Archive for the ‘Transgender Day of Remembrance’ Category
Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project reveals 221 killings of trans people in the last 12 months
In total, since January 2008 the murders of 755 trans people have been reported
The 13th International Transgender Day of Remembrance is being held on November 20th 2011: Since 1999, the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), on which those trans people who have been victims of homicide are remembered, takes place every November. The TDOR raises public awareness of hate crimes against trans people, provides a space for public mourning and honours the lives of those trans people who might otherwise be forgotten. Started in the USA, the TDOR is now held in many parts of the world. In the past, the TDOR took place in more than 180 cities in more than 20 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.
Sadly, this year there are 221 trans persons to be added to the list to be remembered, mourned and honoured as an update of the preliminary results of Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project reveals.
The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project started in April 2009 and systematically monitors, collects and analyses reports of homicides of trans people worldwide. Updates of the preliminary results, which have been presented in July 2009 for the first time, are published on the website of the “Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide” project three to four times a year in form of tables, name lists, and maps:
Every year in November, Transgender Europe provides a special update of the TMM results for the International Transgender Day of Remembrance so as to assist activists worldwide in raising public awareness of hate crimes against trans people.
The TDOR 2011 update has revealed a shocking total of 221 cases of reported killings of trans people from November 20th 2010 to November 14th 2011:
In comparison to the TDOR updates of the last years (162 reports 2009, 179 reports in 2010), we are witnessing a significant increase, which points to the extreme level of violence many trans people continue to be exposed to. However, this increase may also reflect the TvT project’s intensified cooperation and data exchange with trans and LGBT organizations, which document murders of LGBT or trans people in local and national contexts such as Grupo Gay da Bahia (Brazil), Observatorio Ciudadano Trans (Cali, Colombia), Pembe Hayat (Turkey), or TVMEX-Travestis México.
The update shows reports of murdered or killed trans people in 26 countries in the last 12 months, with the majority from Brazil (97), Mexico (23), Colombia (19), and Venezuela (14) followed by Argentina (9), Honduras (9), and the USA (9). In Asia most reported cases have been found in Pakistan (6), and the Philippines (5), and in Europe in Turkey (5).
In total, the preliminary results show 755 reports of murdered trans people in 51 countries since January 2008.
Yet, we know, even these high numbers are only a fraction of the real figures; the truth is much worse.
If you have further questions or if you want to support the research project, please contact the TvT research team:
Dr Carsten Balzer and Dr Jan Simon Hutta
[I wrote this several weeks ago elsewhere, and it's appeared in a slightly modified form]
The trans community’s marked by violence – so many of us have experienced it, live with it, and so many of us die from it. When we hear that one of us have died, we remember the violence we faced, the threats, the fear we live with.
And yet, whenever a trans person is murdered, the very first thing we trans people have to do is sort through the layers and layers of transphobic misinformation from police, media and families in order to work out who that person was, how they lived their life, what their appropriate pronouns and identifications were.
Because the words are almost always wrong, and almost always an act of erasure. First they will begin by making a reference to assigned sex, as something this person “is” – most commonly, “a man was found in woman’s clothing.” And it’s like, ok it’s certainly possible for it to have been a male crossdresser. We must be cautious and not jump to conclusions, because that would be an act of erasure. And it is after all being reported as a fact by the media. It “makes sense,” because the “knowledge” of the majority always makes sense.
And then they will use an assigned name, a name given to the person at birth. But then, almost always, it will turn out that wait no it was a trans woman. And then we find out that she’d changed her legal name. And had been on hormones. And she was most certainly not known by the name she was assigned at birth to the people in her life. That yes, she was a woman, that she lived and died as a woman, not a “man in women’s clothing.”
But none of that matters to the institutions that create someone’s public memory. Because another reality has intervened – cissexual reality – and how she lived and who she was has disappeared.
Because in all likelihood maybe her real legal name will be put in quotation marks after the false name she discarded – like she was just living some wacky nickname which everyone indulged – and maybe she will be referred to as “a transsexual,” this mystical beast which is somehow not a woman. But she will rarely if ever be described as a transsexual woman by the media, and certainly never as just a plain woman.
And maybe – almost certainly if she was a woman of colour, as so many on the TDOR list are – they’ll suggest she was a sex worker before there’s even any evidence, because you know. “Makes sense.” Nobody would ever be with her knowingly and willingly be in a relationship with her.
And maybe then, even with all this evidence, her family might not have accepted her, and will then superimpose their stories of who she was on top, and because they are grieving they will get more respect for this then perhaps she ever did. And maybe their friends or workmates will step forward with some stories about what a lovely boy she had been before she got all confused and went on hormones, as though their false perceptions were objective truth. As though what they saw was what she was, as though they could feel the pain that leads to medical transition. As though visibility equals existence, when the change was not her (she was always a woman) but them, their perceptions. You saw a boy, therefore it must have been. Makes sense, right?
Very occasionally, maybe she has even been one of the lucky few of us who scraped together enough money to pay for surgery, thus allowing her the correct legal sex and not walk through life with the wrong documents compounding the discrimination she faces. And it is only then that just maybe she might be referred to by the right name with the right pronouns, even though they will still probably gratuitously refer to her former name and to her appearance and to her genitals (because a trans person’s genitals are always relevant to discussing them. Always. Privacy is for real people).
And maybe there’ll be a sexy photo, or maybe a before-and-after tableau because you know, that’s what y’all cis people are interested in, right, what wonders hormones do. How you can totally tell what she “really” was. And people will imagine how she must have “tricked” her killer, must have deceived him, because that too “makes sense” because hey we’re all just pretending and deceiving you anyway, right? Living our lives, we’re already lying about what we really are apparently. So course, the killer must have been “surprised.” Because it’s easier to emphathise with a killer than a trans woman, one of those.. things.
Never mind how we rarely don’t declare our transness to our lovers for this reason, and how often it turns out to have been something the person had known for ages, and how our murders are less about “surprise” than about the fact that we are not considered valuable, barely considered human. And that the presumptions about gender, sexuality and race you have made all along have contributed to this general cultural climate of trans disposability, which too makes sense, which is why you deny jobs and homeless shelters and housing and even in prison you chuck us into the wrong prison. No wonder you identify with murderers.
And after all this, we have not even begun to actually do justice to that person, to their personality, to the circumstances of their life and death. No, we have at best simply attempted nothing more than pushing through the layers of lies contributed by a transphobic society. We have discovered little more than that someone was a trans woman in a society that does not want us to exist, and that even after her death she had been mocked and disrespected. And finally, she had been largely erased us from society’s official record, not even remembered as the correct name or sex.
And you wonder why we’re so bitter, when we see this every time one of our own dies publicly, when we can almost certainly guarantee that a good portion of that objectification and erasure will happen to us whether we die from violence or accident or peacefully in our sleep. Because of the ways you make sense.
Every two days, somewhere in the world, a trans person is murdered.
In August 2010, the Trans Murder Monitoring Project (TvT-TMM) published an interim update showing that, from January to June of this year, 93 reported incidents had occurred worldwide.
Today, on the eve of the 12th International Transgender Day Of Remembrance, the Trans Murder Monitoring Project has posted on its website a further update on the reports of murdered trans people from November 20th 2009 to November 19th 2010.
This means that, this year, there are almost 180 trans people to be included in the list of names to be remembered, mourned and honoured at the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance tomorrow (20th November).
The TDOR 2010 update has revealed a total of 179 cases of reported killings of trans people from November 20th 2009 to November 19h 2010. The update shows reports of murdered or killed trans people in 19 countries in the last year, with the majority from Brazil (91), Guatemala (15), Mexico (14, and the USA (14).
Cases have been reported from all six major World regions: Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania. As in the previous years, most reported cases were from Central and South America, which account for 80 % of the globally reported homicides of trans people since January 2008. In 2008, 97 killings were reported in 13 Central and South American countries, in 2009, 136 killings in 15 Central and South American Countries, and in 2010 so far 122 killings in 12 Central and South American Countries. The starkest increase in reports is also to be found in Central and South America, e.g. in Brazil (2008: 59, 2009: 68, January-November 2010: 74), Guatemala (2008: 1, 2009: 13, January-November 2010: 14) and Mexico (2008: 4, 2009: 11, January-November 2010: 12). The data also show an alarming increase in reported murders in Turkey in the previous years (2008: 2, 2009: 5, January to November 2010: 6).
In total, the preliminary results show 487 reports of murdered trans people in 39 countries since January 2008. [Via TvT-TMM]
Press Release bit:
Oct 10, 2010 – Boolean Union Studios is reviving the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) Webcomic project. Originally created by webcomic artists Jenn Dolari and Erin Lindsey, the TDOR webcomic project is intended to memorialize transgender individuals who lost their lives due to murder or suicide. Each November 20th, a new group of webcomics is unveiled, each dealing the issues raised by the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The TDOR webcomic project ran from 2004 through 2008, but unfortunately the project lapsed in 2009. However in 2010, Boolean Union Studios, a small, independent movie studio, will host the project, taking over from Jenn Dolari, the previous host.
In order to ensure the project’s success, Boolean Union wants to solicit as many submissions as possible. It doesn’t matter if you are a great artist, if you have your own webcomic, or even if you are transgendered youself; what matters is that you care. Submissions can be anything from a single panel to a multipage work. There is no set theme this year, though submissions should deal with issues related to TDOR. All submitted webcomics for 2010 will appear on our website on Nov 20th, and will be archived there for future viewing.
For more information about the TDOR webcomic project, or to see submissions from previous years, please see the TDOR website athttp://tdor.boolean-union.com/. Questions, comments, and submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boolean Union Studios was launched in 2006 on the principle that anyone who is interested can contribute. Boolean Union specializes in 3d computer animation and content creation.
The Trans Murder Monitoring Project has published its Interim Update of July 2010, which states that 93 murders were recorded in the first six months of the year. According to their press release, this means that:
every second day a homicide of a trans person is being reported
The total of reported killings of trans people in the last 2½ years has now reached 426.
Cases have been reported in Asia, Central and South America, Europe, and North America. As in the previous years, most reported cases were from Central and South America. In total, 97 killings were reported in 13 Central and South American countries in 2008, 135 killings in 15 Central and South American Countries in 2009, and 77 killings in 10 Central and South American Countries in the first half of 2010.
The reported homicides of trans people in Central and South America account for 77 % of the globally reported homicides of trans people since 2008.
The starkest increase in reports is also to be found in Central and South America, e.g. in Brazil (2008: 59, 2009: 68, January-June 2010: 40), Guatemala (2008: 1, 2009: 13, January-June 2010: 14) and Mexico (2008: 4, 2009: 10, January-June 2010: 9).
The interim update of the preliminary results also reveals that in the first six months of 2010, 7 homicides of trans people were reported in the US (2008: 17, 2009: 14), 5 in Europe (2008: 11, 2009: 17) and 4 in Asia (2008: 9, 2009: 8).
Another finding of the interim update is that while Brazil has received special attention due to the elevated number of killings, the number of killings in other South and Central American countries like Venezuela, Honduras and in particular Guatemala is equally or even more worrying in view of the much smaller population sizes of these countries.
PDF files of the updated statistics may be downloaded from here.
Randy Cohen, the ethicist*, has declared that trans people are ethically required to disclose to their dates. He says:
Getting to know someone is a gradual process. I might panic if on a first date someone began talking about what to name the nine kids she’s eager for us to raise in our new home under the sea. Premature disclosure can be as unnerving as protracted concealment. But as partners cultivate romance, and particularly as they move toward erotic involvement, there are things each should reveal, things they would not mention to a casual acquaintance — any history of S.T.D.’s, for example, or the existence of any current spouse. Even before a first kiss, this person should have told you those things that you would regard as germane to this phase of your evolving relationship, including his being transgendered. Clearly he thought you’d find it pertinent; that’s why he discreditably withheld it, lest you reject him.
So he actually does use the word “panic” in that paragraph, which is kind of ominous. He also compares disclosing that you’re trans to disclosing STDs or whether you’re currently married to someone else.
As usually happens when it comes to trans people and dating, confidentiality and privacy are thrown out the window as soon as cis people insert themselves into the situation. Cohen (who is, by the way, a humorist and not an ethicist, who has written for the historically transphobic David Letterman show) says that it is fine for the cis woman who asked this question to out the trans man she dated to her friends, that her right to process something that doesn’t actually have a serious impact on her supercedes his right to privacy or any consideration for confidentiality.
He tries to soften it by saying “No handbills, and don’t ask him to announce it from the pulpit,” but as many of us have experienced, once someone outs you, the word can spread like wildfire. Cis people seem to think that learning that someone is trans is a particularly salacious and juicy rumor, one that will get passed around from person to person. It just takes hitting one cis person who doesn’t care more about your safety than about hir ability to get a cheap thrill exposing your secrets, and in my experience the majority of cis people are like this. Cohen even describes the trans man in question as discreditable, because he withheld this information until he was ready to divulge it. This is a pretty explicit acknowledgement of how many cis people view trans people: Our transness makes us discreditable. It doesn’t matter when we’re outed (by ourselves or others), once we are, we’re discreditable. Everything we say is doubted – about our competence, about our honesty, about our gender. Everything about us is false except what cis people allow us to have by inscribing upon us, usually against our will.
For an example, remember the trans man who crashed a trolley while texting, and how many responses implied he shouldn’t even be allowed to drive a trolley because he’s trans? How about this cis man who caused the worst train crash in 15 years while texting? Somehow his cisness didn’t serve as a warning sign, right? The first story I linked even implies that Aiden Quinn was hired strictly because he was a minority, and not because he had any competence in driving a trolley. Okay, in both cases? Texting while driving is a really bad idea. Texting while transporting passengers is many times worse. But trans man crashes while texting? Trans people are dangerous. Cis man crashes while texting? Silence.
I read about this story on Bilerico, and Dr. Weiss dissects it pretty nicely. She also suggests writing the New York Times to complain about this:
I strongly suggest that Cohen is in need of criticism and education regarding transgender people, particularly from gay and straight allies of transgender people. He ought to issue a retraction. Here’s the address to write to him: email@example.com Letters to the editor may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important to also mention the racial element of anti-trans hate crimes when discussing trans panic.
* Not really an ethicist.
Via the Jakarta Post:
Last week, local residents found a headless torso and severed body parts believed to be of a young woman, along the Kalimalang River.
Jakarta Police detectives suspect the person, whose mutilated remains were found recently in the Kalimalang River in East Jakarta and Bekasi, may have been a transsexual.
The police reached this conclusion by the following line of reasoning:
“Although the body has breasts, our forensic investigation found that the proportional size from the waist down was close to that of a male body,” Comr. Arif Setiawan, the city police’s detective, who is leading the mutilation case investigation, told reporters. [Via]
Thus are we indelibly marked as our assigned gender by cis people, even after we’ve been violently murdered because, as everybody knows, biology is destiny.
(Thanks to Eduarda in comments on my earlier post at BoP for the links)
Reported in the New York Daily News.
Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar was found dead in her own apartment. She hadn’t been heard from since Friday, and her body was found yesterday, when friends convinced the apartment manager to open her door.
The New York Daily News failed in reporting this, unfortunately. I don’t think the article title needs to emphasize what she was or was not wearing when she was found – that just sensationalizes the story. They also referred to her by her previous name – also sensationalizing the story – and said she “went by Amanda.” The article was edited to correct this, but still gives her so-called “birth name.” The photo is still captioned implying that her “real” name was her previous name and “Amanda” just an alias.
Also: Don’t bother to read the comments unless you’re feeling a rage deficit.
Rest in peace, Amanda. I hope whoever did this comes to justice.
Edit to add:
Second story here. Police suspect Amanda was strangled by a man she was dating. There are currently no suspects.
So, most of you would be aware that today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Last year I asked how to mourn, and I still don’t have any answers. What I do know is that mourning is a complicated business, and even more so when it’s done on a communal level.
I have my misgivings about TDOR, about how productive it is, about appropriation. Who is being mourned is the most important question of all. 160 estimated deaths of trans people, and the vast majority in Central and South America (75% according to Transgender Europe). So it seems to me that to unite all trans people under one banner ignores the specifics of death – sex (the majority are trans women), race (Latina and black), class and occupation (sex work) are as important factors as transness. Appropriating those deaths for political work seems dubious to me at best.
There was an Italian atheist Jewish writer called Primo Levi who wrote about his experience of Auschwitz, over and over. In his last book The Drowned and the Saved, he drew up a distinction between “the drowned” (those who died) and “the saved” (those who lived). He argued that only the drowned could give true and full witness to the horror of the Shoah.
I’m not comparing the murders of trans people to the Shoah directly – the murder of trans people, which horrific, is not institutionally organised towards genocide in quite the same way. But what I want to point out is the structure of witnessing. Even Levi, a man who lived through the camp, at the end of his life felt inadequate to witnessing, unable to have fully experienced the violence he wrote about. Even his proximity was not enough.
Now, I have experienced transphobic violence and abuse. Most if not all of my trans women friends have. Most of the stats I have on violence are fairly sobering – estimates from 33 to 50% of us experiencing trans related violence in any given year. White privilege may protect me.. but it may not. The odds are in my favour.. probably. But how can you tell ahead of time whether you’ll get unlucky, whether that group of teenagers only want to beat the shit out of you and not murder you? How can you truly know? I live with that fear, as do many of you, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable.
So what I want to acknowledge is that there’s a paradox, that no trans person can truly witness for the murdered–especially those we’ve never met. And yet, with due caution, I think we should. Not to further our own goals, not to get legislation passed that protects only the already-privileged or to wallow in self-pity, but to honour the memories of every single trans person murdered this year, and to acknowledge the violence that our community lives with as a whole. To acknowledge that even in death, transphobia and cissexism mean that the murdered are not properly remembered, not even by the correct names and pronouns–and those people should be remembered as the right sex. That is our task for today (surviving ourselves, as well as prevention of more of the same is our task for the rest of the year). The example of Levi suggests that the task of witnessing may well be impossible, but we should attempt it nevertheless.
Please read the full list of names here.
The DC Trans Coalition released this:
DC TRANS COALITION
For Immediate Release
November 8, 2009
Contact: Sadie Ryanne Baker
The DC Trans Coalition Commemorates the 2009 Trans Day of RemembranceWashington, DC – In recent months, a lot of us in DC were deeply affected by the murder of Ty’lia Mack, a trans woman who was stabbed along with a friend only a few blocks from the offices of Transgender Health Empowerment, Inc. Many of us at the DC Trans Coalition are survivors of violence ourselves, or are close to someone who is. We now approach the annual Trans Day of Remembrance, a time of emotional ceremonies when we come together with our friends and allies to remember the hundreds of fallen transsexual, transgender and gender nonconforming people all across the world.Our communities are faced with violence all of the time – and it is not only the kind that comes from bigots who follow us on the street. It can also come from the threat of homelessness and job loss, disproportional rates of poverty and HIV infection, bullying in schools, or denial of access to health care or public facilities like restrooms.
To help curb this violence, sometimes we rely on police and laws like the Human Rights Act here in DC. Calling the police can be important if we are in the kinds of unsafe situations that are all-too-familiar for many trans/GNC people. However, involving the police is not a viable option for many people in our communities. A lack of consistent identity documents, fear of prejudiced and hateful officers and other factors can create complicated problems when interacting with police. Thankfully, in DC we have fought for policies to reduce these problems. We strongly encourage anyone who lives in, works in or visits DC to become familiar with these rights and what to do if they are violated. But even with these strong protections on paper, police harassment on the street and the threat of being arrested and sent to jail remains a constant problem for many.
As the city cuts the budgets of social service programs like THE that help the most vulnerable, and the police enact “tough on crime” policies like the Prostitution Free Zones that result in massive arrest rates for those of us who live in the most precarious economic situations, we need to look at the institutional problems that create and fuel all this violence against us. Trans/GNC people are not only made targets of violence because of blatantly transphobic prejudice. For example, we must also deal with racism, the criminalization of sex workers and the collapsing economy. We need to address all of the complex reasons why so many people in our communities are poor, on the street or constantly going through the jail in order to understand why so many trans/GNC people end up victims or survivors of violence.
Recently, the Obama Administration signed the trans-inclusive Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law. Within DCTC, we have a diverse range of opinions on hate crimes legislation, but we agree that it is important to acknowledge the limitations and flaws of the criminal justice system as it is. As folks who have worked hard to reduce problems for trans/GNC people with police and in jail, we know jails themselves can be dangerous places for trans/GNC people. They also fuel vast racial and class inequalities. (In DC,for example, only 2% of our jail population is white.) So while it is exciting to see elected officials taking action to address the very real problem of hate violence targeting trans/GNC people, we hope that more people begin to have productive dialogs and think critically about strategies to address and prevent violence within our communities.
Relying on harsher penalties for bias-motivated crimes alone cannot keep us safe. While recognizing that sometimes we need to use them for our safety, we need to think about ways to decrease our societies’ over-reliance on police and jails as the only solution. This over-reliance on incarceration disproportionately harms marginalized communities like trans/GNC people. Even as DCTC works hard to make sure we enforce policies that will keep people as safe as possible on the streets and in jail, we also want to find solutions that keep people from going to jail in the first place. We hope that someday we might live in a world where we are put in unsafe situations less to begin with. That’s why, for example, we also have fought to make sure that trans/GNC can obtain legal documents that reflect the way we live, to make sure homeless shelters place trans/GNC people where they want to be, or to keep funding for vital social services.
The week leading up to TDOR has been declared the Trans Week of Awareness by some of our allies in Massachusetts. While we need to commemorate our dead, remembering the fallen is not enough to bring change toward a safer world. We also need to focus on preventing violence by educating those around us, to make them aware that trans/GNC people are their friends, partners, family, co-workers and community members and that we deserve rights and protection just like they do. We at DCTC join with others to mark this Week of Awareness, and ask everyone to spread the word about the need to end transphobia and work toward gender self-determination.
If you are in DC, we invite you to join Transgender Health Empowerment and other groups on Friday, November the 20th at the Metropolitan Community Church (474 Ridge St. NW) for the annual Day of Remembrance ceremony. (You can call 202.557.1951 for more details as they come through.) This year, let’s mourn our losses, but also celebrate our victories, our shared commitment to social justice and to building a world in which all forms of violence are things of the past. In the meantime, we would like to commemorate the strong communities we’ve built to support one another through hard times, and we invite all who are interested to join us in organizing for a safer DC, or wherever you find yourselves this Day of Remembrance.###The DC Trans Coalition (DCTC) is a grassroots community-based organization dedicated to fighting for the human rights, dignity and equal access for transgender, transsexual and gender non-conforming people in the District of Columbia.