Members of Congress established a task force Friday to shine a spotlight on anti-transgender violence and the victims it claims, Time reported. The House LGBT Equality Caucus, in a show of solidarity ahead of national Transgender Day of Remembrance Nov. 20, said it will hold the first congressional forum on violence against trans people Tuesday afternoon. It also will use the task force to develop legislation breaking down barriers the trans community faces.
The task force will be led by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., whose granddaughter is transgender. In a statement Friday, Honda called upon lawmakers to address the “epidemic of violence” surrounding transgender people, as well as other issues such as lack of family support, harassment and workplace discrimination.
“As we seek to raise awareness of the issues facing the trans community, it is important to renew our commitment to help trans individuals be free of the fear of violence or bullying just for being who they are,” Honda said.
A number of congressional caucus members in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are slotted to speak at the congressional forum Tuesday afternoon, along with Diego Sanchez, the first openly transgender senior hill staff member.
A newly updated report by the Human Rights Campaign released Friday reveals that the number of transgender homicide victims in the U.S. has hit a historic high, with 21 documented so far this year, the Guardian reported. Most of the victims were transgender women of color, but the rate is likely an underestimate since such homicides are difficult to track. According to HRC President Chad Griffin, transgender women are more than four times as likely to be murdered in the U.S. as other women.
“Imagine fearing for your life every day," he said. "That nightmare is a reality for far too many transgender women -- a nightmare that deserves national attention."