2021 is now the deadliest year on record for transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer people, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
At least 45 known transgender or gender non-conforming individuals have been killed this year. The HRC reports that this number may be higher, as some victims may not have been identified as transgender or gender non-conforming at the time of their deaths.
The most recent death occurred on November 4, when Marquiisha Lawrence was found shot to death in her home in Greenville, South Carolina.
In a statement released to the press, HRC Interim President Joni Madison called this grim milestone “tragic and deeply unsettling,” adding that, “Each of these 45 names represents a whole person and a rich life torn from us by senseless violence, driven by bigotry and transphobia and stoked by people who hate and fear transgender people and the richness of their experience.”
In addition to being the deadliest year for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, 2021 has also been notable for the high number of anti-trans legislation being advanced by state legislatures across the country. The HRC reports that ten states have passed anti-trans legislation, including Arkansas, which earlier this year became the first state in the country to ban transgender healthcare access to minors.
Such legislation, Madison said in her statement, correlates to the violence committed against transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. “Dehumanizing rhetoric has real-life consequences for the transgender community, particularly women of color,” she said. “As we have seen an unprecedented number of bills introduced in the state legislatures attacking transgender youth and trans adults, the moment we are in is clear. They have attacked transgender people’s right to healthcare, right to exist in public, and right to live openly, with the ultimate goal of dehumanizing and erasing their lives and experiences.”