The Kentucky 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 Imanitwitaho Zachee, a Black transgender woman, who was shot and killed in Louisville, Kentucky last Friday.
“Our hearts go out to Zachee’s friends and family during this immensely difficult time,” said Kristal Smith, a volunteer with the Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Gun violence against transgender people, particularly Black transgender people, is devastatingly frequent. Leaders across all levels of government must act now and pass stronger gun laws to protect LGBTQ+ communities in Kentucky and beyond.”
This tragedy wasn’t isolated — Zachee’s death is at least the 5th 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 Kentucky, 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 legalize medical discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. Meanwhile, Kentucky has some of the weakest gun laws in the country. 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 transgender women of color were disproportionately impacted by the violence. Below are trends from 2017 to 2021 that researchers fear will continue in 2023:
- There was a 93% increase in incidents of tracked transgender homicides from 2017 to 2021 (from 29 incidents in 2017 to 56 incidents in 2021).
- 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.
- Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Latinawomen are victims of homicide at the highest rates. 73% of gun homicides of transgender and gender-nonconforming people 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.