Amos Beede, 38, was described by police as transient. He was attacked in a homeless encampment near Pine Street Barge Canal in Burlington, which is where police found him the morning of May 22. He suffered multiple blunt force injuries to his face and head, causing internal bleeding, and numerous broken ribs, police said in a news release the day of the assault.
He was brought to the University of Vermont Medical Center for treatment; initially, his recovery prospects seemed favorable. His condition deteriorated over the week until police announced on Sunday he had succumbed to his injuries.
Beede was a transgender man, Chief of Police Brandon del Pozo noted in a news release on Sunday. Though the investigation suggested motives “independent of this fact,” the department “has not ruled out the victim’s transgender status as a possible additional motive,” del Pozo said.
“Until the attendant facts are clarified, we will continue to view this homicide as a possible bias incident,” he said in a statement. “An autopsy will reveal the cause of death.”
Research from LGBT advocacy groups suggests people who identify as transgender face disproportionate barriers to basic rights and needs compared to the general population, from access to education, employment, housing and health care to fair treatment in restaurants, stores, public spaces, hospitals and other public places.
One of the most comprehensive surveys of American transgender people to date found that discrimination was pervasive, though people of color in general fared worse than white participants across the board, according to the 2011 study (PDF), “Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.”
Based on a study sample of 6,456 valid transgender respondents across the United States the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the study found that respondents were nearly four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000 a year compared to the general population. They also experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the general population at the time of the survey.