350 Transgender lives lost to violence in past year

During #TransgenderAwarenessWeek, we reflect on this deadly year for many in the transgender community due to anti-trans violence.

two hands holding a lit candle, transgender lives lost

November 20 is observed as Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to reflect upon the lives lost in the transgender community due to anti-trans violence. Unfortunately, 2020 is on pace to be the deadliest in recent years for the transgender and gender non-conforming community, figures released by Transrespect Versus Transphobia Worldwide show the shocking level of violence faced by trans people globally.

The group’s researchers documented 350 homicides of trans and gender-diverse people around the world from October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020. That’s a six per cent increase from the same period a year earlier, and the researchers have recorded 3,664 homicides since the effort began in 2008. The yearly total has gradually increased since then.

Trans women or those who identify as transfeminine made up 98 per cent of the victims in the 2020 report. 82 per cent of the deaths were in Central or South America and 43 per cent of that in Brazil. 62 per cent of those killed were known to be sex workers. People of colour and migrants were at great risk, with 79 per cent of US victims being people of colour and half of those killed in Europe being migrants. The average age of victims was 31, and the youngest was 15.

Sarah McBride, who was recently elected to the Delaware state Senate as the United State’s first transgender senator, stated the violence “is a byproduct of a toxic combination of transphobia, racism and misogyny.”

McBride is the former national spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which has also marked the deadly trend.

“This epidemic of violence, which is particularly impacting transgender women of colour, must and can be stopped,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement last month.

Ariel Mary Ann, the sister of Riah Milton, a trans-woman who was fatally shot in in June in Butler County, Ohio said in a statement the stories of her sister and other slain transgender victims are “tragic and heartbreaking, but these stories need to be told.”

“It may be a sad song but we’re gonna sing it again,” she stated. “I will continue to fight and push for the voices of black transgender women to be uplifted until the day I die. We deserve to be heard, to be loved, and for our very existence to be acknowledged.”

In a sign of hope on this Transgender Day of Remembrance, this past June during Pride Month and during the world wide Black Lives Matter Marches, many were also marching for trans lives. Thousands across the United States attended Black Trans Lives Matter protests, nearly 10,000 showed up in New York, a group of people in Chicago organized a Drag March for Change, and in Boston, thousands chanted “no justice, no peace, no anti-trans violence on our streets”.

As the transgender lives lost are remembered today, let there be hope for the future, and continued progress for a more inclusive and accepting world.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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