Activists speak out against uptick in hate crimes against transgender community

Two days before International Transgender Day of Visibility, leaders and activists throughout Philadelphia spoke out against the uptick in hate crimes against the transgender community.

Video Transcript

- --is known around the world as the International Transgender Day of Visibility. It's a moment to see a population that for so long has been forced to live in the shadows. As Action News community journalist Ashley Johnson shows us, it comes at a very critical time.

- For far too long--

ASHLEY JOHNSON: Two days before International Transgender Day of Visibility, leaders and activists throughout Philadelphia are speaking out against the uptick in hate crimes against the transgender community.

KENDALL STEPHENS: It means to me that the transgender population will finally get the support that we need from city officials that we really haven't gotten historically.

ASHLEY JOHNSON: Two weeks ago, Philadelphia police charged 45-year-old Robert Easley in sexually assaulting and stabbing a transgender woman inside her Germantown home.

KENDALL STEPHENS: Absolutely traumatizing.

ASHLEY JOHNSON: It strikes a nerve with Kendall Stephens, a LGBTQ activist and transwoman. She continues to live on edge after being attacked in her home in August in front of her two godchildren who live with her.

KENDALL STEPHENS: What's sad is that I am a productive member of this community. I am a student. I am a godmother. I am a neighbor. And for someone to just judge me and hate me--

ASHLEY JOHNSON: Still on the minds of many is Tracy Mia Green, a trans woman shot to death in September, and Dominique Rem'mie Fells, a trans woman whose dismembered body was found in the Schuykill River. The district attorney's office says it's working in collaboration with Lena Morrison, the city's director of LGBT affairs. They say in the works is a pipeline for victims to access resources for things including therapy, housing, and transportation.

- We're talking about, like, breaking down a lot of [? silence. ?]

KELLY BURKHARDT: If any of us are suffering, no one of us is free.

ASHLEY JOHNSON: Violence against the transgender community continues to be a growing problem. In 2019, according to the Human Rights Council, 26 members of the community were killed nationwide. 91% were Black women. In Center City, Ashley Johnson, Channel 6 Action News.