Data collected on LGBT homicides will significantly alter the way we react to news about killings 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 disparity with data for LGBT murders – if it is disclosed 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, 2011, December 15).
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 meet the definition of genocide.
In 2013, the FBI began recording hate crimes motivated by gender and gender identification biases — such as, attacks on transgender people. Crimes motivated by gender identification rose from 31 in 2013 to 114 in 2015, according to FBI reports (CNN.com, 2017, January 12).
Genocide: 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, M.A., M.F.T., 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 community does not exist on the JSO site, while many classes do, these demographics do not include same-sex households or LGBT 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 some single households, need the subordinate class to qualify for protection against hate crimes before including this class 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
One of the reasons some of us have struggled with the ally campaigns is because as a class we are left in the shadows and listen to the erasure and silencing of the subordinate class censored when seeking protection. The reasons range from Not looking presentable and convincingly enough to pass as male or female. Insisting on forcing the binary presentations as a standing rule. Those in privileged classes are more likely to persuade the political agendas of those who serve our communities. The disparities affecting the intersectionalities of the LGBT class won’t disappear when institutions fail to discuss the issues within their own contexts.
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 differences in classism. 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 or gay and lesbian people.
Classism determines who gets to use the bathroom.
The bathroom is a huge issue for anyone who perceives transgender people as threats.
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, the trans community is most at risk for homicides and in particularly with trans females of color. 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, 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 give up our rights to gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation. We need to stand by and address hate spewed speeches and practices or they go unfettered: and call for consequences. But, even if these rights go 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. 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? Politicians and anyone with 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 not-for-profit organizations taut they care about LGBT people 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 freedoms. 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 some of us have a different sense of how this landscape looks. The fight for fairness 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 irrational 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/).
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 (2015) 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: soundtracks familiar to anyone experiencing any type of shame. Our goal is to affect change so that individuals do not have to live in fear or seek protection. Our children and youth need opportunities to share their lived experiences without shame; live authentically as who they are in life. We need to talk about gender and sex-rearing assignments tied into the binary models of male vs. female, limiting the role models we offer young children. We also risk 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 expressions outside of 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 when there is a risk in doing so? It is understandable that individuals Coming Out may need specialized care and protections to spare a life.
According to the WILLIAMS INSTITUTE report, (2019) 57% of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals experience isolation from their families.
Statistics on transgender and gender non-conforming people are directly taken from the 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% face 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 stay 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 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.
The type of information in getting the human rights ordinance pass at city council is critical.
Are we presenting packaged language in getting whatever we can to pass to worry about the rest later? Black Lives Matter is a compelling title. In an article by Rose Hackman, (2015, June 26) 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.”
Unfortunately, just because our rights got voted in, doesn’t mean we don’t have work ahead of us in addressing the need for an all-inclusive language.
A human rights ordinance bill with language “fully inclusive” does not guarantee protection for LGBT people. 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 realized that it meant passing rights for gender identity and expression. It was clear 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 data reports of the LGBTQIA population for homicides and death by suicides. We must expect better data collecting practices and do something with this information to reduce crime and address deaths by suicide.
Our work is to replace presumptions that stigmatize people, to continue educating on cultural competency to help people understand and respect differences so we can live in truth. We want to expand roles and move away from insisting that binary identities must match the sex assignments at birth. In closing; We need trans-inclusive spaces.