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New Count Shows Transgender Homicides Doubled 2019-21


Homicides of transgender victims doubled between 2019 and 2021, corresponding with a spike in anti-transgender legislation and political attacks on transgender people's civil rights, Insider reports in what it billed as the most comprehensive database on the subject. Based on public records requests and reporting nationwide, Insider found 175 homicides from 2017 through 2021, only three cases of which were charged as hate crimes. Nearly two-thirds of those killed were Black women, and 85 percent were people of color. The majority of the suspects were known to their victims, and men were the suspects in almost every killing. The reporting found that a higher proportion of transgender men and gender-nonconforming people were killed by law enforcement. Among transgender women, intimate violence by sexual partners or clients made up nearly half of the killings. Killings of Black transgender people were more likely to go unsolved, while killings of white transgender people were more likely to result in murder convictions.


The new counts fill a gap left by federal crime-tracking programs. The FBI does not enable local law enforcement to report data on transgender or gender nonconforming victims of violent crime, as its National Incident-Based Reporting System limits gender to the categories of male and female. The only substantial public data on transgender crime victims comes from a federal survey. A June 2022 analysis of that data found transgender people were 2½ times as likely as cisgender people to report being victims of violent crime. Local police departments report transgender deaths to the federal government only if they identify that death as a hate crime. Only 10 such cases were reported from 2017 to 2020. In the five-year span of the study, only 28 cases — 16 percent — resulted in murder convictions and more than one-third of the kills remain unsolved. The tally counted deaths in police custody even when not ruled a homicide, if a lawsuit or public inquiry has alleged wrongful death. The police reports and statements Insider obtained are replete with misnaming and misgendering victims.

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