Early on a February morning, an individual fired into one of three transgender-friendly bars in the nation and Las Vegas’ only transgender club and injured at least two individuals. At the time, the windows were covered in ads along with a trans flag showing a silhouette of a woman below the bar’s name: The Las Vegas Lounge.
The shooter was not inside to target a specific individual, The bigoted shooter was firing into the club from the street.
Las Vegas Metro Police have not released a motive for the shooting or whether the shooting is being viewed as a hate crime.
“Jennifer Hallie, the general manager of the club, said she knows as much as the “police have released. But it’s scary.”
“Your instinct is this is a hate crime, but you just don’t know,” she told reporters with KVVU-TV, the local Fox affiliate.
The February shootings were only one of several which raised the killing of transgender people to a record high in 2017.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) estimated that more than 100 transgender persons have been murdered in America over the past five years. The report, co-sponsored by the Trans People of Color Coalition, was issued just before 2018’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The actual number of victims may be higher. Transgender victims are often misidentified in news ports and, in some cases, it can take months for family and friends to clarify the gender identity of a victim.
The HRC provided a breakdown of the killings since 2013 and said 85 of the victims were transgender women and all were black or Hispanic.
“Transgender kills are committed by lovers, acquaintances, family members and strangers,” said Nicholas Wooldridge, a noted Las Vegas attorney. “The stories in HRC’s report reflect a legacy of intolerance, hate and discrimination.”
The report also noted most states don’t have laws prohibiting discrimination against transgender persons.
“In many states, anti-transgender bias is ingrained in all walks of life, including the criminal justice system and government agencies,” Wooldridge said.
The U.S. Justice Department sent a federal hate crimes attorney to Iowa to help prosecute, November 2017, a man indicted for killing a transgender teenager in March 2016.. Sending the government representative was unusual for America’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is taking steps to weaken transgender persons’ rights.
Sessions claims the Justice Department no longer considers transgender persons as shielded from workplace discrimination under federal law. Sessions continues to roll back legal protections for transgender people as a group.
Sessions had issued guidance to protect religious freedom which undercuts protections for LGBT people.
The February 2017 attack on The Las Vegas Lounge happened more than a year after the Pulse Nightclub shooting. The Las Vegas shooting hasn’t ignited the same outrage. There are still no updates and the shooter has not been identified.
No action has been taken by the police, media, or the public.