The nationwide spate of deadly attacks against Black trans women has reached crisis levels after Cameron Breon‘s killing this weekend added to this year’s already very high violent death toll for the LGBTQ community. Killings of Black trans women, in particular, have surged in 2020.
Breon was shot in Broward County Friday night and the shooter still had not been apprehended as of Sunday morning, according to local news outlet WPBF. The 27-year-old was at least the sixth Black trans woman killed in the past week and at least the 19th transgender or gender-non-conforming person killed this year, according to statistics that may already be out of date. The Miami Herald identified Breon as Bree Black.
Breon’s killing followed those of two Black trans women in Louisiana — Draya McCarty of Hammond and Shakie Peters of Denham Springs. McCarty was found dead in Baton Rouge, although police, as of Sunday morning, had not ruled her death a homicide, according to the Louisiana Trans Advocates website. But Peters’ death was being investigated as a homicide. Louisiana Trans Advocates reported their deaths were “the 19th and 20th reported murders of trans people in the U.S. since the beginning of 2020,” which would make Breon’s killing the 21st.
Despite efforts to increase awareness of violence against the LGBTQ community, it has not only continued but it has flourished. On June 14, thousands of people in cities across the U.S. rallied and marched for Black Trans Lives. The march was held in the wake of two trans women, Dominque “Rem’mie” Fellsand Riah Milton, having recently been brutally killed over the course of the week.
Just before their deaths, Tony McDade, a Black trans man, was killed by the Tallahassee police back in May, and not too long before this, a Black trans woman, Nina Pop, was stabbed to death in Sikeston, Missouri.
In addition, the Human Rights Campaign reported the June 30 killing of Merci Mack, a Black trans woman in Dallas. That followed brutal video footage on social media showing a Black transgender woman named Iyanna Dior getting beaten by a group of Black men in Minnesota.
Black trans people continue to face significant barriers, which lead to violence against them. For example, according to a Human Rights Campaign report, Black transgender people have double the unemployment rate of all transgender people and they have four times that of the U.S. general population. Forty-one percent of Black transgender also report experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives, which is more than five times the rate of the general U.S. population.
Many transgender people also have to engage in sex work for survival and at least 1 in 3 victims of anti-trans fatal violence since 2013 reportedly engaged in sex work. Fifty-four percent of transgender people report having experienced some type of intimate partner violence. In 2020 alone there have been 14 reported murders of trans and gender non-conforming people, according to the Human Rights Campaign. This number is most likely undercounted because of law enforcement and media sources misgendering certain victims.