‘My people are dying’: Transgender woman fears for her safety amid rise in trans homicides nationwide in 2020

Trans women of color make up 4 in 5 of all transgender homicides nationwide

SAN ANTONIOD.D. Decor, a Black transgender woman, is worried her community is reaching a grim milestone. Around the nation, the transgender community has seen a higher number of murders in 2020, with the majority of victims being minorities.

“My people are dying. Where does the hatred stop?” Decor said.

Decor says she has encountered discrimination and violence most of her life and believes it’s an uphill battle for all trans people of color.

“Where do we go as people to be able to find sanctuary?” Decor asked.

The Human Rights Campaign has been tracking transgender violence since 2013. The organization says trans women of color are at a greater risk. They make up 4 in 5 of all transgender homicides nationwide.

This year, 41 transgender or gender non-conforming people were fatally shot or violently killed across the country. That’s up from 25 people in 2019.

Julian Tovar, an ambassador with the Human Rights Campaign of South Texas, said two trans women were murdered in San Antonio in the last two years.

“The number one -- the number two is one death too many in the transgender community,” he said.

San Antonio police told kSAT their Homicide Unit does not specifically track murders of transgender people. Tovar says he believes marginalized communities should not go unaccounted for.

“It’s a huge opportunity to close that gap,” he said.

In 2017, Kenne McFadden a black-trans woman, drowned after being pushed in the San Antonio Riverwalk.

The Bexar County Medical examiner ruled McFadden’s death as a homicide. Decor said McFadden was like a sister to her.

“Now she’s gone because of hate,” she said.

Decor said she was heartbroken and is fearful that any day could be her last.

“Is today when I walk outside my door -- is this gonna be the last time I get to kiss my mom,” Decor said.

However, she says she does not allow fear to control her life and hopes others know they aren’t alone.

“You’re not drowning; you’re not alone. People aren’t just going to look past you,” Decor said.

About the Authors:

Steven Cavazos is a traffic anchor and general assignments reporter in the weekday mornings at KSAT 12.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.