The Maryland 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 reports that a 20-year-old Black transgender woman, Taya Ashton, was found shot and killed inside their apartment in Suitland, Marlyand. Reports state that Ashton was found by police on the evening of July 17th. Police are still investigating what led up to the shooting.
“As the summer wears on, gun violence remains a significant threat to our communities’ safety, but particularly among the transgender community,” said Jennifer Coulter Stapleton, a volunteer with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are deeply saddened by Taya’s death as gun violence continues to take the lives of Black trans women across the country. Our hearts are with Taya’s loved ones as we continue the fight to ensure that our state is safe from this type of hateful violence.”
Taya Ashton is at least the 31st homicide death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021. So far in 2021, Everytown has tracked more violent deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people than ever by this point in the calendar year.
Last year was the deadliest year on record for trans and gender non-conforming 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. Nearly 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 non-conforming 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.