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Friday, November 20, 2015

There's an "Epidemic of Violence" Against Trans People — Even in San Francisco

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 11:04 AM

click to enlarge At least 21 trans people have been murdered in the U.S. this year - TIM WANG/FLICKR
  • Tim Wang/Flickr
  • At least 21 trans people have been murdered in the U.S. this year

A headline on Mother Jones today is depressing but not particularly surprising: “More Transgender People Have Been Killed in 2015 Than Any Other Year on Record.” It’s a poignant reminder on the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance that much legal and social legwork remains to be done — even in notoriously liberal California.

Just this week, a 25-year-old transwoman in San Francisco was assaulted for the second time since January. According to the Chronicle, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission says that 79 percent of transgender people the agency surveyed last year reported being the victims of violence in the city, and 88 percent reported being harassed.

If discrimination and violence against trans people can happen here, imagine the risks in less progressive parts of the country.

That’s one of the takeaways from a report by the Human Rights Campaign, which notes that 21 transgender people have been killed in the U.S. this year — most of them women of color. And that number probably under-counts the total number of trans homicides nationwide since local police departments often record a victim’s biological gender rather than the gender he or she is living.

Per Mother Jones, none of the murders this year is being investigated as a hate crime.

On Tuesday, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) helped launch a congressional task force to “respond to the epidemic of violence against the transgender community.” Rep. Honda has a transgender granddaughter, while Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the only Republican on the nine-member task force, has a transgender son.

The “epidemic” they’re fighting has taken a tragic toll across the country. According to HRC, among the trans people murdered between 2013-2015:

  • 74 percent were under age 35
  • 34 percent were killed in the Southeast, more than in any other part of the country
  • 34 percent were engaged in sex work as a means of survival at the time of their deaths
  • 16 were killed in states that have hate crime laws
  • 15 percent were killed by their intimate partners

In San Francisco, trans activists and allies are memorializing community members killed this year, while also rallying for more affordable housing, less discriminatory policing, and better job opportunities.

The San Francisco LGBT Center will also host a vigil tonight from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Click here to read SF Weekly's July 23rd cover story about Miss Major, one of the Bay Area’s trans matriarchs.   

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Jeremy Lybarger


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