President Joe Biden’s White House celebrated Transgender Remembrance Day on Monday by lamenting the deaths of 26 transgender-identifying Americans, at least three of whom were shot and killed while committing a crime or tangling with law enforcement.
“We must never be silent in the face of hate,” the official White House statement published on Monday reads. “As we mourn the loss of transgender Americans taken too soon this year, we must also recommit ourselves to never stop fighting until all Americans can live free from discrimination.”
During a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre emphasized that these “victims are disproportionately black women and women of color.”
“No one should face violence or live in fear or be discriminated against simply for being themselves,” Jean-Pierre declared.
The White House paints the 26 transgender people as victims whose deaths were tragedies linked to their gender identity. Several family members of the deceased even called the deaths the result of “targeted shootings,” but none of their accounts or the reports on their loved one’s death produced a direct link between the fatal violence and the transphobia the White House claims has gripped the nation.
While several of the 26 people listed died in hit-and-runs, shootings, and domestic violence that plague cities all across the U.S., at least three were killed while committing acts of violence. Such was the case with 26-year-old Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran.
Leftist LGBT activist organization Human Rights Campaign remembered Teran as an “Indigenous queer and non-binary environmental activist and community organizer” who was shot and killed by cops during a raid in Georgia in January 2023. At the time, Teran was one of several “forest defenders” who camped out on land in an attempt to stifle the development of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.
What HRC didn’t mention in its description honoring the man who used “they/them” pronouns is that Teran was only shot by officers because he fired first. When cops barged into the camp in an attempt to clear it of protestors, Teran blasted four pepper-ball rounds through his 9 mm pistol at them. His projectiles seriously injured a state trooper, which prompted nearby officers to return fire.
Outrage over Teran’s death prompted unrest and landed three of his allies in jail with felony charges for intimidating an officer. A district attorney ruled in October, however, that the members of law enforcement who shot Teran would not face criminal charges because “the use of lethal force by the Georgia State Patrol was objectively reasonable under the circumstances of this case.”
Banko Brown, a 24-year-old woman who was shot and killed by a security guard at a San Francisco Walgreens in April after allegedly shoplifting, also made the White House’s list. The guard who fired the fatal shot claimed Brown “repeatedly threatened to stab him” as he tried to prevent her from leaving the store. He was ultimately fined for “carrying a concealed firearm and for uniform violations” but not criminally charged despite significant pressure from the mob.
Another transgender-identifying person honored by the White House, 28-year-old DéVonnie J’Rae Johnson, was similarly shot and killed by a security guard in August after he walked into a Los Angeles store wielding a fire extinguisher and screwdriver. HRC claimed Johnson was “a vibrant artist” who “moved to Los Angeles in order to transition.” At the time of his death, Johnson was homeless. The guard, who immediately rendered first aid after firing at Johnson, also faced no charges.
Notably missing from the White House’s list was Audrey Hale, a woman masquerading as a man who shot and killed three children and three staff at a Christian grade school in Nashville earlier this year before local police took her out.
Just two days after the March 27 shooting, Jean-Pierre dared to mount the podium in the White House briefing room and claim transgender Americans are “under attack right now.”
Biden, similarly, not only personally refused to make a trip to visit the families of the shooting victims (an honor he’s afforded even criminals), but he ended the week of the tragedy by celebrating a “Transgender Day of Visibility.”