A report claiming '32 transgender people killed in the USA in 2022' is misleading.
The 'Human Rights Campaign' releases a report on transgender deaths in 2022
There’s a very sinister prejudice that the far-right and the far-left seem to have in common when it comes to minorities. The far-right tends to assume that any bad thing a minority does is due to their minority status. And similarly, the far-left seems to assume that any bad thing that happens to a minority is because of their minority status.
These polarising extremes are precisely why non-tribal scepticism is vital when attempting to assess the facts and inform the public. Which brings me to the annual report from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation which was also covered by USA Today:
The HRC annual report lists 32 transgender and ‘non gender-conforming’ individuals that have been killed in the United States in 2022. The HRC frames these deaths in the context of ‘deadly violence targeting transgender and gender non-confirming people’ and links the deaths to ‘anti-transgender legislation’ (emphasis mine).
The full report is titled ‘An Epidemic of Violence 2022: Fatal Violence Against Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People in the United States in 2022’. Director of Community Engagement Tori Cooper claims in the report that much of this violence is ‘fuelled by racism, toxic masculinity, misogyny and transphobia’.
But what are the specific facts we have about these deaths? Is it reasonable to use these deaths as evidence of an anti-transgender epidemic of violence? What details do we have and what (if anything) do we know to suggest these individuals were killed because they are transgender?
I have summarised the details of each of the 32 deaths cited in the report and assigned either ‘unconfirmed’ or ‘confirmed’ to them depending on whether an anti-transgender element has been established. This isn’t to say transphobic hatred definitely wasn’t the motivation (or won’t be confirmed at a later time)—I’m simply pointing out what information was available at the time the HRC produced and published their report.
Amariey was a 21 year old transgender woman from Wilkinsburg. She was fatally shot and found dead in the street in the early hours of Jan 1st 2022. Police said they have not established a motive yet. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Princess was 24 years old and was in the early stages of transitioning. She was found dead in her car at a shopping mall in Jan 2022. Family members said she went there to meet someone she knew. A man was arrested in connection her her death in March 2022. No motive has yet been established. STATUS: Unconfirmed
21 year old Ramos was found dead in a Texas storage container in February 2022. Allan Montemayor, 32 was arrested and charged with her murder. Police said Ramos and Montemayor knew each other. Montemayor claimed he had ‘heard a song telling him to kill Ramos and believed she heard a song telling her to kill him’. The police said there was “no indication” that “that this was a hate crime targeting the LGBTQIA+ community”. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Skinner, 25 was killed in February 2022 at her home in an act of domestic violence. According to reports, her 26-year-old boyfriend, Michael Cortez Norris was charged with her murder. According to prosecutors, he ‘shot her in the neck, dragged her body into the hallway - and fled’. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Matthew Angelo Spampinato
Mathew was a 21 year old trans man. Reports say that Mathew was killed in a hit and run incident whilst walking home from work ‘along the shoulder of Route 273 near Quigley Boulevard’. The driver fled the scene. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Vasquez, 29, was found shot dead in her Houston apartment in April 2022. Police are still looking for a suspect and are yet to establish a motive. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Labelle, 33 was reported to have been beaten to death and dumped in a garbage receptacle in a Chicago alley. No suspect has been identified and no motive has been established. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Kathryn “Katie” Newhouse
Newhouse was a 19 year old trans woman killed by her father. Newhouse was suffering with mental health issues and according to Kathryn’s brother ‘she had to leave a mental health facility before the pandemic to live with her parents. He said the situation led to stressful situations’. There had been previous instances of violence between Kathryn and her father in the home. In March 2022, her father shot her dead, then killed himself. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Kenyatta “Kesha” Webster
Webster was found dead in Mississippi in March 2022. Webster’s mother told reporters that Kesha was killed in a “robbery homicide”. Jackson police are still investigating the murder. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Miia Love Parker
Parker was sat in a parked car with friends when shot dead in April 2022. A suspect has been identified as Saad Najeed Dwight who still appears to be at large at the time of writing. No motive has been established. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Mitchell, 17, was shot dead in April 2022 at a house party in Virginia. Jimmy Leshawn Williams was charged with murder. It was reported that the shooting was related to a fight that had occurred at a previous location. A friend of Mitchell’s said ‘the bullets fired by Williams were meant for her, not Mitchell’. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Feather was stabbed to death in April 2022. Suspect Seth Burnell has been charged with her murder. Burnell and his attorney are arguing it was self-defence in response to unwanted sexual advances. Burnell has violent priors and a history of ‘mental instability’. Burnell is being held without bail after the judge ruled Burnell was “not adequately provoked for a deadly use of a knife”. A trial date has not yet been set. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Transgender man Muscat, 29 was shot dead at their home in May 2022. Police said Muscat was shot dead by his transgender girlfriend Ruby Taverner who also killed her own brother before committing suicide. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Nedra Sequence Morris
In May 2022 Morris was found dead. Her family told reporters she was shot in the head and dumped in a Florida street. Miami police are still investigating. No suspect or motive has been identified. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Chanelika Y’Ella Dior Hemingway
Hemingway was found dead in her Albany apartment in May 2022. Police have ruled her death as a homicide. No suspects or motives have yet been identified. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Mason, 45 was killed during a robbery in North Carolina, May 2022. Two suspects have been arrested with the police confirming that the suspects were known to Mason and targeted her specifically. There has been no confirmation to date that this will be investigated as a hate crime. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Johnson was found shot to death in Milwaukee in June 2022. The investigation is ongoing and Milwaukee police are yet to determine a motive. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Shawmaynè Giselle Marie
Marie was shot dead inside a Gulfport apartment in June 2022. Marie and her sister were shot multiple times. Police arrested their friend Makhari Seven Gasaway. Police said the ‘shooting occurred after Marie and Gasaway argued, and Gasaway pulled a gun and started shooting’. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Monroe was shot to death in June 2022 inside a Memphis home. A Samuel Ward Jr. was arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter. According to reports Ward Jr. had ‘been inside a home with Monroe, and she ordered him to leave and pulled a gun on him. They struggled, both fell down a flight of stairs, and then Ward took out his own gun and shot Monroe several times, according to a police affidavit’. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Richmond was stabbed to death in July 2022 . Her boyfriend, Daniel Burley has been charged with her murder. Burley’s legal defence are claiming he acted in self-defence and also pointed out Burley had previously taken out a protection order against Richmond after an attempted break in. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Keshia Chanel Geter
Geter was shot dead outside of a motel in July 2022. Jaquarie Allen, 22 has been charged with her murder. According to reports ‘Geter was the two-dozenth victim of an outbreak of lethal crimes’ in the area. A motive has yet to be established. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Bush was killed in July 2022. Suspect Eric Antonio Sanchez allegedly shot Bush and a bystander. Sanchez has been charged with the ‘hate-motivated killing’ of Bush. Police have stated that Bush was ‘allegedly targeted based on a presumption of his gender identity and sexual orientation’. STATUS: Confirmed
Castro was shot and killed in July 2022. Houston police are still looking for suspects and have said they do not know the motive behind her murder. When asked about whether this was a ‘hate-crime’ a police officer said "I don't want to say hate crime or not. This is a pending, fresh investigation”. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Davis was shot dead in Detroit in July 2022. No suspects or motives have been identified and a reward of up to a $5,000 has been offered for information. STATUS: Unconfirmed
25. Kandii Redd
Redd was killed in Kansas city in July 2022. Reports suggest a physical altercation ended in her fatal stabbing. A suspect or motive has not yet been identified. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Lynch, a transgender man, was shot dead by police in July 2022. Lynch was reported to be having a “mental health crisis” when officers were called his home. Police body-cam footage shows Lynch threw items at the officers and attempted to attack them with a wine bottle. Officers used tasers to no effect then one officer opened fire, killing Lynch. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Hoffman was shot dead by police in May 2022. Reports claim Hoffman was suffering from a “mental health crisis” when officers were called to her home. Police body-cam footage recorded Hoffman pointing a gun a the officers. One officer responded by shooting (and killing) Hoffman. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Ricks was found dead in Detroit, August 2022 due to gunshot wounds. Deontae Antoine Close was arrested the same day and charged with murder. No statement/information on the potential motive has been given. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Allen was shot dead in Milwaukee in August 2022. Clayton Hubbird was arrested and charged with first-degree reckless homicide. Surveillance video shows Hubbird having a conversation with Allen at a gas station before she got into the back of his car. They arrived at Allen’s apartment a little while later where witnesses described hearing arguing and then a gunshot. Hubbird has pleaded not-guilty. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Morrison who identifies as “two-spirit” was found dead at their home in August 2022 from an apparent shooting. The investigation is ongoing and no motive has been established. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Transgender man Billingslea was shot and killed outside a motel in Jacksonville in September 2022. No suspects or motives have been identified. STATUS: Unconfirmed
Banks was killed in Miami in October 2022. Few details have been made public, but a suspect was arrested. No motive has been publicly established. STATUS: Unconfirmed
As you can see, out of the 32 deaths included in the HRC report in the context of an anti-trans ‘epidemic of violence’, only one of them can reasonably be categorised as ‘anti-trans’ (Cherry Bush) at this point in time.
You will also notice the bulk of these cases map on to the depressingly common types of killings we see generally—from domestic violence, gun crime in high crime areas and violent altercations with romantic partners and acquaintances. And that’s after you remove the four included examples of those justifiably shot by the police (Aaron Lynch & Maddie Hofmann), those not the intended target (Mitchell) or those murdered by a transgender individual themselves (Ray Muscat).
According to a 2015 survey ‘19 percent of all trans people, and 47 percent of black trans women, have engaged in sex work’. And as we know, sex work carries a higher than usual risk of violent encounters.
One ‘anti-trans’ killing is one too many of course. And it should go without saying that these individuals deserve justice whether they were targeted for their transgender identity or not.
However, it’s deeply irresponsible to create a climate of fear for transgender people—a fear that doesn’t appear to be justified. The FBI confirmed that the number of people murdered in the USA in 2021 was 22,900—which should provide some perspective on the scale of this particular ‘epidemic’.
Political scientist and author Wilfred Reilly did some analysis of similar claims made in years past:
…29 [Transgender people killed] in 2017, 26 in 2018, and 22 in 2019. Not only do these figures not reflect a year-by-year increase in attacks on trans persons—they are remarkably consistent, and may be trending slightly downwards—they also indicate that the trans murder rate is significantly lower than the murder rate for Americans overall.
The truth is there is no epidemic of transgender murders. The recorded transgender murder rate is 1/3 or less of the overall murder rate for all American citizens and legal residents. Further, when such murders do occur, few are motivated by hatred and roughly 80 per cent are same-race killings. These statements are not “arguments” or “allegations” but simply declarations of factual truth.
It’s misleading reports such as those pushed by the Human Rights Campaign that give the false impression that it is somehow open season on transgender people, or that we are in the midst of some sort of ‘trans genocide’. The fact remains that in the USA you are unlikely to be killed because you are transgender. This, I hope you will agree, is very good news.