Joe Biden issued a statement in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, memorializing the dozens of transgender people who were killed this year in America and saying “each of these lives was precious”.
Biden noted that 2021 has been the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans, particularly Black and Latino individuals. A recent study found that transgender people are over four times more likely to experience violent crimes than cisgender people.
“This year, at least 46 transgender individuals in this country – and hundreds more around the world – were killed in horrifying acts of violence,” Biden said in a statement Saturday. “Each of these lives was precious. Each of them deserved freedom, justice and joy.”
Transgender people killed this year in the US ranged in age from 16 to 49, according to nonprofit Human Rights Campaign. Two siblings, one who was transgender and one who was non-binary, were killed by their mother in Pennsylvania in February. Natalia Smut Lopez, a 24-year-old beloved drag entertainer from the Bay Area, was murdered by a man who she was in a relationship with in April. Over 100 people attended her memorial service in her honor.
Trans women of color comprise four in five of all known violent killings of transgender, non-binary and non-conforming people, according to a report released by Human Rights Campaign in October. Since 2013, at least 256 transgender ad gender non-conforming people in 36 states and DC have been murdered.
“The rhetoric and stigma aimed by anti-equality political leaders at transgender and non-binary people have led to an unprecedented level of horrific violence against our transgender community,” said Human Rights Campaign president Joni Madison on Twitter. “We must bring this epidemic of violence to an end.”
In his statement, Biden said that he called on his administration to coordinate across the federal government to address the violence and advance equality for transgender individuals. He also called on state leaders to “combat the disturbing proliferation of discriminatory state legislation targeting transgender people, especially transgender children”.
Over 100 anti-trans bills – including over a dozen that were passed – were proposed by lawmakers this year across 37 states. The laws include bills banning transgender girls from participating on girls’ sports team in Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia and bills prohibiting trans children from using bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.