On Thursday, a trans woman was shot and killed in a suburb of Washington, D.C. where another trans woman was killed less than three months earlier. Zoe Spears, a 23 year-old Black trans woman, was shot and killed last week in Fairmount Heights, Maryland — roughly three blocks from where Ashanti Carmon, another Black trans woman, was killed in a shooting in March. According to reports, the women knew each other, given the closeness of the trans community in the area.
Three trans women have been killed in June, which is Pride Month — at least two were killed by gun violence. All were Black trans women. Additionally, two trans women — Layleen Polanco and Johana “Joa” Medina Leon — have died in June; the exact cause of death for each woman is still unknown.
In total, there have been at least 10 transgender people killed in the United States so far this year. All 10 of the victims were Black women and at least eight were killed with a gun. The following trans women have been shot and killed so far this year:
- Dana Martin, shot and killed in Montgomery, Ala. in January, marking the first known shooting of a trans person in 2019.
- Ashanti Carmon, shot and killed in Fairmount Heights, Md. in March.
- Claire Legato, shot in Cleveland in April and later died of her injuries in May.
- Muhlaysia Booker, shot and killed in Dallas in May.
- Michelle “Tamika” Washington, shot and killed in Philadelphia in May.
- Paris Cameron, shot and killed in Detroit in May.
- Chanel Scurlock, shot and killed in Lumberton, N.C. earlier this month.
- Zoe Spears, shot and killed in Fairmount Heights, Md. last week.
Last year, at least 26 transgender people were killed in the U.S., 19 of whom were shot and killed and at least 23 were women of color.
In an average year, over 10,300 hate crimes involve a gun — more than 28 each day. In 2017, anti-LGBTQ bias motivated 17 percent of hate crimes.
To address these shootings, Congress needs to pass the Disarm Hate Act — legislation reintroduced in May by Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) that would prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from possessing or purchasing guns.
If you have any questions concerning the alarming frequency of gun violence in the trans community, please don’t hesitate to reach out.