LGBT+ activist groups urge Black Lives Matter to do more for black transgender women

“Violence does not just occur to Black men and Black women. It occurs to all Black LGBT+ people. We are the people that are not being heard in this movement”

Black Lives Matter transgender
Image: Hazel Coonagh

Following the murder of 46 year-old George Floyd by police outside a shop in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, protests over police brutality and systematic racism erupted in cities across the United States, followed by worldwide demonstrations in solidarity. Many LGBT+ organisations are now pushing for the Black Lives Matter movement to use their platform to bring attention to the large number of missing and murdered black transgender women in the US who face disproportionate levels of discrimination and violence.

Last year the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reported that at least  26 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were killed in the United States alone, although the exact number is thought to be higher. Of these reported 26 victims, 22 were found to be killed by fatal violence, with all but one of these victims being black. So far this year, it has been reported that 12 members of the LGBT+ community have been murdered in the US, with eight of these victims being transgender women of colour.

Speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Tori Cooper of the HRC says that Black Lives Matter movement needs to do more for transgender people, stating; “I don’t think that anybody would say that there’s been enough attention focused on and around trans people and the state of violence they live in […] think it is a weakness of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement…. We only speak out when Black men are being harmed or murdered.”

Mariah Moore of the Transgender Law Center shared the same sentiment, reiterating the point; “Violence does not just occur to Black men and Black women. It occurs to all Black LGBT+ people. We are the people that are not being heard in this movement.”

While widespread protests over the murder of George Floyd have led to his murders facing charges, the name of the officer who murdered Tony McDade, a black transgender man, last month is still yet to be released. LGBT+ organisations and activists are now calling for the Black Live Matter movement to advocate for all black people, with an emphasis on black transgender people.

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

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