A Deadly Epidemic

Trans people are being killed, who’s talking about it?

May 18th, 2019. Muhlaysia Booker. Shot and killed in Dallas at age 26. 

September 4th, 2019. Bee Love Slater. Found dead in a burning car at age 23. 

December 23rd, 2019. Julie Berman. Suffered head trauma before passing away at age 51.

January 1st, 2020. Dustin Parker. Fatally shot at age 25.

What do these tragic deaths have in common?

These names have in common that their basic Human Right to Life was taken on the account of transphobia, and in most cases racism, and these are only a few of the deaths of transgender people that occured in 2019 alone. 

It’s a persistent issue. A continuous, tragic issue, and as named by the American Medical Association, an epidemic. “According to available tracking, fatal anti-transgender violence in the US is on the rise and most victims were black transgender women,” says Bobby Mukkamala, an AMA board member. “The number of victims could be even higher due to underreporting.” 84% of trans lives taken are people of color, and 80% percent are women.

This is more than just a bathroom issue and it’s more than just differing opinions about that biology class you took freshman year of highschool. People’s lives are being threatened by presenting themselves authentically. There have been 331 reported killings of trans people in the last year, and there’s so little media coverage. 

Most recently, Nare Mphela was found dead with multiple stab wounds on January 13 of 2020. She was a transgender activist in South Africa, and won a discrimination case against her highschool in 2017, a big win for LGBT rights in South Africa.

“We must lift up the stories of those most at risk,” says Laverne Cox, an American actress and LGBT rights advocate says. “Statistically trans people of color who are poor and working class,” 

The media has been irresponsible covering these rising issues. The names listed above, and being only a few of the victims of hate crimes, are being buried. Such little light is being shed on the ceaceless killing of transgender people, and it needs to chenge. The media has the responsibility of covering these issues, and bringing attention to a community in rising danger. 

“Visibility creates change,” says Buck Angel, a trans advocate and speaker. Recognizing these names in the media can mean all the difference.  These names need to be known, and their stories need to be heard. It’s a rising epidemic, and no one is talking about it. 


Works Cited

AMA Media & Editorial. “AMA Adopts New Policies on First Day of Voting at 2019 Annual Meeting.” American Medical Association, 10 June 2019, www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/ama-adopts-new-policies-first-day-voting-2019-annual-meeting. Accessed 27 Jan. 2020.

Ennis, Dawn. “The Transgender Day of Remembrance: so Much Loss, so Much to Keep Fighting for.” Daily Beast, 20 Nov. 2019. Daily Beast, www.thedailybeast.com/the-transgender-day-of-remembrance-so-much-loss-so-much-to-keep-fighting-for. Accessed 27 Jan. 2020.

Euber, Julie. “American Medical Association: Transgender Deaths Are an Epidemic.” Nonprofit Quarterly, 2 Oct. 2019. American Medical Association, nonprofitquarterly.org/american-medical-association-transgender-deaths-are-an-epidemic/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2020.

Fortin, Jacey. “A Transgender Woman Who Was Attacked in Dallas Last Month Has Been Found Dead.” The New York Times [New York], 19 May 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/05/19/us/muhlaysia-booker-shot.html. Accessed 23 Jan. 2020.

Human Rights Campaign. “Violence Against the Transgender Community in 2019.” Human Rights Campaign, 2019, www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-transgender-community-in-2019. Accessed 27 Jan. 2020.

Kozuch, Elliot. “HRC Mourns Dustin Parker, Trans Man Killed in Oklahoma.” Human Rights Campaign, 2 Jan. 2020, www.hrc.org/blog/hrc-mourns-dustin-parker-trans-man-killed-i n-oklahoma. Accessed 27 Jan. 2020.

McBride, Sarah. “Alarming Report on Rising Violence Against the Transgender Community.” Human Rights Campaign, 17 Nov. 2017, www.hrc.org/blog/hrc-trans-people-of-color-coalition-release-report-on-violence-against-the. Accessed 27 Jan. 2020.

Oppenheim, Maya. “Prominent Canadian Trans Activist Who Spoke Out About Violence in the Community Killed.” Independent, www.nytimes.com/2019/05/19/us/muhlaysia-booker-shot.html. Accessed 23 Jan. 2020.

“South Africa: Transgender Activist Nare Mphela Murdered.” Democracy Now, 13 Jan. 2020. Democracy Now, www.democracynow.org/2020/1/13/headlines/south_africa_transgender_activist_nare_mphela_murdered. Accessed 27 Jan. 2020.

Young, Matilda. “HRC Mourns Bee Love Slater, a Black Transgender Women Killed in Florida.” Human Rights Campaign, 9 Sept. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/05/19/us/muhlaysia-booker-shot.html. Accessed 23 Jan. 2020.