Transgender Day of Remembrance: Report finds ‘epidemic’ of violence

A candle mourns transgender victims of violence like Tydie, who was killed in Baltimore.

A new report has shed light on the horrific epidemic of violence against transgender people in the US, ahead of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation report, released on November 19, looks at the high levels of violence against America’s transgender community, who are disproportionately more likely to face violent attacks than the general population.

The report, titled “Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2018,” found that at least 22 transgender people have been murdered in the US so far this year.

The actual number may be higher, as there is no official data collection on crimes against trans people, and monitors frequently have to rely on LGBT+ community sources.

“We must address the root causes of violence to make our communities safer for everyone. It is unacceptable that transgender and gender-expansive people are killed simply because of who they are.”

Human Rights Campaign Foundation

The report included some shocking statistics about the murder victims.

82 percent of the identified victims were transgender women of colour, while 55 percent of the deaths occurred in Southern states.

Research also found that 74 percent of identified transgender murder victims were misgendered (referred to using their birth gender) or deadnamed (referred to using their birth name) in initial police or media reports surrounding their deaths.

Candles mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

File photo. Candles mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Many police forces across the US still insist on using the name or gender listed on the victim’s ID in reports, even when it is several years out of date, while local news organisations are frequently both reliant on official police channels for information, and lacking in expertise on transgender issues.

Experts say the practice can cause significant harm to police investigations during the most critical phase, because people with information may only know the victim by their chosen name, and because misgendering fosters mistrust of police within the transgender community.

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