FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jackson, Miss. - The ACLU of Mississippi is troubled by the murder of yet another Black transgender woman, Dominique Jackson. Jackson was found in a car, shot to death on January 25th. While police have not named a suspect, Ms. Jackson’s death highlights the need for legislators to expand Mississippi’s hate crime law to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories.
The current bill which addresses this issue, HB 353, has yet to be taken up by the House Judiciary B Committee, despite its bipartisan support. The ACLU of Mississippi is calling on lawmakers to take action.
Murders of trans people is an epidemic in this country. At least forty-four transgender people were killed in the United States last year, the majority being Black transgender women. We say “at least” because too often these stories go unreported or misreported. Additionally, Black transgender women are more likely to be physically attacked than any other segment of the trans community.
“Black transgender women stand in an intersection where violence disproportionately targets them. Expansion of hate crime laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity would be a crucial tool in securing justice for these victims and survivors,” Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens said.
Twenty-three states currently have hate crime laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Enacting hate crime laws, but not including all commonly targeted groups, creates a hierarchy of ‘legitimate’ victims. Dominique Jackson is a legitimate victim.