Every third day, a trans person is murdered


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And this is just what’s being reported, according to new research just released on violence against trans people worldwide. Transgender Europe (TGEU) is working with the multilingual online magazine Liminalis on a collaborative project titled, /Trans Murder Monitoring Project/. According to their results:

The very preliminary results of the first step of this project have revealed a total of 204 cases of reported murders of trans people world wide in the last 1 1/2 years. 121 cases of murdered trans people have been reported in 2008. From January to June 2009 already 83 cases of murdered trans people have been reported.
Furthermore, the preliminary results show an increase in the number of reports of murdered trans people over the last years. Since the beginning of 2008 the murder of a trans person is reported every third day, on average.

Via Questioning Transphobia.

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19 Comments

  1. bitsy
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Wow, is this ever one of those pieces of information I wish I could un-know. Why are the number of murders increasing? What the fuck, world? If you’ll excuse me I’m going to go hide under the nearest rock and never come out.

  2. Concerned Marsupial
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    The increase in the number of reports probably does not indicate an increase in the actual number of murders (which has likely always been very high). What it probably means is that murders of trans people are only now starting to be acknowledged as hate-motivated crimes, and trans people’s gender identities are only now starting to be given consideration in media reports. Before, a lot of murders of trans women were (and still are) reported as murders of men, and vice versa. The report itself mentions this issue.
    The fact that trans people’s identities have been consistently denied both in life and death is what makes this situation even more tragic.

  3. alixana
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    That’s a good point, about reporting vs. # of crimes.
    The fact that so many trans people are murdered makes you wonder just what the fuck scares people so much that it drives them to kill.

  4. Danielle
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone have a comparison of how murders of transgendered people compare to numbers of murders of non-transgendered people? It would be interesting to see to what degree they are disproportionately targeted, that would give a better idea of the situation than raw numbers.

  5. Concerned Marsupial
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Good question. I think they are threatened by the fact that someone would not want to unquestionigly accept their biological sex as a determinant of most of their behavior and identity expression. When people challenge the idea that gender identity is written in stone at birth, transphobic individuals probably feel that their own identities (that are very strongly connected with their biological sex) and their whole lives are being questioned and threatened, and that the threat needs to be eliminated. But who knows, in the end. Hatred of outgroups has always been a huge part of human history.

  6. Concerned Marsupial
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Per the Geneva’s Declaration’s report, about 490,000 people were murdered worldwide in 2004. Since the true prevalence of transsexualism is unknown and the estimates vary greatly, and their murders are underreported or reported as murders of someone of the wrong gender (or sometimes as murders of their preferred gender, but fail to mention they were trans), or gay or lesbian instead of trans, any attempt to compare the rates of murders of trans vs. non-trans people would have to be highly speculative. And since violence based on gender identity expression is not legally recognized as a hate crime, the government doesn’t keep any stats and NGOs have to rely on media reports to gather their data.

  7. Concerned Marsupial
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I forgot to mention they also rely on LGBT communities in various countries for estimates of the true number of murders, but they can’t reach everyone everywhere for obvious reasons, especially in places where any deviation from hetero norms is criminalized.

  8. Vexing
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Reading this makes me want to leave the house even less.

  9. https://me.yahoo.com/a/gFmN6awaiYoYG.z108VnEh4WPLfVfpPHzBdrDGq6YWLs1Q--#9e593
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Are these murders specifically a result of hate crimes, or are they just regular statistics? Like someone said in the comments previously, almost 500,000 people were murdered in 2004, so why are these ones being singled out?

  10. nickymo
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I think it can be assumed that at least most of them are a result of hate crimes. The murder rates for trans people are much, much higher than for the general, “average” public. I think it’s fair to assume that the occasional trans person would be murdered and it has nothing to do with them being trans but the fact is, there are relatively few trans people and lots are being killed all the time.

  11. Concerned Marsupial
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    If you follow the link, there is a list of names detailing dates, names, locations and methods of murder. I didn’t read them all, but many of the ones I did read seem to have been hate crimes. The website is giving me an error message right now when I click on the links for the list, but it’ll probably be back up later.
    The research report also says a lot of the victims were sex workers. While cisgendered sex workers also face a lot of violence, many trans women are forced into sex work because they are discriminated against when seeking legal employment. So while some of those murders of trans sex workers could have been murdered because they were an easy target, not necessarily because they were trans, their murders could still be regarded as resulting from transphobia.

  12. Former Jose
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    “Just regular statistics”? Do you really think one trans person murdered every three days–bearing in mind that trans people make up a very tiny percentage of the population in general–is “just regular statistics”?
    It’s NOT “just regular statistics,” and I’m really outraged that you’re suggesting that this is–and implying that trans murder victims are getting too much attention here when, really, they don’t get enough.

  13. Concerned Marsupial
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    The report says that TGEU and Luminalis are asking people to send reports of murdered trans people to research[at]tgeu.org. They only have one person from Russia on their list, so I thought I’d be able to find more reports I could email them if I did a search in Russian. I couldn’t find anything other than the one they already have. And I highly doubt that was the only murder of a trans person that’s happened there, given Russia’s very homophobic and transphobic climate and skinhead gangs.
    And none of the articles (except one) I was able to find about Camilla, the Russian murder victim listed among those in the report, even used words like transgender or transsexual. Most of them said “used to be a man”. And, shockingly, even on a gay forum that had a thread about the murder most posters referred to Camilla as “he” and “Kirill” (her birth name). So that ought to give you an idea of what difficulties could arise in gathering data about murders of trans people, especially in cultures where most people are unfamiliar with transsexualism.
    But the story itself is horrible. Camilla was murdered by her live-in boyfriend of two years after he found out she was trans (she refused to legally marry him, so he got suspicious and hacked her email account). He shot her, including a shot in the pubic area (not sure how many shots were fired total since that one was the only one reported, accompanied by sickening innuendos). He then tried to slash his wrists but was taken to the emergency room and his life saved (“fortunately”, as the article put it). This only happened at the end of June, so he hasn’t had his trial yet (I’m sure he’ll get off with a minimal sentence, though). In all, the story was presented as if the murderer were a victim of betrayal and broken heart (the picture of his “touching” suicide note was included). His identity was protected by blurring his face in the photo of him with Camilla, and only the initial of his last name was given. It truly made me sick. Most online commenters sympathized with the murderer, and when someone sane pointed out that it was murder, after all, other commenters immediately concluded that person must be trans, too.
    Anyway, if you are not afraid of getting depressed
    out of your mind and know a foreign language, you could search for reports of murders of trans
    people in countries where that language is spoken and email them to TGEU. You might want to check their list first to make sure the victims are not already on it.

  14. Marja
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Yes, but there has always been more violence against trans womyn than trans men. Which suggests that misogyny/conventional sexism is as important as oppositional sexism.

  15. jesseejanes
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    Absolutely horrible. The humanity of trans people is trivialized by virtually everyone. There is even transphobia within the LGB community.

  16. gudbuytjane
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    What exactly are ‘just regular statistics’?
    It is so typically privileged to comment on an article that describes the phenomenal rate at which trans people are murdered (specifically trans women, and in the west and North American more specifically trans women of colour) and then ask us to explain to you how relevant the statistics are. Read the report and educate yourself.
    Seriously, cis people, what the hell?

  17. gudbuytjane
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I hear ya… :(

  18. gudbuytjane
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I wrote this piece on the state of reporting and commenting about the pandemic of violence against trans women a while back, and I think it highlights some of my frustration with things like the fact that four of the last six articles tagged at Feministing as “transgender issues” are about violence against trans women.

  19. Posted July 23, 2009 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    We can make a good estimate for upper and lower bounds in the USA, though not elsewhere.
    For an upper bound, assume the figures in most textbooks, and accepted by the American Psychiatric Association are correct. That means about 1 in 30,000 women, and 1 in 100,000 men are TS. So about 1 in 65,000 people are TS, meaning about 5,000 total in the USA.
    The average chance of being murdered in the general population of the USA is 1 in 18,000. So you could reasonably expect one TS person to be murdered every 3-4 years or so.
    For a mid bound, the highest measured figures in other countries are about 1 in 3,000 women, and 1 in 11,000 men being TS. That would give a figure of 70,000 TS people in the US, so we could expect 3-4 per year.
    For a lower bound, a figure if 1 in 3000 people being TS is a reasonable estimate, double the highest recorded figure, but consistent with Prof Lynn Conway’s analysis. So we could expect 6 homicides of TS people in the USA per year.
    The measured rate of hate crime homicides alone, not other homicides, is about 20.
    So TS people are, at minimum, 4 times more likely to be killed from hate crimes alone, probably 10 times, and possibly 80 times.
    Transgendered women of colour would account for no more than 5-10% of the total of TS people, but account for 50% or more of the victims. So multiply these figures by 5-10 for them. So between 20 times and 800 times.
    In the city of Memphis, pop 1.2 million, there are perhaps 400,000 women of colour. So there would be perhaps 120 TWOC.
    6 have been shot in the head over the last two years, and 3 have died from that.

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