Amid a surge in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes since Trump took office, a national trans advocacy group has reportedly received a series of bomb threats.
According to a report published in the Washington Post, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) received three bomb threats in a 24-hour period in December. In one instance, the assailant threatened to “rid the earth of scum and garbage like you.”
The Post does not state whether the nonprofit, which is headquartered in Washington D.C., has been threatened since.
The incidents, however, are just the tip of the iceberg for the LGBTQ+ community in America’s capital. Over the past year, a record 204 hate crimes have been reported in the D.C. area, a nearly 15 percent increase over the year prior. Those reports resulted in 59 arrests, which was also a record number, but the number of prosections has dropped from recent years.
According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino, Washington, D.C. has the highest hate crime rate per capita of any major metropolitan area in the United States.
Specific incidents of violence and harassment against transgender people over the year surveyed by the Washington Post were particularly shocking. The paper reports that trans residents of the Beltway “were pistol-whipped and spit upon, attacked while taking out the trash and visiting the library.”
In one case, a trans woman staying at a homeless shelter found a death threat in her locker. “Bitch this [sic] women’s shelter,” it warned. “Leave before we kill you faggot [sic].”
Across the country, transgender women — particularly women of color — are more likely than any other group of people to be victims of a hate crime. This year at least 15 trans women of color have been killed, most recently Houston resident Tracy Single. Her body was discovered at a gas station on July 30, making her the 16th trans person killed in 2019 overall.
Gillian Branstetter, media relations manager for NCTE, urged people to focus on the wider context of anti-trans violence, rather than the specific attacks on her organization.
“While I recognize the relative newsworthiness of threats against a national organization, we are far more concerned — and would urge reporters to be far more concerned — with the epidemic of violence impacting transgender people who do not have the privilege of a public profile and institutional capacity,” Branstetter told the Washington Blade in a statement.