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Anti-trans violence and murders are on the rise

Anti-trans violence and murders are on the rise

Alejandra Leos was a 41-year-old transgender woman, fatally shot in Memphis, Tennessee in September last year.

Aniya Parker was a 47-year-old transgender woman, shot by a group of men in Los Angeles in October.

And Ashley Sherman was a 25-year-old transgender woman, found dead from a gunshot wound in Indianapolis again in October.

These are just three in a long list of transgender people who were killed or injured in attacks last year. They are evidence of a new set of statistics which suggest that, while incidents of anti-LGBT violence dropped 32% in the US in 2014, anti-trans violence rose 13%. 

The figures, from a new report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), also found homicides of LGBT people rose 11% compared to 2013.

Reflecting a four-year trend, the data indicates transgender women and LGBT people of color were at greater risk of homicide than the LGBT community as a whole. Of the 20 LGBT people killed in hate-motivated attacks in 2014, 16 were people of color and 11 were transgender women of color.

Chai Jindasurat, who coordinates programs with NCAVP, spoke to Buzzfeed News. ‘There is a public perception that there is a sea change for LGBTQ people, and that is true for public opinion of LGBTQ people,’ he said. ‘But it is still dangerous to be LGBTQ in the United States.’

The report also warned that the decline in anti-LGBT violence should not be celebrated as a decrease in attacks overall. It suggested that the figures could be down to fewer individuals reporting crimes, or fewer crimes being officially classified as bias or hate crimes – the real figure could be much higher.

For example, it found just over half of victims surveyed – 54% – had reported their attacks to the police, which was up from 45% in 2013. 

Meanwhile, it found that when LGBT victims had reported crimes to the authorities, 27% said they had experienced hostile attitudes from police. 

‘When law enforcement does not take the violence seriously, it sends a message to survivors that what happens to them is not a problem,’ Jindasurat said ‘On a macro level, it continues to minimize the extent of the problem.’

Despite transgender women and LGBT people of color facing the highest risk of violence and homicide, the NCAVP found white, gay, cisgender men still represented the largest group of hate violence survivors in 2014. When they reported their crimes to the police, though, they were most likely to have the crimes officially classified as hate violence.