- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 23, 2015

The slaying of 25-year-old India Clarke in Tampa, Florida, this week has elevated the number of reported transgender women killed in 2015 to the double digits. She was found beaten to death on Tuesday morning.

“Among the many factors (we investigate) will be the lifestyle and history of the victim to see if either played a role in the death,” Larry McKinnon, a spokesman with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, told the Tampa Tribune.

“Regardless of gender, we are looking at this as a human being who is dead, and we intend to investigate to find out who killed this person,” he said, Tampa Tribune reported.

But in the midst of what some say is an alarming trend, law enforcement is being urged to consider Clarke’s death to be part of a much more serious epidemic. There was an 11 percent surge in murders last year where HIV-positive or LGBTQ persons are the victims, according to a recently released National Coalition of Anti-Violence report, and in December the FBI officially began tracking acts of violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals as hate crimes.

While statistics concerning LGBTQ killings vary, The Advocate, a long-running lifestyle magazine, reported that 12 transgender women were murdered in the U.S. in all of 2014.

The NCAV report said 55 percent of the 20 homicides against HIV-positive and LGBTQ persons last year were of transgender women. The Trans Murder Monitoring project maintained by Transgender Europe, a human rights group headquartered in Sweden, reported meanwhile that 10 transgender people were killed in the U.S. between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 20, 2014.

Previously, the Advocate reported that one transgender woman was murdered per week, on average, during the first seven weeks of 2015. Clarke had suffered from upper-body trauma, law enforcement said. The authorities are continuing to investigate the events surrounding her death.

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