15 February 2015

Murdered Trans Women Of Color Remembered On Valentine's Day

Depending on which sources you trust, a transgender person is anywhere from 10 to 116 times as likely to be murdered as a typical person in the US.

I don't know how likely the 116 figure is.  But I would bet that 10 times is a low number, given that crimes against transgender people are disproportionately unreported.

As if those numbers aren't bad enough, a trans woman of color is (again, depending on who you believe) anywhere from twice to twelve times as likely to be murdered as any other trans person.

One reason for the risks trans women of color face is that, in addition to bearing the double stigma of falling outside accepted gender norms and being of the "wrong" race, they disproportionately live in high-crime areas such as impoverished urban neighborhoods and parts of the South where there is easy access to guns.

Parts of cities like St. Louis and New Orleans happen to fit into both categories.  So it's unsurprising (though still tragic) that Penny Proud, a black transgender woman, was found shot to death early Tuesday morning in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans.

Thus, it's heartening to see that yesterday, Valentine's Day, a group of people gathered in the Central West End of St. Louis to honor transgender women of color and denounce the violence against them.

Even with greater public acceptance of transgender people, the violence against us continues and, for trans women of color, seems to be escalating.  In 2014, thirteen transgenders were murdered in the US.  In the first six weeks of 2015, five transgender women of color have already been killed in this country.

Some might argue that the numbers are higher because more crimes are being reported, or because more of the victims are identified as transgender and not solely by their assigned-at-birth gender, as has been the tradition.  Even if that is the case, though, we are being disproportionately attacked and killed, and it's even worse for trans women of color.

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