Taya Ashton, a 20-year-old black trans woman, is the 31st known trans person to have been violently killed in the US this year after she was shot to death in Maryland on July 17. According to a statement from local police, Ashton was found inside her apartment with a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene. So far, there is no evidence to suggest that her murder was a hate crime, but it is still being investigated as “a possibility”.
Following her death, Lindsey Clark, the Human Rights Campaign’s associate director of the Transgender Justice Initiative, said: “Taya was just at the beginning of her life — a life that she deserved to live to its fullest. Black transgender women continue to be killed in this country, and this violence is unacceptable…We must end the stigma and violence that all transgender and gender non-conforming people face.”
In 2020, 44 trans and gender non-conforming people were violently killed in the US, making it the deadliest year on record for trans Americans. A total of 350 trans people were killed globally, the majority of whom were murdered in Brazil, Mexico and the US. Black trans women were, and continue to be, disproportionately affected by violence.