Illinois in May. While responding to a call of an armed person — later identified as coming from Bailey — law enforcement officers shot and killed Bailey. Reports show that Bailey was not armed with a firearm and only carried a pellet gun.
“This heartbreaking loss highlights the need for changes in how we respond to communities in crisis in order to reduce the possibility of a violent outcome,” said Laura Lambert, a volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Too often the lives of transgender and nonbinary people in our country are cut short by gun violence. Our hearts are with Haven’s loved ones, and we will continue to work toward making our state safe from all forms of gun violence.”
Haven A. Bailey is at least the 27th reported trans person killed in 2021, although it’s likely there have been more deaths that have gone unreported or victims have been misgendered.
So far in 2021, Everytown has tracked more violent deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people than ever by this point in the year. May was the deadliest month so far this year, in which at least nine trans people were killed including seven by gun. The killings come amidst a record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation. According to the Human Rights Campaign, as of April 12, at least 250 bills have been introduced that target the trans community.
Last year was the deadliest year on record for trans and gender nonconforming people in the U.S., after 38 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 EveryStat 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 closely linked to guns, and 2021 is on track to be the deadliest year on record.
Police violence is a form of gun violence, and it is essential that law enforcement agencies adopt evidence-based policies, including having strong guardrails on when police may use force against civilians, ensuring police are held accountable when force is used, and prioritizing de-escalation, dignity, and respect.