The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also denounced the violence in Missouri, where 10 LGBTQ people have been murdered
Joe Biden condemned violence against transgender people, referring to murders perpetrated in Puerto Rico and Missouri.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee denounced “the rising violence against transgender people of color” on Twitter, claiming “it’s our moral obligation to end this epidemic, and ensure everyone can live open and proud and free from fear.”
In the past 15 months, 10 LGBTQ people have been murdered in Puerto Rico. Five of them were trans people, killed in the past two months alone.
RELATED: Trans People Are Being Hunted In Puerto Rico. It’s About Damn Time To Do Something To Stop It.
The latest victims of this crime wave were Serena Velázquez, 32, and Layla Peláez, 21, two trans women burned to death on April 22. Two young men were arrested as suspects on April 29.
Activist Pedro Julio Serrano demanded this case be classified as a hate crime and asked that the other murders of LGBTQ people be clarified.
None of the cases involving these deaths were processed as hate crimes in Puerto Rico, and 13 remain unsolved. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) assumed the jurisdiction of Serena and Layla’s murder case because carjacking was involved. The FBI further deemed the case a hate crime, the first LGBTQ murders in Puerto Rico to receive such a classification.
Now the defendants will face a federal process and are eligible for the death penalty.
RELATED: Why The Murder of Serena Velázquez and Layla Peláez Is First Official Hate Crime in Puerto Rico
In related news, a black transgender woman Nina Pop was stabbed to death on May 3 in Sikeston, Missouri.
The local police said an investigation is underway. Officials are considering if the murder was a hate crime, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE).
The murder of Nina Pop is believed to be at least the tenth violent death of a transgender or gender-nonconforming person this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ civil rights organization. Five of those murders happened in the past weeks.
“For the past four weeks, we have seen the deaths of five transgender women of color in this country. We are seeing an epidemic of violence that can no longer be ignored. Transgender and gender-nonconforming people, especially trans women of color, risk our lives by living as our true selves — and we are being violently killed for doing so,” said Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, in their website.
Biden has obtained the endorsement of The National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund, an activist group.
“Biden has a strong agenda for addressing the issues that face transgender Americans, a record of getting big ideas done during his time as vice president in the Obama-Biden administration, and a history of ensuring that transgender people are protected, including protections for transgender women as part of the reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act he authored,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the NCTE Action Fund in a news release.
“Over the years he has consistently made clear that ‘transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time.’ With Joe Biden, we know we will be engaged, we will be seen, and we will not be erased,” added the statement.
Biden was interviewed by Keisling last year as part of the NCTE Action Fund’s Transform the White House project. Then, Biden said people of faith, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other religion, should recognize trans people’s right to their identity and to equal treatment under the law.