From left: Nikki Kuhnhausen, Jaylow McGlory, and Zoe SpearsMost transgender homicide victims in the U.S. are Black women, and most of them knew their killers, but the legal system has failed them in many ways and few of their cases result in murder convictions, according to a new analysis by Insider.The publication looked at 175 killings of trans and gender-nonconforming, nonbinary, and two-spirit people from 2017 through 2021. (The Advocate also independently tracks killings among this population.)Insider found that there had been murder convictions in only 16 percent of these cases and a hate-crime conviction in only one — the death of Nikki Kuhnhausen, a 17-year-old who was killed in Washington State in 2019.
Her killer, David Bogdanov, was convicted in 2021 of second-degree murder and malicious harassment, the latter being a hate crime.
He received the maximum sentence of 19 years and six months.“It’s even disturbing when I’m around like a gay person or somebody bi or transsexual or something,” Bogdanov told a police officer, according to Insider.Hate-crime charges have been filed in only two other deaths in the period covered by Insider — those of Serena Angelique Velázquez and Layla Pelaez, friends who were killed in Puerto Rico in 2020.
Those charges are still pending.The publication noted that in many cases, police don’t take trans people’s identity or relationships seriously.