Is Violence Against Trans People an Epidemic?

By Joshua Weigert
March 16th, 2021

In a new article published by NBC News, they claim in a headline that “anti-trans violence surges.” The byline continues by saying that trans murders have increased 266% from this time last year (1).

266% is a significant jump.

Then you read the article and find out that the 266% jump is from 3 trans people being murdered to 11 people.

The 266% was purposely thrown in the byline to make an issue more severe than it really is.

Yes, violence is wrong. Trans people shouldn’t be killed and should get the help they need. 

However, let’s not pretend trans people are being murdered on the street left, right, and center. 

It’s not even clear that these trans people were murdered BECAUSE they are trans. I mean, very few murders are as a result of random attacks of hate towards a group. Usually, the victim knows the murderer, and there’s some catalyst that isn’t as simple as a difference in skin color or gender or, in this case, being trans.

In our modern-day, we see more and more people identifying as LGBTQ+. According to NBC News, 1 in 6 members of Gen Z identifies as something other than straight (2).

With such an increase in the pool of LGBTQ+ people, isn’t it logical to see the rise in violence towards LGBTQ+ people? This rise in violence does not equate to a “war on trans people” but instead a “war on America’s soul.” 

But that’s an article for another day. 

Unfortunately, it hasn’t stopped advocacy groups and Leftist mainstream media groups from declaring an “epidemic.” Using rhetoric like this incites knee-jerk reactions and policy changes based on feelings instead of facts. If you were to google phrases similar to “trans murders”, etc., you would find results like the ones below.

Let us look at the actual statistics and data. 

According to the Williams Institute, 1.4 million Americans identify as transgender (3). If 11 trans people were murdered in the first 3 months of 2021, and are to extrapolate this trend for the rest of 2021, that would mean 44 trans people would be murdered in 2021. Using the numbers provided, the trans yearly murder rate is about 3 murders per 100,000 people. According to the New York Times, the general murder rate is about 5 murders per 100,000 people.

The trans murder rate is lower than the general murder rate. This isn’t looking like an epidemic because trans people are less likely to be murdered than the general population. 

The subsequent narrative that is pushed is that race is a motivating factor for the deaths of trans people. This narrative is untrue. 

According to The Federalist writer Chad Felix Greene:

“Of the 118 listed cases from 2015 to 2019, 52 have known murderers. The above chart reveals that the racial identity of the victim and the murderer seem entirely irrelevant to the murder motivation,” writes Greene.

“While 67 percent of the victims are indeed black, and the majority are trans women, as reported, the majority of their killers are black as well. This is true for white victims and a single Native American victim who was murdered by a Native American killer. In the 2016 case of Brandi Bledsoe, the murderers were both black and white and were also trans women.” (5)

We need to move beyond emotional arguments and into the realm of facts. The fact is, there is no epidemic of violence towards trans people.