Two Trans Women, Ciara McElveen and Chyna Doll Dupree, Killed Within a Matter of Days in New Orleans

Yesterday, Ciara McElveen, a transgender woman of color, was stabbed to death in New Orleans. Her tragic death comes after Chyna Doll Dupree, a Black transgender woman, was killed following the sound of gunshots on Saturday night.

According to Mic.com, McElveen did outreach for the homeless community. She was only 26 years old.

Syria Sinclaire, a local transgender advocate and friend of McElveen, said of the tragedy, “[t]rans women don’t want any special privileges. We should have the right to live our lives open and free and not be taunted and traumatized by the general public if they don’t approve.”

While police told The Times-Picayune there was “no reason to believe they were connected,” the murders are part of a tragic epidemic of violence against transgender women of color. Already in 2017, six transgender women of color have been killed.

The details of these cases differ, but it is clear that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to systemically deprive the transgender women of color of opportunities like employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities. These barriers make transgender women of color especially vulnerable.

Including McElveen’s death, HRC has tracked at least nine murders of transgender people in Louisiana since 2013. Four took place in New Orleans: besides McElveen and Dupree, trans woman Goddess Diamond was murdered in June of 2016, and Penny Proud was shot to death in February of 2015. None of the New Orleans murders have been solved.

In 2016, advocates tracked at least 22 deaths of transgender people in the U.S. due to fatal violence, the most ever recorded. 

HRC extends condolences to McElveen’s family, friends and community.

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Nearly 800 Parents of Trans Children Sign HRC’s Letter Condemning Trump Administration

Today, in response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement that it will no longer challenge a nationwide hold on protections for transgender students, nearly 800 parents of transgender children sent a letter to President Donald Trump condemning the decision and calling on his administration to fully enforce federal civil rights laws. The letter, signed by parents from 45 states plus Washington, D.C., was organized by HRC and its newly formed Parents for Transgender Equality Council, a coalition of the nation’s leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people.

“Just 48 hours after the confirmation of his anti-equality attorney general, Donald Trump’s administration directly attacked LGBTQ equality and took aim at the rights of transgender youth,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This disgraceful action exposes transgender students to harassment and discrimination and emboldens bullies from classrooms to state legislatures. These 781 courageous parents are asking that the federal government protect their children at school, something that all families deserve. We stand with these parents and urge President Trump and Attorney General Sessions to listen to families across the country demanding basic fairness and respect for every child.”

In his first days as Trump’s Attorney General, Sessions withdrew a request to halt an order against the Obama administration’s protections for transgender students. The 781 parents, representing the thousands of families of transgender children across the country, write, “No young person should wake up in the morning fearful of the school day ahead. When this guidance was issued last year, it provided our families — and other families like our own across the country — with the knowledge and security that our government was determined to protect our children from bullying and discrimination. Please do not take that away from us.”

In 2016, the Obama Administration’s Departments of Justice and Education issued comprehensive guidance to ensure that transgender students were being treated fairly and with dignity in public and federally-funded schools, including having equal access to sex-segregated facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms, that are consistent with their gender identity.  Thirteen anti-equality state attorneys general, led by the notoriously hateful Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, filed suit challenging the guidance. After a Texas federal judge issued a nationwide hold on enforcement of the guidance, the Obama Administration responded by requesting the court limit the hold to the 13 states filing suit.

On Friday night, just 48 hours after Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General and a day after being sworn in, the Department of Justice rescinded the Obama Administration’s challenge, allowing the nationwide hold to continue. Despite this action, transgender students facing discrimination can still file suit under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Transgender young people face significant discrimination and bullying throughout our nation’s schools. Last year, North Carolina adopted the infamous HB2, legislation that required discrimination against transgender people, including in public schools. Several states, including Texas, are currently considering similar bills. Seventy-five percent of transgender students report feeling unsafe in school, and, tragically, more than 50 percent of transgender youth report attempting suicide at least once in their lifetime.

To read the full letter, visit hrc.im/ParentsUnite.

Want to send your very own message to the Trump Administration? Take action with HRC today!

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HRC Honors Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, HRC will commemorate pioneers who made significant strides towards equal rights for women and the LGBTQ community.

During these uncertain times, this month serves as a poignant reminder that when women stand up against the status quo, the resistance can lead to monumental change in society.

The contributions made by lesbian, bisexual, transgender women such as Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Gov. Kate Brown, Laverne Cox, Ellen DeGeneres, Lili Elbe, Martha P. Johnson, Billie Jean King, Janet Mock, Geena Rocero, Alice Walker and Edith Windsor will leave an indelible mark on our efforts toward achieving full LGBTQ equality.

Just as essential to the fight for equal rights are LGBTQ allies including Sen. Kamala Harris, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dolores Huerta, Janelle Monae, Meryl Streep and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. They have made it their mission to speak up and advocate for a more just nation.

The Women’s March, which HRC was proud to sponsor, demonstrated what happens when a government tries to roll back the basic human rights of women, minorities and the LGBTQ community. Progressive partners from around the country locked arms in the name of fairness, equality and justice. Millions let their voices be heard, and have been turning that energy into sustained political action.

Stay tuned as HRC honors Women’s History Month and renews our commitment to making the world a better place for girls and women everywhere.

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