Nov. 20 (UPI) -- At least 33 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been slain in the United States during the past 12 months in a "epidemic" of violence, human rights advocates said Monday.
The latest killings raised the U.S. total of such deaths in to 335 since 2013, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation said in a new report titled, "The Epidemic of Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in the United States: The 2023 Report."
The statistics were released on Transgender Day of Remembrance 2023 to call attention to the victims on the same day that President Joe Biden vowed to "protect the safety of transgender and all LGBTQI+ Americans."
Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said the report found that of the latest 33 victims, 91% were people of color, nearly 70% were transgender women and more than 60% were Black transgender women.
"The epidemic of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people is a national tragedy and a national embarrassment," Robinson said in a statement. "Each of the lives taken is the result of a society that demeans and devalues anyone who dares challenge the gender binary."
She cited state laws introduced across the nation banning gender-affirming healthcare and other measures affecting transgender and non-binary people as a prime factor in rising levels of violence.
The American Civil Liberties Union says it has tracked more than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills in state Legislatures across the United States during the 2023 session, of which 84 have so far been passed into law. The situation prompted the Human Rights Campaign to declare a National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans this year for the first time in its 40-year history.
"Even before the horrific Club Q shooting last November, we've seen bomb threats directed at schools, hospitals and libraries simply for supporting transgender and non-binary people," Robinson said. "Each of these grotesque actions serves to increase stigma and create a hostile environment that endangers the lives of anyone outside the gender binary."
Biden, meanwhile, issued a statement marking Transgender Day of Remembrance and declaring, "There is no place for hate in America and no one should be discriminated against simply for being themselves."
Calling each of the deaths "a tragedy," the president noted to majority of victims were women of color.
"It's unacceptable and it's why my administration has taken action to strengthen the rights, and protect the safety of transgender and all LGBTQI+ Americans," he said, citing steps taken by the White House this year to protect those communities from attack.
The measures include the launching of the LGBTQ Community Safety Partnership, in which the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services are working with community groups to provide safety training and share federal threat briefings.
"We must never be silent in the face of hate," Biden said. "As we mourn the loss of transgender Americans taken too soon this year, we must also recommit ourselves to never stop fighting until all Americans can live free from discrimination."