10 MAY 2007
TRANSGENDER PEOPLE ARE STILL FIGHTING FOR RIGHTS THAT GAYS AND
LESBIANS NOW TAKE FOR GRANTED: SALLY GOLDNER REPORTS in Melbourne’s MCV on 10th
May 2007: “Trans people have a long way to go
before they achieve equity, or win full and consistent legal protection at
State and Federal levels” Sally said, after reporting on the vicious attacks on
a Gippsland trans woman 18 months ago, when TransGender Victoria was contacted
by her after she had been discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt.
Current anti-discrimination legislation across all states and territories is
flawed where gender issues are concerned.
TransGender Victoria believes that all states need services similar to
those provided by Sydney’s Gender Centre, which is “committed to developing and
providing services and activities which enhance the ability of people with
gender issues to make informed choices”, and Tasmania’s “Working It Out”
“Trans people have a long way to go before they achieve equity, or win full and consistent legal protection at State and Federal levels” Sally said, after reporting on the vicious attacks on a Gippsland trans woman 18 months ago, when TransGender Victoria was contacted by her after she had been discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt.
Current anti-discrimination legislation across all states and territories is flawed where gender issues are concerned.
TransGender Victoria believes that all states need services similar to those provided by Sydney’s Gender Centre, which is “committed to developing and providing services and activities which enhance the ability of people with gender issues to make informed choices”, and Tasmania’s “Working It Out” programme.
Sally concludes: “So how to change this situation? Personally, I take the view that if I was realistic regarding my gender, I’d still be trying to live male and be very depressed or very dead. ‘Realism’ got me nowhere. So it’s time to take the same approach as a community and not settle for political realism. Rather, it is time to fight for the justice and equity we all desire and deserve.”TransGender
13 SEPTEMBER 2007
In Melbourne’s MCV (13.9.07) George Dunford reported that in Federal Parliament Green’s Senator Kerry Nettle made sure Foreign Minister Downer wasn’t relaxed or comfortable about the government’s stance on transgendered Australians when she posed questions to the minister about recent changes in passport legislation.
The changes mean that trans Australians can no longer apply for passports with their identifying gender, so they can only travel under a Document of Travel. Using this paperwork can create bureaucratic confusion, stress and unwanted attention at customs. In some countries the document may not even be recognised, placing trans Australians at risk of being deported.
“Transgender people who are travelling [overseas] will now be more vulnerable to abuse and discrimination,” Nettle told Downer. “The Greens want to know,” she said, “how the Government intends to ensure the safety of transgender Australians who wish to travel overseas.” She went on to chastise the Howard Government for “creating more” discrimination and charged that: “It is the government’s responsibility to protect all Australians.”
18 JUNE 2008
We have been given permission by Denise Leclair to reproduce the following article by Nancy Nangeroni from "Transgender Tapestry", posted on 16 October 2002:
18 NOVEMBER 2010
Article in Southern Star 18 November 2010
This Saturday is International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Set aside to memorialise those who have been killed due to transphobic hatred or prejudice, it’s hoped the day will also raise public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people.
The event is held to honour Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the ‘Remembering Our Dead’ web project and candlelight vigil in 1999.
An Australian and New Zealand study on transgender issues in 2007 — written by La Trobe University’s Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria — shows trans acceptance in Australia still has a long way to go.
The study found 87.4 percent of respondents had experienced at least one form of stigma or discrimination on the basis of gender. Social forms of stigma such as verbal abuse, social exclusion and having rumours spread about them were reported by half the participants.
A third had been threatened with violence. A similar number reported receiving lesser treatment due to their name or gender on documents; as well as being refused employment or promotion. Almost a quarter had been refused services and 19 percent physically attacked. Many participants also admitted to keeping their gender identity to themselves, or to only express it in private, and in safe spaces.
Only 18.2 percent had reported incidents to police and of those that did report, less than half (34.8 percent) were treated with courtesy and dignity.
“We need to honour not only trans people who die as a direct result of physical violence, but also the many trans people who have suicided as a response to not being able to live as who they are without facing harassment, vilification, isolation and distress,” said executive director of the National LGBT Health Alliance, Gabi Rosenstreich.
“The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a call to end the transphobia that damages and ends so many people’s lives. It is, however, also a reminder of the inspiring resilience of so many gender diverse people who live lives of dignity and joy in the face of continuing discrimination.”
In a positive sign of improving attitudes domestically, the Australian Defense Force has recently agreed to pay for sex-change operations for a soldier. The move was highlighted by the case of Bridget Clinch, who was initially told by the Defense Force that she would be discharged on medical grounds after seeking a sex-change operation.
The ADF reviewed their policy and reinstated her earlier this year, agreeing to pay for the operation. According to Defence Force policy, a soldier is entitled to medical treatment, if they have an officially diagnosed condition and the operation is assessed as necessary for the health and deployment prospects of personnel.info: Visit www.transgenderdor.org
9 MAY 2011
The following two items were received from the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) on 9 May 2011. The video mentioned in the article is too upsetting to be put on this web page, but if anyone wants to see it, it can probably be found on the web.
A video of a vicious beating at a Baltimore County McDonald's restaurant went viral Friday, garnering hundreds of thousands of views on websites and prompting the fast-food giant to issue a statement condemning the incident.
The video shows two women — one of them a 14-year-old girl — repeatedly kicking and punching the 22-year-old victim in the head, as an employee of the Rosedale restaurant and a patron try to intervene. Others can be heard laughing, and men are seen standing idly by. Toward the end of the video, one of the suspects lands a punishing blow to the victim's head, and she appears to have a seizure. A man's voice tells the women to run because police are coming.
The three-minute clip was apparently first posted on YouTube, then taken down by administrators who said it violated the site's policies. But it popped back up on other sites and was ultimately linked from the popular Drudge Report, which gave it top billing for much of the day.
By early evening, the video had received more than 500,000 views on one site alone. County police confirmed that the attack occurred April 18 in the 6300 block of Kenwood Ave. Police said the 14-year-old girl has been charged as a juvenile, while charges were pending against an 18-year-old woman.
Equality Maryland said the victim is a transgender woman and called on state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler to step in and investigate the case as a hate crime. Police and prosecutors said they did not know whether the victim is a transgender woman.
"It does appear that the victim was a transgender woman, and she was brutalized while people stood by and watched," said Lisa Polyak, vice president of the board of directors for Equality Maryland, an advocacy organization that fought unsuccessfully in the past legislative session for greater protections for transgender individuals. "There's no excuse for that violence under any circumstances, but we would encourage police to investigate as a hate crime."
The police report does not provide a motive, but quotes one of the suspects saying that the fight was "over using a bathroom."
As the video spread online, McDonald's acknowledged that the attack had occurred in a Baltimore-area restaurant and said it was working with local police.
"We are shocked by the video from a Baltimore franchised restaurant showing an assault. This incident is unacceptable, disturbing and troubling," the company said in a statement posted on its website. "Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and employees in our restaurants. We are working with the franchisee and the local authorities to investigate this matter."
The video received widespread attention part because of the racial dynamics of the attack – the attackers were black, and the victim is white. State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger, who said he was unaware of the gender-related issues, said the racial dynamics of the incident could result in hate-crime charges.
"We just received this case, and the Police Department is continuing their investigation," Shellenberger said. "If there is evidence that the crime was racially motivated, we will take a look at those charges and see if we meet those elements. We have the ability, if the facts are there, to upgrade the charges at a later date."
The victim suffered cuts to her mouth and face, and a police report said she had been taken to Franklin Square Hospital Center in fair condition. Police said Friday they had no update on her status.
The video begins with two women near a bathroom door kicking and hitting a woman who is lying on the ground.
An employee repeatedly tries to separate them, but the attackers continue to stomp and kick the victim's head. People yell, "Stop! Stop!" to no avail, though others can be heard laughing. An older woman at one point also attempts to pull the attackers away and is shoved.
About halfway through the three-minute clip, the attackers rip a wig off the victim and drag her by her hair to the front door. That is where the victim is sitting before another blow to the head causes an apparent seizure.
Throughout the attack, a man is filming and does not intervene. But when the victim appears to have a seizure, he yells, "She having a seizure, yo. … Police on their way. Y'all better get out of here."
Through a McDonald's spokesman, the owner of the Rosedale restaurant released a statement. The chain said the owner and employees would not be made available for comment, including an update on possible discipline of the employees.
"I'm as shocked and disturbed by this incident as anyone would be. The behavior displayed in the video is unfathomable and reprehensible," said the franchise owner, Mitchell McPherson. "The safety of our customers is a top priority. We know the police were called immediately, and we are thoroughly investigating this matter.
9 MAY 2011
Baltimore County police have named the 18-year-old charged with beating a transgender woman at Rosedale McDonald's, amid demands from some community members that the incident be investigated as a hate crime. As charges formally filed vs. teen, transgender community plans rally at restaurant.
Teonna Monae Brown of the 2000 block of Kelbourne Road in Rosedale was charged in the attack on Chrissy Lee Polis. The incident was videotaped and went viral online late last week, with hundreds of thousands of views on various websites. The video shows Polis, 22, being kicked and punched in the head by two people until she appears to have a seizure. While one employee and a patron try to intervene, others can be seen standing and watching, and some are laughing.
Brown, who was arrested Friday, has been charged with one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault. She remains at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $150,000 bond.
A 14-year-old girl has also been charged in the attack, but her name has not been released because the charges were filed in juvenile court.
Scott Shellenberger, the state's attorney for Baltimore County, has said his office plans to gather additional evidence to determine whether the April 18 attack on Polis can be prosecuted as a hate crime.
Another woman filed assault charges against Brown in July, which prosecutors dropped three months later.
Sandy Rawls, founding director of Trans-United, a Baltimore-based group that fights discrimination against transgender people, said people hate what they do not understand. "When people see us, they don't understand us. So it's an educational problem," said Rawls, a transsexual woman who lives about a mile from the McDonald's. She also blamed "a violent culture."
"'Love thy neighbor' is fading," she said.
Rawls is helping to organize a rally for 7 p.m. Monday at the McDonald's in Rosedale, to raise awareness of hate crimes against the transgendered.
Andrew I. Alperstein, a defense attorney and a former Baltimore County prosecutor, said it is possible to add hate crime accusations after the initial charges are filed. He said the 14-year-old girl could be charged as an adult, but the state's attorney's office must see whether she has a previous record and evaluate her role in the attack, adding that "it was a horrible assault."
"A picture is worth a thousand words," he said.
McDonald's issued a statement condemning the beating, and the owner of the Rosedale restaurant announced Saturday afternoon that the employee who taped the beating had been fired.
While Alperstein said the employee who taped the incident faces little liability for not stopping the fight, he could be held criminally liable if found to have encouraged the fight.
Alperstein predicted that McDonald's would likely face a civil lawsuit because it has a duty to protect its customers.
By Sunday evening, a Facebook page titled "Chrissy Lee Polis" with a picture of the McDonald's arches had more than 800 people who "liked" the page. Many of the posters on the page pledged their support and provided words of comfort, and several identified themselves as transgender.
One poster, Robyn Webb, has a teleconferencing company, TG Works, that is collecting funds to help pay for Polis' medical bills and help her relocate. Polis, who has not had a job or a stable place to stay for the past two years, has said she has been living with friends in the area.
Webb thought the incident should be prosecuted as a hate crime.
The police report does not provide a motive, but it quotes one of the suspects saying that the fight was "over using a bathroom." In the report, officers said the teens accused Polis of going into the wrong one.
Many transgender individuals face public accommodation issues, Webb said.
Donna Plamondon, who is transgender, plans to attend the rally for Polis. "It does my heart good to see the outpouring of support" for the community, she said.
She too called the incident an apparent hate crime.
"People are waking up that this is what life is like for a transgender," she said. "Why would you choose to put yourself in this position every day?"
At least six transgender people have been murdered in Puerto Rico in the last 12 months — but none have been recorded as hate crimes.According to Sophia Isabel Marro Cruz, the spokeswoman for Transexuales y Transgeneros en Marcha (Transexuals and Transgenders On The Move): “None of these cases have been considered by the State as hate crimes despite offenders even admitting that their motivation was the ‘homosexual panic’. This shows an extreme level of homophobia and transphobia.”
‘Homosexual panic’ is an acute, brief reactive psychosis suffered by the target of unwanted homosexual advances. It has been used legally by those defending a person charged with murder.
In 1995, one of the highest-profile cases to make use of the gay panic defense was the Michigan trial of Jonathan Schmitz, who killed his friend Scott Amedure after learning, during a taping of The Jenny Jones Show, that Amedure was sexually attracted to him. Schmitz confessed to committing the crime but claimed that Amedure’s homosexual overtures angered and humiliated him.
It was also attempted by the murderers of Matthew Sheppard in Wyoming in 1998.
A transgender variation of the gay panic defense was also used in 2004–2005 in California by the three defendants in the Gwen Araujo homicide case, who claimed that they were enraged by the discovery that Araujo, a transgender teenager with whom they had engaged in sex, had male genitalia. The first trial resulted in a jury deadlock; in the second, defendants Mike Magidson and Jose Merél were convicted of second-degree murder, while the jury again deadlocked in the case of Jason Cazares. Cazares later entered a plea of no contest to charges of voluntary manslaughter.
Cruz says that websites documenting murders of transgender people only list one during 2011, but her organization knows of six, possibly seven.
“The most notorious was Karlota, a 19 year old who was murdered on gay pride day in Santurce. But that isn’t the only murder here. We know of one young woman who was murdered in Ponce in September. Two more were shot and then run over in the south near that same time. Another was shot in a fight while trying to help another woman. The last one was beaten until she died. We even think there’s another one from Manatí, in the northern part of the island, but we cannot confirm it yet.”
The attacks come amid growing fundamentalist rhetoric on the island. Gay and transgender people say it has become socially acceptable to despise them.
“You have religious and political leaders saying: ‘Gays don’t matter; they are the devil and twisted,’” said Pedro Julio Serrano, the communications manager for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
“That’s inciting violence. We have not seen anything like this here since the 1980s.” Activists say that the government has failed to implement anti-discrimination policy and remains largely mute on the disturbing trend.
Latino Commission on AIDS organizer Yanira Arias, said: “Transgender women are fighting for their lives in Puerto Rico. It’s unconscionable that the national and state justice systems are not doing more to protect them and document these beatings and murders as hate-crimes, we are talking about human beings, which today continue to be the most marginalized and violated when it comes the full respect of human and civil rights.”
Dr. Elba Diaz, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, said: “Many people here are trying to reduce LGBTT health disparities, but the lack of consistent acknowledgement or data from federal agencies makes our local social justice and health goals that much more difficult to achieve.”
Puerto Rico has had a hate crime law since 2002 covering crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but activists say that authorities are not using it.
Published in Melbourne Community Voice:
Transgender Day of Remembrance occurs annually on November 20. The day is to commemorate those who have been murdered or lost their lives due to transphobia. TransGender Victoria media spokesperson Sally Goldner writes about what the day means to her.
I always find my thoughts, feelings and emotions to be split on Transgender Day of Remembrance. Balancing hope and realism, local and global and many other factors always has some degree of paradox. Let me explain...
I’ll start on a positive note. While wary of sweeping statements like “things are better now,” I am convinced there is a more positive attitude about trans issues in Australia than was the case five, ten or fifteen years ago.
Mainstream media articles about trans adults are generally more positive and less disrespectful. An article in the weekend magazine of a mainstream paper three months ago on trans young people, often a target of “double-barrel sensationalism” for some media, was one of the best I’ve seen. One mainstream media article recently added a footnote about pronoun issues. While these steps may not be earth shattering, they are an improvement and a demonstration of things going in the right direction.
Further, positive visibility of trans people is at an all-time high. Lana Wachowski’s amazing speech at the Human Rights Campaign awards, Chaz Bono on the American Dancing with the Stars, and Paige Phoenix’s outing himself on Australia’s X-Factor in 2011, and the positive response to all three people gives huge encouragement to trans people to take a step or two towards ‘coming out’.
Unfortunately, this is where the glass starts to get half-empty. The huge shortage of structured support, and that law/policy reform is way behind, create nasty bottlenecks for trans people who muster courage to take a tenuous step. Further, variations geographically exacerbate these bottlenecks. The few trans-friendly resources are concentrated in metropolitan regions (and largely inner metro at that) while outer suburbs and regional/rural are generally further behind.
Variations by state and territory also need highlighting. As an example, a search using the resources listing on the Zoe Belle Gender Centre’s website gives 21 resources for counselling and therapy in Victoria and only two in Queensland. Finally, given total numbers of psychologists and psychiatrists alone (two such professional bodies have a combined 22,000 members) this indicates great distance to travel. Other factors are the severe shortage of support networks for partners of trans people, parents of trans children and an often overlooked area, children with trans parents – and children can be of all ages.
In some ways, this all pales into insignificance when considering the original theme of the Transgender Day of Remembrance: acknowledging violent deaths of trans people due to transphobia. Trans people in so many countries still experience extreme violence. My heart breaks every time one particularly hard-working trans activist in Turkey (a country where things seem incredibly bad) reports of another transphobic murder. What’s worse, this representative often reports these are so-called ‘honour killings’ where a family member candidly admits to the murder. Regardless of the motive, recent reports from countries such as the USA and France of vicious transphobic crimes show a long road ahead to achieve the basic human right of physical safety.
I know many trans people find TDR very uncomfortable due to these themes. I believe we need to face the reality that these issues exist and by standing together we can ease the discomfort.
Last year’s event organised by YGender (a support network for trans*, genderqueer and gender questioning young people) was a great example of this. While the details of different murders from around the world including Australia were read out, having the community together did help and I know I felt stronger at the end of the event.
So what can we do to go further forward? Many years ago, Paula Gerber – the then Amnesty queer representative and until recently VEOHRC board member – stated adamantly that in this increasingly linked world, when, for example, Australia takes a step forward, this gives hope to people where life is worse. I believe being proactive and assertive regarding trans rights can make both a difference, both practically and spiritually for trans people elsewhere.
So on November 20, remembrance takes various forms. Take a moment to remember those lost through transphobia, both in direct violence and due to prejudice that leads to death in other ways. I personally also remember those trans people who have left us for any reason. Also take a moment to remember those trans people whose courage and originality are making a difference. Courage in this case definitely includes those trans people who simply come out. To allies of trans people, challenge transphobia whenever possible.
Remember, any steps that ‘act local’ will end up being global.
N.B. The significance of the asterisk in trans* is to make it a more inclusive term.
About the AuthorSally Goldner:
Sally Goldner has been an active participant in Melbourne’s queer community for the last fourteen years. This includes ongoing involvement with TransGender Victoria, 3 CR’s “Out of the Pan,” Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, and Bisexual Alliance Victoria. Previous involvement includes PolyVic, Zoe Belle Gender Centre, JOY, BENT TV and Seahorse Club of Victoria. She is the focus of an autobiographical documentary Sally’s Story and was noted in The Age’s 100 most creative and influential people in Melbourne in 2011.
Victims stabbed, shot, dragged, maimed or burned for being who they are21 November 2012 | By Greg Hernandez
So far in 2012, 265 transgender people have been murdered worldwide and the brutality of their deaths is detailed in a video released Tuesday (20 November) which is Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The video, from the Gay Alliance Against Defamation, contains descriptions of the murders, many which are repeated stabbings or shootings. Some victims were tortured, others burned, at least one was dragged and some were maimed - just because they were different.
'They did nothing wrong,' the video states. 'They were transgender.'
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and began the annual event.
'We needed some way to come together and mourn collectively and remember those that we've lost,' Mason Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco says in the video. 'It's also become a day where we think about what the world should look like and hope for a day when we no longer have to lose so many people each year.'
Davis adds: 'Unfortunately, every year it seems like every month we are hearing about somebody we've lost in California, in the United States, people we've lost internationally. It's an important day to remember who we are as transgender people and remember those we have lost due to hate violence.'
Below is the video and here is a list of people who died because of anti-transgender violence in 2012.
Sally Goldner, the head of Transgender Victoria, is the winner of this year's GLBTI Person of the year award. Photo: Eddie Jim
On Friday it was Sally Goldner's birthday.
Fifty years ago she was born in a Melbourne hospital and recorded as male. And for almost three decades, the life that followed was a very lonely one.
I thought, I don't fit in here. It was a really scary thing.Sally Goldner
On her first day of school, she walked into a classroom at an all-boys school and was taken aback to find it filled with 20 boys: "I thought, I don't fit in here. It was a really scary thing."
It was the '70s. No internet. No online forums. No helplines. No chance to search out others who could answer the questions she carried around in her head. Thirteen years of isolation and bullying at school followed.
But at age 29, never having heard the word "transgender" , Goldner confided in a friend about her desire to present – and live – as a female. That conversation "blew the volcano crater open", she says.
After a bad experience with a psychiatrist who tried "conversion" therapy, Goldner tracked down a practitioner who talked about masculinity and femininity and introduced her to the term "transgender" – people whose gender identity or expression is different from that which was recorded at birth or expected of them by society.
"Being able to reframe things meant everything made sense. I began to have a vision of the future," Goldner says.
It was a future that has continued to evolve. In time, Goldner realised she was bisexual – attracted to more than one gender – and needed to live as female full time.
And despite the pressure at the time (even within the trans community) for people who wanted to permanently affirm an gender identity to undergo surgery, Goldner realised this was not something she needed to do.
Goldner is the winner of this year's GLBTI Person of the Year award, part of the annual GLOBE (Gay and Lesbian Organisation of Business and Enterprise) community awards.
Her win is recognition of her involvement in Melbourne's LGBTI community for 17 years, advocating for the rights and prominence of transgender people.
It also recognises her work at Transgender Victoria, where she is executive director, as presenter of 3CR's Out of the Pan radio show and treasurer of the Bisexual Alliance, Victoria.
The other finalists were Jason Ball, a mental health advocate and the first AFL footballer on any level to publicly come out as gay, and Lucy Thomas, a board member of Minus18 and co-founder of Project Rockit, an anti-bullying organisation.
"Sally exemplifies the reason that we created the GLOBE Community Awards – to recognise those people that dedicate their lives to make Victoria one of the best places to identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex," said GLOBE president David Micallef.
A current focus of Goldner's work at Transgender Victoria includes law reform that would allow for changes in gender on birth certificates to be based on self-affirmed identity rather than a surgical basis, as it currently stands. The preferred scenario is legal in the ACT.
And despite shifts in societal attitudes towards people who are trans and gender-diverse, discrimination still exists, she says, and support and health and medical services lag behind.
Goldner supports the push for marriage equality, but says it has become a "bottleneck" that has prevented the airing of other issues that affect LGBTI people.
She wants more recognition of "diversity within diversity", such as the voices of LGBTI sex workers or people with disabilities who are LGBTI.
"We're supposed to be about equality and equity, and it's critical that we keep going in the right direction," she says.
Goldner is also a life member of the Seahorse Club of Victoria, the Zoe Belle Gender Collective, the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and Polyvic, a group for Melbourne's polyamorous community.
The 17th International Transgender Day of Remembrance is being held on November 20th 2015: Since 1999 the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a day to remember those trans people who have been victims of homicide, takes place every November. The TDOR raises public awareness of hate crimes against trans people, provides a space for public mourning and honours the lives of those trans people who might otherwise be forgotten. It began in the USA but the TDoR is now held in many parts of the world. In the past, events to commemorate the day were held in more than 180 cities in more than 20 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.
Sadly, this year there are 271 trans persons to be added to the list to be remembered, mourned and honoured.
The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project started in 2008 and systematically monitors, collects and analyses reports of homicides of trans people worldwide.
Updates of the results, which have been presented in July 2009 for the first time, are published on the website of the “Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide” project two to three times a year in form of tables, name lists, and maps: http://transrespect.org/en/trans-murder-monitoring/tmm-resources/ Every year in November, Transgender Europe provides a special update of the TMM results for the International Transgender Day of Remembrance so as to assist activists worldwide in raising public awareness of hate crimes against trans people. The TDOR 2015 update has revealed a total of 271 cases of reported killings of trans people from October 1st 2014 to September 30th 2015: EN_TvT-TMM-Namelist-TDOR-2015 Oct 2014 – Sep 2015
The update shows reports of murdered trans people in 29 countries in the last 12 months, with the majority from Brazil (118), Mexico (34), the USA (27), and Colombia (15). In Asia most reported cases have been found in Pakistan (7) and India (6), and in Europe in Turkey (3) and Italy (2).
The TDOR 2015 update (download updated TvT-TMM-Tables_2008-2015_EN here) reveals a total of 1,933 reported killings of trans people in 64 countries worldwide from January 1st 2008 to September 30th 2015. It is important to note that these cases are those that could be found through Internet research and through cooperation with trans organizations and activists. In most countries, data on murdered trans people are not systematically produced and it is impossible to estimate the numbers of unreported cases.
Throughout all six world regions, the highest absolute numbers have been found in countries with strong trans movements and trans or LGBT organizations that do a professional monitoring: Brazil (770), Mexico (217), Colombia (98), Venezuela (90) and Honduras (79) in Central and South America, the USA (129) in North America, Turkey (39) and Italy (32) in Europe, and India (53), the Philippines (37) and Pakistan (34) in Asia.
While Brazil, Mexico, and the USA have the highest absolute numbers, the relative numbers show even more worrisome results for some countries with smaller population sizes. Honduras, for instance, has a rate of 9.56 reported trans killings per million inhabitants, for Guyana the rate is 5.00, while for Brazil the rate is 3.84, for Mexico the rate is 1.77, and for the USA the rate is 0.40. (See the relative numbers map here)
The close connection between the existence of strong trans movements and professional monitoring on the one hand, and highest absolute numbers of reports, on the other hand, point to a worrisome question: the question of unreported cases. Beside the need for mechanisms to protect trans people, this connection also shows the need for strong trans communities and organizations, which are capable of professional monitoring and reporting of violence against trans people. Furthermore this connection results in the fact, that the figures show only the tip of the iceberg of homicides of trans people on a worldwide scale.
More than 1,500 reported murders of trans people in Central and South America since 2008
The new result update moreover reveals that in the last 7 ½ years:
1,507 killings of trans people have been reported in Central and South America, which account for 78 % of the globally reported murders of trans people since January 2008. In this region, there has been the strongest increase in reports and with 23 countries Central and South America is the best documented region.
174 killings of trans people have been reported in Asia in 16 countries;
134 killings of trans people have been reported in North America;
104 killings of trans people have been reported in Europe in 15 countries;
9 killings of trans people have been reported in Africa in 4 countries;
5 killings of trans people have been reported in Oceania in 4 countries.
While the documentation of killings of trans people is indispensable for demonstrating the shocking extent of human rights violations committed against trans people on a global scale, there is also a need for in-depth research of various other aspects related to the human rights situation of trans people. Therefore, Transgender Europe developed the Trans Murder Monitoring project into the ‘Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide’ research project (TvT). TvT is a comparative, ongoing qualitative-quantitative research project, which provides an overview of the human rights situation of trans people in different parts of the world and develops useful data and advocacy tools for international institutions, human rights organizations, the trans movement and the general public. In November 2012 Transgender Europe published the TvT research report “TRANSRESPECT VERSUS TRANSPHOBIA WORLDWIDE – A Comparative Review of the Human-rights Situation of Gender-variant/Trans People”, which discusses and contextualizes the key findings of the TvT project. You can download the research report here: http://www.transrespect-transphobia.org/uploads/downloads/Publications/TvT_research-report.pdf
The report documented 21 homicides so far in 2015 – and none prosecuted as hate crimes – leading members of Congress to set first-ever forum on the issue
A crowd holds a vigil on 3 January 2015 to remember the life of Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender girl who committed suicide, in Kings Mills, Ohio. Photograph: Meg Vogel/APBy Zach Stafford in Chicago
Saturday 14 November 2015 02.34 AEDT Last modified on Saturday 14 November 2015 02.46 AEDT
The number of transgender homicide victims in the US has hit a historic high, according to a new report from advocates, leading members of Congress to officially respond to an emerging pattern of tragedy with the first-ever forum on transgender violence.
The Human Rights Campaign report documented 21 transgender homicide victims so far in 2015, almost all of them transgender women of color, and likely an underestimate due to the difficulty of tracking the homicides. Among all 53 transgender murders from 2013 to 2015, not a single one was prosecuted or reported as a hate crime, the report found.
“There are now more transgender homicide victims in 2015 than in any other year that advocates have recorded,” said HRC president Chad Griffin in a statement. On Tuesday 17 November, members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus will hold the first forum on transgender violence to hear testimony from survivors, service providers, and policy experts. Before the forum, the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus will be announcing the formation of a Transgender Equality task force.
“The goal is to get a comprehensive view of the epidemic of violence against transgender people, the causes and effects of the violence, and what the federal government can do,” said Roddy Flynn, the executive director of the LGBT Congressional Equality Caucus organizing the forum. “The task force will analyze the current state of transgender equality and then determine the best ways for the federal government to act – whether it’s legislation, pushing executive agencies to act or advocating on the state level.”
Ahead of this meeting, HRC released its report finding that its count of transgender homicide victims is almost double what it was in 2014, likely on account of better tracking. The report calls for even better reporting of the violence transgender and gender nonconforming people face in the US on a federal level.
Last December, the FBI included gender identity for the first time as a form of bias in its annual hate-crime statistics – and found only 33 such hate crimes based on gender identity. Many states don’t have hate crime laws that include gender identity. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found 1,359 anti-LGBT incidents in its 2014 report using its broader definition of hate violence, which cites press, police and community reports.
“[The] lack of accurate and reliable data collection makes it impossible for advocates to know how widespread this violence really is,” the HRC report said. The report finds that of those known victims between 2013 and 2015, the average age was 31 years old. At least 34% may have been engaged in sex or survival work at the time of their deaths, and more than twice as many people were killed in the south-east as in any other region of the country.The stories you need to read, in one handy email
The report lays out the social and institutional factors that likely contributed to this violence, based on in-house and data from the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS). It argues that even though this community is more visible than ever, this visibility hasn’t solved barriers the community disproportionately faces such as the extreme poverty, job discrimination, and police harassment, all of which likely contribute to the disproportionate violence against this group.
“At a time when transgender people are finally gaining visibility and activists are forcing our country to confront systemic violence against people of color, transgender women of color are facing an epidemic of violence that occurs at the intersections of racism, sexism and transphobia – issues that advocates can no longer afford to address separately,” said Griffin.
The Congressional transgender task force will be chaired by Representative Mike Honda and will include Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman, Chris Van Hollen, Joseph Kennedy, Raul Grijalva, Mike Quigley and delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. Groups like HRC, TPOCC and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs have confirmed to the Guardian that they will be attendance on Tuesday.
While these groups have long histories of working directly with LGBT communities to end violence, they are hoping that this historic forum will be a call for non-LGBT people to step up and help stop the violence.
“The LGBT community has long counted on our non-LGBT allies to stand beside us in the fight for equality,” Kylar W Broadus, executive director of TPOCC said in a statement. “And right now, the transgender community needs allies more than ever as we fight for our very survival.”
The protest at this year’s annual ‘Pride’ march in Melbourne, and the violent reaction it subsequently received, draws critical attention to the ethical compromises the queer community has made to gain the power, funding and visibility we now have.
A group of queer and transgender activists disrupted the march in front of the NAB faction with a peaceful sit-in to demonstrate that ‘Pride’ is not simply a celebration, a statement from the group outlines, but a protest fighting for liberation for everyone harmed by heteronormativity, cisnormativity, misogyny, ableism, racism and other forms of oppression.
Video footage shows people from the crowd verbally vilifying the protestors for disrupting the parade and then assaulting them with fists, shoves and discoloured water from hoses and buckets. Each succeeding attack on the masked protestors, who were both able-bodied and disabled, is followed by roaring affirmation from the mob. It is horrifying to watch members of the march aggressively confront the protestors, attempt to steal their flags, litter them with insults, and then have the audacity to demand them to “show your fucking face, you cowards!”
Our queer forbearers fought for our freedom to be out and proud. But what is the Pride movement costing us if the voices and actions of those demonstrating among us are violently silenced and policed?
The protestors’ concerns were with Midsumma Festival’s continued affiliation with ethically compromised corporations who co-opt LGBT causes to valorise their own public image. This phenomenon is called pinkwashing, and there is growing backlash around the world against organisations and governments who intentionally associate themselves with queerness as a marketing campaign, without rectifying the damage they cause to other marginalised communities.
NAB is a major partner of Midsumma Festival, and AGL is a gold-supporting partner, whatever that means. These companies are notorious for investing in fossil fuels and, as such, the socio-environmental devastation that climate change is responsible for. Furthermore, NAB invests in Transfield, which manages the ‘security services’ at offshore refugee processing centres in Nauru and PNG. As the statement from the protesters describes, some of those processed offshore by Transfield are queer and gender diverse. Another sponsor of the festival, Jetstar, is similarly complicit in the forceful deportation of asylum seekers.
The value of a protest against the contentious affiliations of Midsumma, one of the largest queer festivals in Australia, and its ties to fossil fuels and offshore detention centres cannot be ignored. Especially because many of the participants at ‘Pride’ had little knowledge of these affiliations before the protest.
The fact that this political gesture had to be staged in the middle of the march, and received such ardent antagonism from onlookers, testifies to how few opportunities there are for criticism of the queer community to be voiced from within the queer community. Ignoring these examples of our diversity renders us vulnerable to the same dogmatic homogeneity that has historically erased our own histories and visibility.
Many of the onlookers allegedly interpreted the peaceful sit-in as a homophobic gesture, despite the protestors holding a trans flag and proclaiming a banner that read: “Queers Revolt!” If these markers of queerness, alongside the protestors’ chants of ‘no pride in pinkwashing’ and ‘no pride in deportation’, fell on deaf ears, then we need to seriously consider why. The violence they endured must only have exacerbated the existing alienation many trans and queer people feel from a gay culture that has effectively been commodified and deradicalised. There is no humour in police having to defend queer protesters from the trigger happy, violently defensive onlookers at a ‘Pride’ march.
The queer and trans protestors managed to disrupt the march for approximately 17 minutes.
While the concept of pinkwashing may remain largely reserved to academic branches of the queer community, it is our collective responsibility to spread awareness of our own ethically fraught links to corporate funding and the vocabulary used to describe it. Would anyone bat an eyelid if your drag queens this evening were brought to you by Adani Mining?
It’s not about boycotting Midsumma. The festival itself does good work. It’s about listening to those from within our community when they are brave enough to stop us in our tracks and tell us something’s wrong. These protesters are not homophobic and they did not miss the deadline for joining the day’s events – they abstained from the march due to its contentious funding and sponsorship links. Herein lies the irony in Midsumma’s chairperson John Caldwell innocently saying, after the march, that the protestors would have been welcome to join in.
In Sydney, campaigns to rebrand Telstra’s public phone booths and ANZ’s ATMs, nicknamed GAYTMS, with rainbows during Mardi Gras are further examples of Australian pinkwashing. These companies make a public spectacle of supporting the queer community, but the logic behind these efforts is simple. In fact, in a quote cited in the SMH, Melissa Tandy, chair of ANZ’s global Pride network, explicitly acknowledges that corporate support for queerness is tied into increasing productivity by freeing the time and energy that workers might otherwise be using to hide their identities in the workplace. Queer activist Nic Holas rightly challenges the authenticity of this corporate sentiment in the same article, asking, “What are the corporate policies on transgender bathroom access, for example?”
Be not fooled: these rainbow campaigns are not an altruistic and ethical investment into our struggle. Co-opting the symbols and histories of queer people, loaded as they will forever be with the blood of queer martyrs, is deeply disrespectful and exploitative no matter the ethical orientation of whoever appropriates them. But pinkwashing by corporate giants, responsible as they have historically been for the erasure of queer visibility, rubs salt into the wound. Lest we forget that none of these companies support the marginalised unless they come with a profit margin.
With the eve of marriage equality in Australia nigh upon us, liberation in one form beckons. All the same, it is vital that we encourage the diversity of queer struggles and the value of criticism from within our community, in order to continue our liberation from the multi-layered and often obliviously intra-LGBT oppression that many of us receive.
When I attend queer events, I want to believe that, somewhere in the twinky mass, there is awareness of the struggles for liberation beyond the governmental and religious institution of marriage. I want to believe that the dearth of ethnic diversity is acknowledged and questioned by others besides me. I want to believe that cis-gender white gay men are also fighting against the disproportionate cultural representation they receive from queer media. But when I see efforts to demonstrate the diversity of the queer community in all its radical beauty squashed by other queers, I’m inclined to believe that none of us can stare into the mirror and see beyond ourselves.
Bobuck Sayed is a queer Afghan-Australian writer, editor and performer currently knee-deep in the murky waters of a literature thesis on ecocritical postcolonialism.
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Mannie also has a personal web site, which may be found by clicking on the link: RED JOS: HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM
Mannie's blogs may be accessed by clicking on to the following links:
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This page updated 23 NOVEMBER 2012 and again on 16 AUGUST 2017