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Are We in the Midst of a Transgender Murder Epidemic?

By Wilfred Reilly | 7 December 2020

QUILLETTE — The claim that there’s an “epidemic” of fatal anti-transgender violence in the United States has been made widely in recent years. A Google search for the phrase “epidemic of anti-trans violence” turns up pieces from the New York Times, NBC National News, ABC National News, and the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT lobby group — among 2,500,000 other results. The HRC’s primary on-point article was headlined ‘A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence,’ while the Times led with ‘Eighteen Transgender Killings This Year Raise Fears of an Epidemic.’ Transgender Day of Remembrance has been celebrated since the late 1990s to honor those “members of the transgender community whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence,” and the American Medical Association has stated on record that fatal attacks on transgender people—particularly minority trans women — constitute a large part of an “epidemic of violence” against the trans community.

However, there is remarkably little evidence that transgender Americans are killed at an unusually high rate. According to an exhaustive database kept by the HRC, there were 29 recorded murders of trans individuals in the most violent recent year on record (2017), a fraction of the 17,294 murders committed that year. In fact, the transgender murder rate is far lower than the murder rates for African Americans, poor Americans of all races, and “men” in general. Further, most murders of trans persons are same-race domestic or personal disputes, not hate crimes. […]

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