Data collected on LGBT homicides will significantly alter the way we react to news about homicides or maybe more appropriately homicides and transcides, a term applied to murders of trans people.
Some international trans activists even started to introduce the term ‘transcide’ to reflect the continuously elevated level of deadly violence against trans people on a global scale.
When we look at what other cities report throughout the U.S.A., we will see a huge disparity in the way data on LGBT murders is disclosed – if at all.
LGBT people are often targets of organized abuse from religious extremists, paramilitary groups, neo-Nazis, extreme nationalists and others, as well as family and community violence, with lesbians and transgender women at particular risk. United Nations December 15, 2011
The United Nations first began collecting data – Worldwide – on trans and homicides in 2011. The United Nations gets involved when death rates of a class and subclass of people begin to meet the definition for genocide.
In 2013, the FBI began recording hate crimes motivated by gender and gender identification biases — for example, attacks on transgender people. Crimes motivated by gender identification rose from 31 in 2013 to 114 in 2015, according to FBI reports. CNN.com January 12, 2017
Genocide is defined as the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. New Oxford American Dictionary.
the discrepancies of de jure versus de facto practices underline the need for systematic training, especially of police, correctional personnel, teachers, healthcare workers and the judiciary, to understand the rights and the situation of transgender people. transrespect-transphobia.org
So far we have a current count of 27 trans females of color who have been reported murdered in 2016. This does not account for all the other transcides. We have barriers that skew the data. (1) The media misgendering trans-identified victims (2) Misgendering by police in homicide, coroners and health care professionals when names on the birth certificates and or driver’s licenses do not match the outer appearances of the victim (3) Family request that the person is not identified by their preferred identity.” Dani Castro, MA MFT, Project Director, Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, UCSF.
The way we use language matters a great deal when discussing the transgender and gender variant population. More importantly, the LGBT population does not exist on the JSO site, while many subordinate classes do, these demographics do not include same-sex households or LGBT subordinate standing in socioeconomics.
In a 2013 report, put out by the National Coalition of Anti Violence Programs, 72% of homicide victims in LGBT-related hate crimes were transgender women of color. This risk increases with intersectionalities; race, religion, and gender. People of color, especially those, who are trans female, run the highest risk for homicide.
Remarks made by some allies that we do not include the LGBT population because they do not fall under the umbrella for hate crimes is misleading. Since when does a demographic, such as a number of single households, require the subordinate class qualify for protection against hate crimes before this subordinate class is included in demographics?
The focus of courts remains on isolating individual racists, determining their racist intent and punishing them, while disregarding mani-festations of systemic racial subordination such as substandard housing, education, and employment and the widespread incarceration of people of color. Chicano – Latino Law Review page 46 Volume 21:38
Dean Spade points out that Mathew Shepherd’s murder in Wyoming drew media and national attention “while historical specificities of geography, nationality, race and class were obscured.” Chicano – Latino Law Review page 48 Volume 21:38
Spade reminds us that months before Shepard’s murder, a black trans woman who was murdered in Baltimore never “garnered” the attention of media or nationally. Spade writes “The newsworthiness of “Matthew Shepherd” is testament to value placed on white life-even gay white life-and the disposability of people of color in the United States.” Chicano – Latino Law Review page 49 Volume 21:38
We cannot ignore that intersectionalities within the LGBT community are often ignored when fighting for protections. The beast is displaced on the individuals who commit hate crimes and not the systems that are behind them.
One of the reasons some of us have struggled with the ally campaigns has much to do with who stands behind them while the subordinate class are left in the shadows; the erasure of those who are affected as a subordinate class often are silenced if not censored in the process when seeking protections for reasons that range from Not looking presentable and convincing enough to pass as male or female (forcing the binary presentations as a standing rule that affirms the need to erase those who do not pass) to ensuring that presentations are more aligned with their own. While the allies (most with white guilt complexes and privilege) express that collectively they represent a population of civic leaders and those in positions with privilege are much more apt to persuade the political agendas of those who serve our communities, we ignore the fact that this alone isn’t going to make the problem of disparities affecting the intersectionalities of the subordinate LGBT class disappear, when institutions fail to address the problems within their own borders.
In “A Critique of ‘Our Constitution is Color-Blind’ Neil Gotanda” Spade includes much of Gotanda’s writings. When women do not have access to birth control or abortion, their autonomy is erased, especially when they are women of color. The systemic regulations of gender, race, and sexuality determine social constructs and protections of various classes.
We are dealing with classism and historically we have failed to see it unfold when we have privilege as white people, but even more so, we fail to recognize this privilege as cisgender heterosexual and gay and lesbian individuals.
Classism determines who gets to use the bathroom.
The bathroom is a huge issue for anyone who perceives transgender people as threats. In Northern California, Gender Spectrum has successfully tackled the issues. In the end? we simply want to be able to access bathrooms as anyone else.
We must change the way society immediately wants to “fix” what they perceive as a “problem” by voting against our better interests.
We are not looking for a fix. We are looking for protection. Worldwide homicides of the LGBT are reported with the trans community most at risk. What does this mean for the way society views male roles? Does society punish those who are fluid in their maleness? Do we punish the male child for being effeminate? Do we blame the parent? What do we do with blame? Where do we put the blame? Do we displace the blame back on society? Can we say that classism is at the root of these issues? What about Colonialism? Before Colonialism, tribes and indigenous groups expressed and lived with gender fluid identities in peace and harmony.
We saw we heard, we felt every word cast against us in the form of accusations at the 2012 hearings on the HRO. Pedophilia …, bestiality …
The bathroom issue has included these horrific accusations and has caused harm to people. Our fate hinges on writing public policy to include language critical to human rights or we forfeit our rights to gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation. We cannot and should not stand by and say nothing when hate spewed speeches and practices go unfettered: we should call for consequences. But, even if these rights are enacted into law, we still have much work ahead. We will continue to receive incoming reports on trans suicides and homicides.
We heard from the Florida Family Policy Council at the hearings during the 2012 HRO.
They are against the Florida Competitive Workforce Act which would offer protections.
We must stand in solidarity and continue to educate on cultural competency and talk openly about classism and colonialism. For those of us who are activists and whose life work is to address the issues, we all contribute doing this life work as individuals and collectively we are able to penetrate stagnant environments with the hope to make a difference.
We cannot overlook “pinkwashing” and expect that the world will be safer tomorrow because the HRO was enacted.
We look at efforts put forth by others as an improvement, which can give us a false sense of security, such as, failing to recognize pinkwashing at the cost of our community. Where were these entities yesterday when we needed them? As soon as there is an opportunity to make money, there is an opportunity to get in on the action. Is it then really about our rights? Will it reduce the homicide rates? What about the suicide rates? Politicians and anyone with a business acumen would be hard pressed to pass up bills that could potentially increase profits; hinging on through whose lens we are looking. Some would say that it is a start in the direction towards inclusivity. How inclusive is it when some of these NFP organizations who taut they care about LGBT individuals fail to put into practice what they preach?
In Jacksonville, FL downtown’s First Baptist church has influenced many of its congregants, some of whom were city council members during the 2012 Human Rights Ordinance and who flat out voted against it. Who benefits from the economic decisions that support conservative climates vs liberal climates? We continue to fight for rights despite the victory in 2017. We fight over if we get rights then others will lose rights in agreeing to our rights. Activists uncover truths, take incredible risks and sometimes at the cost of incarceration or deportation. The list of fighting for rights is endless. We are paving the way for the future to improve the lives of all generations and we all have a different sense of what this landscape looks like. We have Target announcing they will no longer gender toys (where and when is that being put into actual effect in NEFL?) and ACLU defending trans rights. We have scholars, attorneys, parents and grandparents who take up fighting for LGBT rights. The road to freedom will always be lifelong for many people while opportunistic for others.
‘Society’ in the New Oxford dictionary lists people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations. We have biblical interpretations manipulated by those to suit their biases – stigmatizing populations. Stigma drives fear. Fear drives people to behave in unreasonable ways, sometimes fully supported by mainstream society or those serving in civic and corporate leadership positions, who have very little understanding outside of their own biased narratives. The passing of laws to protect LGBT people hinges on enforcing them. We know that in some parts of the country psychologists continue treatment modalities to reverse a child’s “sexual orientation” or “gender identity/expression” known as Reparative Therapy. We now know that Reparative Therapy is damaging to the psyche of people: hard to argue the statistics that include reports of suicide. California was the first State to outlaw Reparative Therapy. According to HRC “California, New Jersey, Oregon and the District of Columbia have passed laws to prevent licensed providers from offering conversion therapy to minors, and at least 18 states have introduced similar legislation. http://www.equalityfederation.org/2016/02/3506/
The vicious cycle of homicides and suicides are driven by harmful, anticipatory fear-based reactions, loss of hope and no laws to protect us. A San Francisco based operation Trans Lifeline was started in 2014. This suicide prevention hot-line is different from all the others. It is run by trans people who know what it is like to struggle and not have support; they understand the issues affecting our population.
http://www.advocate.com/health/2014/11/25/new-suicide-hotline-dedicated-trans-people-now-open-calls. These people are our angels. Support groups are critical in reducing suicide.
CNN.com published an op-ed piece titled The fascinating if unreliable, history of hate crime tracking in the US. “Since the data collection began, the FBI has published hate crime statistics from 1996 to, most recently, 2015. In 2015, there were 5,818 hate crime incidents reported, the majority of which were biased toward race and ethnicity. There were about 340 more hate crimes in 2015 than in 2014.”
Even within our own LGBT borders, we experience stigma as trans people: this audio has soundtracks familiar to anyone experiencing any type of stigma. Our goal is to affect change in the way others view someone’s journey so that the individual does not have to live in fear or have to seek protection. We need to use language through narratives. We owe this to future generations. Our children and youth should have opportunities to look forward in sharing narratives without shame and in being able to live authentically as who they are in life. We need to talk about gender and sex rearing assignments that are tied into the binary models of male vs female limiting the role models we offer young children. We risk also in displacing intersex children. We need to talk about more than just male and female gender and move beyond the binary rules for gender assignments. We have a disconnect between communities of people who are different from us. We share commonalities within our communities until it is about our sexual orientation and identities and how we express outside of the binary roles.
The standards by which our children live doesn’t always match our ideologies and we freak out without clearly understanding what drives our fears.
Is it any wonder why we are hesitant to Come Out? There is a risk in Coming Out. It is understandable that Coming Out may necessitate follow-up of specialized care, protections, and actions to spare a life. It makes sense to own who we are, but even more so, protect those around us by getting laws passed for protections. Even then …, we will still need to get to the root of the problem that exists within our society.
According to the WILLIAMS INSTITUTE report, 57% of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals experience isolation from their families
These are statistics on transgender and gender non-conforming individuals directly taken from this report from FINDINGS OF THE NATIONAL TRANSGENDER SURVEY: 50-54% are bullied at school, 63-78% encounter physical or sexual violence in school, 50-59% encounter harassment at work and discrimination; 64-65% encounter physical or sexual violence in the workplace while, 60% are refused care in the healthcare system; 57-61% are disrespected and harassed by law enforcement officers while 60-70% encountered physical or sexual violence, 69% are homeless.”
We cannot underrate the person’s Coming Out journey and we cannot afford to remain insensitive and closed off to information, data and research if we are ever to live in a civil society. We cannot hope to see crime rates drop in homicides until we are open to other cultures.
Children need a space to figure out who they are without shame – so not one gay, trans or intersex person should have to fight for having a human right. Anything less is dehumanizing. Nothing is gained from subjecting anyone to this rhetoric that comes slated with predetermined notions and is not void of consequences. We want our “language” understood and not dismissed as unwarranted.
What information is shared at city council in getting the human rights ordinance passed is critical.
Are we presenting packaged language in getting whatever we can to pass and worry about the rest later? Black Lives Matter is a powerful title. In an article by Rose Hackman, June 26, 2015 target=”_blank”>http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/26/how-white-americans-can-fight-racism “‘I am not interested in white allies. What we need are co-conspirators’, Feminista Jones, a 36-year-old social worker, and writer shouted into a bullhorn” during a rally and protest on behalf of Black Lives Matter among a group of 100 mourners who gathered in solidarity over the massacre that took place in Charleston in June of 2015. Jones supports solidarity and does not advocate placing the focus of these issues on the privileged group. She is clear that co-conspirators need to stand up for the black community as much as we are clear that we need co-conspirators to stand with us and speak our language, use our preferred pronouns and break down the language, so it understood by those who must cast a vote; not tightly packaged as fully inclusive without breaking this down. As Dean Spade said in an interview “The seduction of legal equality appears to be very significant in certain strains of LGBT politics, regardless of the availability of critical understanding of its limits.”
We cannot believe that just because our rights got voted in that they are respected and understood and therefore a moot issue. We must keep the communication inclusive using language that addresses the LGBTI culture.
In closing; We do not have a trans centered space anywhere except for support groups in NEFL. We cannot afford to agree to not agree when it is at the cost of the trans community. We must avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy of ill-reputed fate.
We must not fool ourselves into believing that by having a human rights ordinance bill with language “fully inclusive” that this will mean that people are protected. Back in 2014, during a PFLAG meeting with local candidates in Jacksonville, we learned that the language fully inclusive altered the vote once the candidates understood what this meant; They changed their vote once they understood that it meant passing rights for gender identity and expression. It was apparent that they had very little understanding about gender identities and expression. We know they have very little statistical data from which they base their biased views. They are not looking at transgender and gender non-variant murder rates any more than they are paying attention to the suicide rates and attempted suicide by youth. We know that our city does not extrapolate this data because it isn’t separated in any way at the databanks when homicides and suicides are reported. We must expect better data collecting practices and do something with this information to reduce crime and address suicide.
Our work is to replace presumptions that stigmatize people, to continue educating on cultural competency that helps people understand and respect differences, so our future journeys don’t have to be “secretive” and we can live in truth and not in fear of our identities. We want to expand roles and move away from insisting that binary identities must match the sex assignments at birth. We marginalize people ranging from intersex to trans identities.