Mural supporting black trans women tampered with at UVA originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
A mural near the University of Virginia's campus calling for the protection of black trans woman was tampered with twice, officials said.
The original message read "Protect Black Trans Women," but on Dec. 13, part of the word "protect" was replaced with "2A," an apparent reference to the Second Amendment, and "guns" was written over the word "trans."
The word "women" was crossed out entirely.
Students at the university repainted the original message, but two days later, the message was crossed out once more.
"The Queer Student Union at UVA finds the transphobic actions that took place both evenings abhorrent," according to a statement from student group.
The message was written on the Beta Bridge, which is located on the outskirts of the University of Virginia's campus and is used as a forum for public expression, according to a statement from the university.
"Beta Bridge is a long recognized public forum that may on occasion cause controversy or disagreement about the messages expressed or the intentions of individuals who choose to paint the bridge," the statement read.
The university did make students aware of resources available to them for their safety and well-being.
"We recognize that people, particularly black trans women, feel demeaned or threatened by this message and the way it appeared on Beta Bridge," according to the statement. "We also appreciate that black trans women are among one of the most vulnerable populations in our country."
But for some, the message wasn't enough.
"We denounce the lack of action that the University administration has taken to support the affected communities," a statement from the Queer Student Union read.
"We celebrate that the space has long been used to raise awareness of a diversity of events, issues, and viewpoints," the statement continued. "However, we believe that defacing an existing message is a more violent speech act than replacing one message with another."
At least 22 transgender people -- 19 of them trans women of color -- have been killed in 2019, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. The deadliest year on record was 2017, with 29 transgender people killed, the group said.
ABC News' Karma Allen contributed to this report.