The actress has declared a “state of emergency”, due to the increasing death rate of trans women in America.

Seventeen trans women are known to have been murdered in the United States this year alone – fifteen of whom were trans women of colour – leading activists to describe the the situation as “an epidemic of anti-trans violence”.

Speaking to Good Morning America, the Orange Is The New Black actress said: “We in the transgender community right now are reeling.”

Voicing her concern over the growing number of trans related crimes, she declared: “It really is a state of emergency.

“Your life should not be in danger simply for being who you are,” she added.

“I think the reasons why trans women experience so much violence has to do with employment, housing, health care etc., so we need to make sure that trans lives matter,” she added

President Barack Obama has promised to put race-related murders and hate crimes at the forefront of his agenda and the leader has also been urged to investigate the worrying increase in trans-related killings.

Three trans women were reportedly murdered last week alone – bringing the total number of those killed in the US this year to 16 so far – though as there is little official monitoring, this may be a low estimate.

As the issue attracts attention for the first time – with Caitlyn Jenner giving over her blog earlier this week to talk about “the number of murders of transgender women of colour” – Barack Obama has been urged to act.

An official White House petition says: “Since January 9, 2015, [now sixteen] transgender women, mostly women of colour, have lost their lives due to hate and transphobia.

“Eight of these beautiful lives were lost in the first two months of the year.

“With such a high death toll, something must be done to raise awareness and end the senseless killings of a targeted, vulnerable community.”

A trans woman died over the weekend after being repeatedly run over in a violent attack.

Police officers found Tamara Dominguez, 32, lying unconscious in a car park during the early hours of Saturday morning (August 15).

An eyewitness told officers that Ms Dominguez – who lived in Kansas – had gotten out of a black SUV that then intentionally ran her over – before reversing over her and and running over her a second time.

Ms Dominguez was rushed to hospital in critical condition – but sadly passed away on Monday (August 17).