On Nov. 19, The Human Rights Campaign declared 2020 the deadliest year on record in the United States for violent deaths of transgender people, listing 37. That eclipsed the previous highest annual toll of 31.
The next day, Asia Foster of Houston became No. 38. Four days after that, Chae’Meshia Simms was shot to death in Richmond, Virginia.
The campaign in late October published its Pledge to End Violence Against Black and Brown Transgender Women.
While the campaign advocates for trans and gender non-conforming people, it is not the only group tracking the problem. FBI hate crime data released in November showed that gender-identity based killings were up 20% from 2018 to a new high. FBI reports of 175 victims of anti-trans bias and 52 victims of gender-nonconforming bias in 2019 rose from 160 and 29 the year prior.
The actual numbers are higher, given that most police departments do not report hate crimes to the FBI, and the number of reporting departments has declined from 2018.
The rising number of hate crimes was an ironic counterpoint to November’s elections, which saw a record number of trans people elected to state legislatures.