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ACLU Renews Call for Legal Protections for Transgender People Following Attacks

POST BY Jay Kaplan Nancy Katz & Margo Dichtelmiller LGBT Legal Project Staff Attorney

In the wake of two recent attacks against transgender women in Detroit, the ACLU of Michigan is again calling on legislators to update state civil-rights protections and hate-crime laws to include safeguards for gender identity and sexual orientation. Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan LGBT Project, issued the following statement today:

"We are both grief-stricken and outraged over separate shooting incidents, one of them fatal, involving two transgender women of color in the City of Detroit in the past week.

On the morning of August 8, 20-year-old Amber Monroe, a student at Wayne State University, was shot and killed in the Palmer Park area. Three days later, on August 11, an unidentified transgender woman of color was also shot in the city. She is currently recovering from her injuries.

Amber’s death makes her the 13th transgender person reported killed this year, according to the National LGBTQ Taskforce. In 2014, four trans women of color were killed in Detroit, including three in the Palmer Park location.

We want the killings to end and for justice to be served.

But true justice extends beyond finding the perpetrators of these horrible crimes. With this in mind, we also are calling on our state legislators to amend Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation Law to include gender identity and sexual orientation. We also urge our leaders to update our state civil-rights laws to protect transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

And in a nation where a quarter of trans women experience violence and where 25 percent are forced to live on less than $10,000 a year, we need more programs that educate Michiganders on what it means to be transgender and how to work to assure the dignity and safety of all transgender people."

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