The murder of 21-year-old Kiér Laprí Kartier in Texas not only marks the fifth trans life taken in Texas this year, but it puts 2021 on track for beating last year’s murder numbers as the deadliest year in the U.S. for trans people.
Kartier was found in her car last Thursday with a gunshot wound. She was transported to the local Arlington Memorial Hospital, where she later died. Police have not determined a motive or identified suspects, or whether Kartier was murdered because of her gender identity, which is not a protected class under Texas’ hate crimes legislation.
According to Equality Texas, 18 transgender individuals were murdered in Texas in 2020, and Kartier joins four other women of color murdered in 2021: Iris Santos, 22; Tiffany Thomas, 38; Aidelen Evans, 34; and Miss Coco, 44. All but Santos, a Latina trans woman, were Black, according to Them.
This year, 38 transgender Americans have died as a result of violence against them. Last year, the number was 44—the majority of which were Black trans women.
“The epidemic of violence plaguing the transgender community, particularly Black transgender women, is appalling,” Tori Cooper said after the death of Disaya Monaee, a 32-year-old Black transgender woman who was fatally shot in Chicago, Illinois, on Sept. 6.
Cooper is the director of the community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Transgender Justice Initiative. She explains that the violence against trans women is “often the result of a toxic combination of transphobia, racism, and misogyny. We must do more to protect trans lives and provide resources to support the trans community.”
Monaee’s death is the third in Chicago, but there could be more, because too often these deaths go unreported—or misreported, according to HRC.
According to Insider’s Transgender Homicide Project, a database designed to give up-to-date accounts of trans homicides in the U.S., there’s been a steady rise in attacks specifically against Black trans people in the South and in Puerto Rico, with guns as the primary weapon.
"I'm not convinced we're anywhere near a nadir of the kinds of acts and stigma and discrimination that lead to the violence that we've been talking about," Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, a spokesperson for the American Medical Association, told Insider.
HRC estimates that trans women are 4.3 times more likely to become homicide victims than cisgender women. The average person in the U.S. has about a one in 18,000 chance of being a victim of homicide.
Naomi Green, a trans activist in Texas, told Them that for her, the pattern sends a spine-chilling message that “being trans means being more deserving to die.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misstated rates of murder among transgender women. That number has been corrected.