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Why Did Laverne Cox Say The Trans Community Is In A 'State Of Emergency?'

This has gotten really serious, really fast.

In a recent appearance on Good Morning America, actress Laverne Cox talked about the fact that as of last week, at least 17 trans women have been reported murdered in the US since the start of 2015, most them women of color. In all of 2014, the total number of trans women reported murdered was 14.

"We in the transgender community are reeling," Cox said. "Yesterday we found out another transgender woman was murdered. Tamara Dominguez. That's 17 known transgendered women murdered in 2015 alone."

"It's really a state of emergency," she continued." "Your life should not be in danger for being who you are...we need to make sure trans lives matter."

The Advocate reported that on Saturday (August 15) 36-year-old Tamara Dominguez of Kansas City, Mo. was killed by being run over by an SUV multiple times "in a brutal killing that police have not labeled a hate crime."

Last week, three other trans women were reported murdered within a few days of each other: the body of Twenty-year-old Elisha Walker, who'd gone missing last year, was found in Johnson County, North Carolina; 25-year-old Ashton O'Hara was found murdered in a park in Detroit; and 35-year-old Kandis Capri was shot outside a friend's apartment in Phoenix.

Janet Mock frequently speaks out out about this issue and Caitlyn Jenner recently joined the chorus of voices calling attention to the murder of trans women of color following the murders of India Clarke and K.C. Haggard by writing writing on her blog, "My condolences to those who loved India, K.C. and all of the other victims. No one should be killed simply because they are transgender."

There's an official petition asking the White House to formally investigate the rise of transphobic violence, but as of press time, it only had 3,740 signatures. It needs 96,260 more by September in order to require an official response from President Obama.

"For Transgender women of color, safety is a real and warranted concern," the petition reads. "We are asking the administration to raise awareness and take action to keep this community safe, by conducting a formal investigation of these deaths occurring across the county to the targeted community of Transgender women, particularly women of color."

The petition concludes, "Please take action to ensure this community does not have to live in fear of losing their lives to hate and violence."