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2020 is officially the deadliest year for transgender violence since records began – and there’s still three months left

Emma Powys Maurice October 9, 2020
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Felycya Harris is the 31st transgender person to die by violent means so far this year (Human Rights Campaign)

After yet another transgender woman was tragically shot to death, 2020 has officially become the deadliest year for the trans community since US records began.

Police found the body of 33-year-old Felycya Harris, a transgender interior designer and entrepreneur, in a Georgia park on Saturday (October 3). Her murder marks the 31st known violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person so far this year.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, the sobering figure makes 2020 the worst year since the advocacy group started keeping track in 2013 — and there’s still almost three months left of the year.

“This epidemic of violence, which is particularly impacting transgender women of colour, must and can be stopped,” said HRC President Alphonso David in a statement.

“We must work to address the factors that underpin this culture of violence and openly discuss how the intersection of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia work to deprive transgender and gender non-conforming people of equal access to opportunity and necessities like employment, housing and health care.”

The new total, which the HRC suspects is an underestimate, surpasses the 27 reported killings of trans people in all of 2019, 26 reported killings in 2018, 29 in 2017, 23 in 2016, 21 in 2015, 20 in 2014 and 19 in 2013.

“We mourn the individuals we have lost this year while remembering them for who they were: our partners, family members, friends and community members,” David continued.

“Not one of the 31 lives we have lost this year, or the 196 we have lost since 2013, deserved to have their lives or their futures taken from them.”

The coroner has ruled Harris’s death as a homicide but no suspects have been identified yet. She is remembered as a talented interior decorator who ran her own company, where she enjoyed lending her eye to improve the surroundings of others, and made others feel comfortable in their own space.

She said she could do “just about anything with decorating,” which she learned from her late grandmother.

Friends paid tribute to her “laugh. The smile – the smiles. The talks. The arguments. The attitudes. Everybody is going to remember who Felycya Harris is.”

Related topics: Human Rights Campaign, trans murders

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