45-year-old Sherrell Faulkner died on Tuesday from injuries received in an attack in November in Charlotte, North Carolina. After the assault, Faulkner was found behind a dumpster and taken to the hospital for treatment.
Police haven’t arrested anyone in connection to the case, though they are now investigating Faulkner’s death as a homicide.
North Carolina’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, Equality NC, released a statement about Faulkner’s death on their website.
“Our hearts are heavy with the news of the death of Sherrell Faulkner,” Ames Simmons, director of transgender policy at Equality NC, wrote. “We are facing a national epidemic of violence with eleven trans people, many of them transgender people of color, murdered in 2017. We are asking leaders and community members at every level to consider both the overt and underlying reasons for these killings. We must address the root causes of violence against our community, and we cannot rest until the violence stops.”
In 2016, advocates tracked at 27 deaths of transgender people in the United States due to fatal violence, the most ever recorded. These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners and strangers, some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified.
Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias. In others, the victim’s transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, such as forcing them into homelessness.
While the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable.
At least 11 transgender people have been fatally shot or killed by other violent means so far in 2017.