HRC mourns Sophie Vásquez, Latina transgender lady killed in Georgia

HRC recorded 44 transgender and gender-abuse deaths in 2020, more than any other year since we started tracking this violence in 2013.

The Brookhaven Homicide Department is currently investigating Sophie’s death. Anyone with information can contact her at 404-637-0616.

More than 10,000 hate crimes in the US involve one firearm each year, which is more than 28 per day. This emerges from a 2020 report by HRC, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, Giffords Law Center and Equality Florida titled “Remembering and Honoring Pulse”: Anti-LGBTQ prejudice and guns live on countless LGBTQ people. “The report also notes a significant increase in hate crimes against LGBTQ people, particularly against transgender people. According to the 2017-2019 Transgender Homicide Tracker, three-quarters of the confirmed murders of transgender people have a gun and nearly eight in ten murders of black trans women have a gun. Additionally, in 2019, proponents saw anti-LGBTQ hate group formation rise 43%.

In an injustice that made this tragedy worse, Sophie was mistreated and misnamed in some early police reports. The anti-transgender stigma is exacerbated by persistent or disrespectful treatment by some in the media, law enforcement and elected offices. According to HRC research, an estimated three quarters of all known victims were ill-treated by the media and / or law enforcement agencies. In order to achieve greater accuracy and respect, HRC offers guidelines for journalists and others who report on transgender people. HRC, Media Matters and the Trans Journalists Association have also teamed up on an FAQ for reporters writing about anti-trans violence.

At the state level, transgender and sexually abusive people in Georgia are not explicitly protected by state laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education and in public spaces. While Georgia passed a hate crime law that includes sexual orientation in June 2020, the law does not explicitly cover gender identity. While there have been some gains in the past few weeks that support and validate transgender people, we are also currently facing attacks against LGBTQ at many levels of government. More than 250 LGBTQ bills are under review in state legislatures across the country, more than 120 of them targeting directly transgender people. Last week 2021 set a record as the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent history.

We need to make better demands of our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender laws at local, state and federal levels, while considering all possible ways to end this violence. It is clear that lethal violence disproportionately affects many colored transgender women, especially black transgender women. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of the need to live and thrive. Therefore, we must all work together to promote acceptance, reject hatred and end stigma for everyone in the transgender and gender-violating community.

To work towards this goal and combat stigma against transgender and non-binary people, HRC partnered with WarnerMedia on a PSA campaign to raise their voices and stories. Find out more here and take a look at the PSAs.

HRC also launched the “Count Me In” campaign to encourage everyone, LGBTQ people and allies, to get loud, be visible and raise awareness about transgender and non-binary people. The more people show that they care, including allies and trans and non-binary people who stand up for the most marginalized people in our community, the more hearts and minds we will change. Learn more and take action at

For more information on HRC’s transgender justice system, please visit