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It’s been another deadly year for the trans community

Hate-fueled brutality continues to devastate families and tragically end trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming lives.

A trans rights protester at a rally in Frankfort, Ky., in March.Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press

In his statement on Transgender Day of Remembrance last month, President Biden said, “There is no place for hate in America and no one should be discriminated against simply for being themselves” and “We are reminded that there is more to do to meet that promise, as we grieve the 26 transgender Americans whose lives were taken this year. While each one of these deaths is a tragedy — the true toll of those victimized is likely even higher, with the majority of those targeted being women of color.”

For the third time during Biden’s presidency, he recognized Nov. 20, which began in 1999 as a day to honor trans people lost to violence. Yet even with a long second paragraph, it was his shortest statement yet. In 2021, it was 250 words; in 2022, 264. This year, Biden’s statement was only 208 words. It’s as if he and his writers couldn’t think of anything they haven’t said before about the unchecked brutality that continues to roil communities, devastate families, partners, and friends, and end trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming lives.


Especially for Black trans women who, as Biden said, are most likely to be victimized.

All that changes are the numbers of those killed, and even those numbers aren’t definitive. In death, trans victims are routinely misgendered or “deadnamed” — identified by a birth name they no longer use — by law enforcement, the media, or family members. That means the roll call of the dead is inevitably and heartbreakingly longer.

In what has become for me a sad but necessary ritual each December, I will share their names and a bit about their brief lives for the remainder of my Sunday columns this year.

Jasmine “Star” Mack, 36, on Jan. 7 in Washington, D.C.: It was hard not to notice Mack, who stood 6-foot-5, when she walked into a room. And, friends recalled, if you didn’t see her, you certainly heard her. She was rambunctious and spirited and loved to sing. “She just wanted to be herself. She was a sweet person,” Pamela Witherspoon, Mack’s sister, told The Washington Post. “She was not mean. She just wanted a chance at life.”


KC Johnson, 27, on Jan. 13 in Wilmington, N.C.: A fan of anime and manga, Johnson enjoyed sharing her drawings of characters from her favorite shows, including the wildly popular “Demon Slayer” and “Naruto.” Her partner, Bulla Brodzinski, remembered Johnson as the person who “motivated me to get out of a dark place and get my life back together. . . . She was the one I could open up to.”

Manuel Páez Terán, 26, on Jan. 18 in Atlanta: Known as “Tortuguita,” Terán, who identified as nonbinary and used they/them pronouns, was about empathy and action. Where people were in need, Terán would find their way there. And where there was injustice, Terán would protest against it. They were killed by Georgia State Police during a peaceful protest in an Atlanta forest, the proposed site of an 85-acre police training facility, colloquially known as “Cop City.”

Maria Jose Rivera Rivera, 22, on Jan. 21 in Houston: Cristian Sánchez, Rivera’s friend and immigration attorney, told Human Rights Campaign that Rivera, a Salvadoran immigrant, was “a joy to work with. I always looked forward to speaking with her. She was lively, funny, and dynamic. My heart hurts from her loss.” Transgender immigrants, he said, “suffer two levels of oppression and marginalization from society. This makes them especially vulnerable to harm.”


Unique Banks, 21, on Jan. 23 in Chicago: Before he would say goodbye to his daughter, Unique, Omar Burgos would always tell her, “Try to do good. Stay out of trouble. Be careful with the friends you choose.” He wanted her to leave Chicago and live with him in Florida. After her death, Burgos told a Chicago TV station, “I still can’t believe it, just to know that I’m not going to see [Unique] anymore.”

Zachee Imanitwitaho, 26, on Feb. 3 in Louisville, Ky.: Zachee came to America from Rwanda in 2019. Her friends and colleagues at the Kentucky meat plant where she worked said Zachee, who always had “a big smile,” loved fashion and was thrilled to start a new life with her mother, who also moved with her.

Cashay Henderson, 31, on Feb. 25, in Milwaukee: At a vigil, Henderson’s friends and family focused beyond their grief to celebrate a woman who gave them so much joy. On a GoFundMe page, Veronica Beck described her cousin as “a bubbly spirit with a down to earth, tell it like it is personality.” She was, Beck said, “as beautiful as can be, inside and out.”


Renée Graham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at renee.graham@globe.com. Follow her @reneeygraham.