Twenty years ago, two men brutally beat and tortured Matthew Shepard, a 21 year old gay college student in Laramie, Wyoming. Shepard died six days later — on October 12th, 1998.
But it took until 2009 for President Barack Obama to sign the Matthew Shepard Act, which updated the federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
But a law on the books doesn’t mean people are actually protected. Some states still haven’t expanded their own hate crime language and people in the transgender community say they feel especially vulnerable.
As transgender people in the U.S. gain more visibility, they also face increasing discrimination, harassment and violence.
Over the last five years, violence against this community has been on the rise — and 2018 is shaping up to be among the deadliest on record. So far, at least 22 transgender women have been murdered, most of them women of color, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Armani Gucci, 20, is an executive board member of Trans Student Educational Resources, and she tells us of her experience as a trans woman of color.
Sarah McBride, a transgender activist and the National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign joins The Takeaway to discuss the broader questions regarding attacks on trans people.
Lucas Waldron is a reporter at ProPublica who has been keeping track of homicides of trans people throughout the country. He also joins The Takeaway to discuss how misgendering and using trans victims' incorrect names is detrimental for investigations.