WASHINGTON In response to the brutal murder of a transgender woman in East Hollywood last week, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) has called for increased action to protect transgender people, particularly transgender women of color.
The fatal altercation, which was caught on tape and is still under investigation, is being referred to as a botched robbery by Los Angeles police. The victim, Aniya Parker, was walking down the street when she was attacked by 3 men, one of whom attempted to grab her purse. When Parker attempted to flee, she was fatally shot at close range.
This most recent attack fits into a broader problem of violent incidents against the transgender community, and according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ), is the eighth murder of a transgender woman of color to take place since June. The attack occurred a week before the arrest of a suspect in the murder of Zoraida Reyes, a transgender activist who was brutally murdered four months ago.
Said HRC Vice President Fred Sainz: "Violence against transgender people particularly transgender women of color is a national crisis. And it's crisis that we can only solve when we work together as a community to end transphobia and send the message that this violence is unacceptable."
The 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on the experiences of transgender Americans found that nationally, black transgender and gender non-conforming people often live in extreme poverty, with 34% reporting a household income of less than $10,000 per year, eight times the rate of the general U.S. population.
Transgender women of color face disproportionate levels of violence in comparison to other members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) community. According to a report by NCAVP, 72 percent of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were transgender women and 89 percent were people of color. Discrimination in employment, healthcare, and persistent racism can reinforce one another to place transgender people of color at greater risk for poverty and violence.
"Women like Aniya Parker are facing the kinds of stigma and marginalization that most Americans can't even begin to imagine," Sainz said. "We must continue to speak out against this kind of violence and make it clear that these women's lives matter."