Three Black Trans Americans Murdered as Epidemic of Violence Reaches Record Levels
Two more Black trans women have been murdered in the US this week, and reports have emerged that a Black trans man was killed in June.
Their deaths mean there have been at least 25 trans people murdered in the US in 2020, just over halfway into the year. The Human Rights Campaign tracked 27 violent fatalities throughout all of 2019.
According to local New York TV station WPIX, 32-year-old Tiffany Harris was stabbed to death in her Bronx apartment early Sunday morning (July 26).
She was initially deadnamed and misgendered by the police and the media, but was correctly identified by people in her community as well as a trans rights group.
NYPD officers responded to a 911 call just after 1.30am and discovered Harris with a stab wound to her chest in the hallway of her building. She was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead at around 2.20am.
Her death is not being investigated as a hate crime. A man caught on CCTV is wanted for questioning, and is believed to have been in a relationship with Harris.
On Monday (July 27) afternoon, a second Black trans woman was found dead in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
According to local news outlet The Advocate, Queasha D Hardy was just 24 years old and had been shot in broad daylight. She was found just after 1pm lying in the street with multiple gunshot wounds and passed away at the scene.
Hardy was also misgendered and deadnamed by police and the media after her death, and her next of kin reportedly demanded that she be identified as male despite her living openly as a trans woman.
A Black trans man was murdered last month.
Reports have recently emerged that a Black trans man, Brian Powers, was murdered in Akron, Ohio, on June 13.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, Powers was killed by a single gunshot and was found on the street outside a church.
Police said they have no leads, but the man’s friends and family believe his death is not being treated seriously because he was Black and transgender.
Powers’s friend Steve Arrington, who works at the Akron AIDS Collaborative, said: “I’m kind of disturbed when they say ‘Black Lives Matter’.
“I say: ‘Whose lives, my life? Or just heterosexual Black people’s lives? What about my LGBTQ brothers and sisters? They’re Black. Do their lives matter?’”
After Harris’ death, Human Rights Campaign said in statement: “There are currently very few explicit federal legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people.
“Nationally, despite some marginal gains in state and local policies that support and affirm transgender people, recent years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government.
“We must demand better from our community, peers and elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state and federal levels.
“It is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of colour. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.
“This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of colour — particularly Black trans women — must cease.”
Following the deaths of four trans people – three of whom were Black trans women – in a single week at the start of July, HRC said it has “never seen such a high number at this point in the year” since they began tracking this data in 2013.