US: The Hate Crime Epidemic We're Not Paying Enough Attention To

Two transgender women of color have been murdered in the past month alone. On Sunday, July 2, Ebony Morgan was fatally shot in Lynchburg, VA. Just one week before, on June 25, 17-year-old Ava Le'Ray Barrin was shot and killed in Atlanta, GA. The deaths of these women, especially so close together, are tragic, gut-wrenching, and unthinkable. The saddest part is, Morgan and Barrin aren't the first transgender women of color to be murdered in 2017. In fact, Morgan, the most recent victim, is the 15th. Here is the growing list of murder victims so far in 2017:

  1. Jan. 1: Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, 28
  2. Jan. 4: Mesha Caldwell, 41
  3. Feb. 8: JoJo Striker, 23
  4. Feb. 19: Jaquarrius Holland, 18
  5. Feb. 21: Tiara Richmond aka Keke Collier, 24
  6. Feb. 25: Chyna Doll Dupree, 31
  7. Feb. 27: Ciara McElveen, 21
  8. March 22: Alphonza Watson, 38
  9. April 9: Kenne McFadden, 27
  10. April 21: Chay Reed, 28
  11. April 21: Kenneth Bostick*, 59
  12. May 16: Sherrell Faulkner, 46
  13. June 13: Kendra Marie Adams, 28
  14. June 25: Ava Le'Ray Barrin, 17
  15. July 2: Ebony Morgan, 28

Morgan's killing isn't just some anomaly; transgender women of color may be more at risk for violence than any other members of the LGBTQ+ community. As The Advocate stated in 2016, this is because the increased threat to transgender women in the current political climate yields "a progressively hostile environment for trans folks that has emboldened our adversaries and resulted in an increase in hate-motivated violence."

Every year since 2010 has yielded more transgender murder victims than the last. To be clear, these are murders that are actually reported to the police and do not account for countless more violent acts and deaths that may go unreported across the nation every year. In 2015, 21 transgender murders were reported in America. In 2016, the number of reported victims climbed to 27.

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