President Joe Biden issued a public statement and posted on social media on Nov. 20 in observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“There is no place for hate in America and no one should be discriminated against simply for being themselves,” Biden wrote in a written statement. “Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance we are reminded that there is more to do meet that promise, as we grieve the 26 transgender Americans whose lives were taken this year. While each one of these deaths is a tragedy — the true toll of those victimized is likely even higher, with the majority of those targeted being women of color.”
Biden’s statement reflected the statistics on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) website, which tracks the deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals every year. HRC tallied 41 violent deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming individuals last year after counting 59 in 2021 and 45 in 2020.
Several murders from this year occurred in recent months. Multiple Black transgender women were killed in October, including choreographer Chyna Long, 30, who was shot to death in Milwaukee on Oct. 8, and 25-year-old Dominic Dupree, who was fatally shot in Chicago less than a week later on Oct. 13.
Referring to the death toll, Biden added, “It’s unacceptable and it’s why my Administration has taken action to strengthen the rights, and protect the safety of transgender and all LGBTQI+ Americans… We must never be silent in the face of hate. As we mourn the loss of transgender Americans taken too soon this year, we must also recommit ourselves to never stop fighting until all Americans can live free from discrimination.”
Biden went on to list actions his administration has taken to support transgender individuals in America, such as removing the ban on trans troops and signing executive orders bolstering protections for the LGBTQ community.
In 2021, the Biden administration published a report called “Memorializing Transgender Day of Remembrance,” which included the results of an interagency working group on safety, opportunity, and inclusion for transgender individuals.
Transgender Day of Remembrance started in 1999 when Gwendolyn Ann Smith organized a vigil following the 1998 murder of a transgender woman, Rita Hester.