WASHINGTON - So far this year, seven transgender women of color have been reportedly killed across the country. LGBTQ advocates said the attacks must stop and they are turning to lawmakers for help.
Some in the LGBTQ community feel leaders in the District are not doing enough to protect their rights or lives. Amid frigid temperatures on Thursday, people uniting to stop violence against transgender women of color filled Freedom Plaza in the nation's capital.
"To move past a rally is to be heard," said Shareese Mone, a transgender woman. "That is the most important thing - to be heard, to stand up."
One by one, the names of the transgender women who were murdered were read.
"We are human, we are women, we are men of trans of D.C.," said Mone. "It is so important to us to stand up today."
Kayley Whalen of the National LGBTQ Task Force said the message being expressed here is that transgender people "deserve dignity and respect. That we need freedom, justice and equality."
The National LGBTQ Task Force said the majority of crimes committed against the transgender community target transgender women of color.
"Year round, we are fighting for policies to protect trans people in the workplace, in their schools," said Whalen.
During a news conference last week, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Whalen and others are not fighting alone.
"My administration is committed to ensuring that our government protects you," Bowser said. "You deserve a city that values inclusion and diversity."
The mayor said the District has a renewed commitment to gender identity and expression policies. Even so, Whalen said more work lies ahead.
"We are also working to ensure that trans people, when they are attacked, are treated as anyone else who is attacked in a hate crime," said Whalen. "We believe that trans people should be safe in public accommodations including bathrooms."
The group at the D.C. rally urged attendees to contact their lawmakers and demand they implement policies that protect the transgender community and protect them.
One policy mentioned was Title IX, which the Trump administration recently rescinded the guidelines urging school districts to implement gender-neutral bathrooms.