The Texas 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 transgender Latina, Martina Caldera, who was shot and killed in Houston last year. Though Martina was murdered in December of 2021, police initially reported that she died in a car accident. It was later discovered that she was shot; her family believes she was killed by an intimate partner.
“Our hearts go out to Martina’s loved ones during this difficult time,” said Karin Knapp, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “She was a light in many people’s lives, and it’s clear that her loss is deeply felt throughout the community. Martina’s death is a sobering example of the intersections of domestic abuse and gun violence in the trans community, and it should serve as a reminder that Texas needs stronger gun safety laws, not weaker ones.”
2021 was the deadliest year on record for trans and gender non-conforming people in the U.S.; Martina’s death marked at least the 56th homicide of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021 in the United States and Puerto Rico. It’s likely there have been more deaths that have gone unreported or victims who have been misgendered. Researchers anticipate this record-setting violence to continue into 2022.
Some trends from 2017 to 2021 that researchers fear will continue in 2022:
- There was an 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.
- Trans Latinas account for a significant portion of homicide victims in the trans community. Transgender Latinas made up 13% of homicide victims and 8% of gun homicide victims in the trans community between 2017 and 2021.
- Interpersonal violence accounts for a significant number of fatalities against transgender and gender non-conforming people. A report by the HRC Foundation found that between 2013 and 2021, approximately two thirds of transgender and gender non-conforming people with known killers had their lives taken by an acquaintance, friend, family member or intimate partner.
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 platform includes a database of known trans or gender nonconforming homicide victims in the United States.