The Media’s ‘Climate of Hate’ Myth

Who is murdering transgender people and why does it matter?

After 24-year-old De’janay Lenorra Stanton was found fatally wounded last August on the South Side of Chicago, the story received nationwide attention. This was not because homicide is rare in Chicago, where 589 people were murdered in 2018, nor was the method of Stanton’s death — a single gunshot to the head — newsworthy in a city notorious for armed violence. Rather, what made this crime a subject of national attention was a matter of identity and presumed motive. Stanton’s murder highlighted “the urgent need to address the epidemic of violence against the transgender community across the U.S.,” declared Helen Parshall of the LGBT activist group Human Rights Campaign. “Stanton’s death marks the 18th known killing of a transgender or non-binary person this year,” Parshall wrote, bemoaning “this tragic epidemic” of anti-transgender violence.