Biden acknowledges and mourns dozens killed in ‘deadliest year on record for transgender Americans’

joe biden
President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Saturday, November 6, 2021.
  • President Joe Biden in a statement Saturday mourned the deaths of trans people killed in violent acts.
  • Biden noted that 2021 has so far been the "deadliest year on record for transgender Americans." 
  • The president during his first year in office has reversed several anti-trans policies enacted in the Trump administration. 

President Joe Biden in a statement Saturday acknowledged the deaths of the transgender people in the US who have recently been killed, noting the past year has been the "deadliest year on record for transgender Americans." 

"This year, at least 46 transgender individuals in this country—and hundreds more around the world—were killed in horrifying acts of violence," the president said in a statement Saturday, which marked the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. "Each of these lives was precious. Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy."

The Human Rights Campaign, which tracks the deaths of trans people said at least 47 trans or gender-non-conforming people have died in the US after being "fatally shot or killed by other violent means" so far this year. The number has eclipsed the 44 violent deaths recorded by HRC in 2020, which was the highest year on record since it started tracking trans deaths in 2013.

"In spite of our progress strengthening civil rights for LGBTQI+ Americans, too many transgender people still live in fear and face systemic barriers to freedom and equality," Biden added. 

Since he assumed office in January this year, Biden has taken steps to reverse the policies made during the Trump administration that targeted transgender people. Days after taking office, Biden reversed a memo issued during the Trump administration that effectively banned transgender people from serving in the US military. 

"It's simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride," Biden said in a tweet at the time.

In February, the Biden administration halted the implementation of a Trump-era Department of Health and Human Services policy that "would've permitted discrimination against LGBTQ people, religious minorities and women in programs related to foster care, adoption, HIV and STI prevention, youth homelessness, refugee resettlement, elder care programs and more," according to HRC.

Biden has also supported the passage of the Equality Act, which would expand protections given to LGBTQ+ people. The bill passed the House in February but stalled in the Senate. He also this year nominated Dr. Rachel Levine as the assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health & Human Services, making her the highest-ranking openly trans person to serve in the federal government.

In September, Biden announced a new policy that said health care providers that received federal funding could not discriminate against gay and trans people, The New York Times reported, reversing a Trump-era policy.

On Saturday, Biden said he "charged my team with coordinating across the federal government to address the epidemic of violence and advance equality for transgender people." He also called on state leaders to address anti-trans legislation on the state level, which surged in state legislatures earlier this year.

"Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know," Biden said Saturday. "But no person should have to be brave just to live in safety and dignity. Today, we remember. Tomorrow—and every day—we must continue to act."

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