GLAAD calls for increased and accurate media coverage of transgender murders

This page is updated regularly as new deaths are reported.

2016 overtook 2015 as the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States. In 2016, 27 transgender people were killed in the United States and nearly all of the victims were transgender women of color. (The 27th victim was India Monroe, a Black transgender woman, who was found shot to death in Newport News, Virginia on December 21, 2016; however, because initial reporting misgendered and misidentified her using her birth name, her death was not known until January.) This number does not include transgender people whose deaths were not reported due to misgendering in police reports, news stories, and sometimes by the victim's family.

The most recent victims of anti-transgender violence in 2017: JoJo Striker, a Black transgender woman, was found dead from a gunshot wound in Toledo, Ohio; Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, a Two-Spirit transgender woman, was found dead in her apartment in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in an apparent homicide; Mesha Caldwell, a Black transgender woman, was found shot to death outside of Canton, Mississippi.

Victims of this violence are overwhelmingly transgender women of color, who live at the dangerous intersections of transphobia, racism, sexism, and criminalization which often lead to high rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness.

While some of these homicides have not yet been identified as hate crimes due to lack of information about the perpetrators or motives, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports an alarming multi-year trend showing that transgender women experience a greater risk of death by hate violence than any other group.

With violence against transgender people at an all-time high and rising, media coverage is severely lacking. The media must do a better job of reporting these murders and bringing needed attention to a community under vicious and violent attack.

Without acknowledging this transphobic violence as the reality, we cannot begin to address, and put an end to the epidemic.

GLAAD is calling on the media to:

  • Report on each transgender person murdered. In order for people to be aware of the unprecedented violence affecting the community, the public needs to know it is happening. The media has a responsibility to communicate about the deadly realities faced by transgender people.
  • Respect and use the lived identity, name, and pronoun of the victim. Disregarding the victim's gender identity and misgendering them in news reports adds further insult to injury, compounding the tragedy by invalidating who the victims were. GLAAD's Doubly Victimized: Reporting on Transgender Victims of Crime offers clear guidelines for reporting respectfully on stories where transgender people have been victimized by crime. GLAAD's Media Reference Guide also offers a glossary of terms, and best practices for fairly and accurately covering transgender stories.

As necessary, GLAAD reaches out to media outlets to correct incidents of irresponsible reporting where misgendering and victim-blaming occur. We also work with local communities and advocates, connecting them to journalists to confirm information about the victims. If you see a news story which misgenders a transgender victim and/or publishes details about their personal life irrelevant to their murder, contact us at transgender@glaad.org.

    We say their names to remember those we've lost in 2017:

    • Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow of Sioux Falls, South Dakota killed on January 1. She was 28 years old. 
    • Mesha Caldwell of Canton, Mississippi killed on January 4. She was 41 years old. 
    • JoJo Striker of Toledo, Ohio killed on February 8. She was 23 years old. 

    Additional Resources: