Every year at this time, the transgender community stops to remember those that we lost to violence over the last year. Since 1999, the 20th of November is set aside for the International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
As I sit here in my comfortable apartment in the Western suburbs of Chicago, I try to hold back the tears at the staggering numbers that are laid out before me. At times I feel far removed from the violence that plagues my community worldwide. But the other side of that coin is that I carry protection everywhere I go because I know, all too well, that evil can rear it’s ugly head right here at home.
In the last year, 16 transgender individuals lost their lives to prejudice and hatred right here in America. People like Evon Young, a transman and rapper from Milwaukee who was choked with a chain and beaten to death by possible gang members.
Or 26 year old Kelly Young who was shot to death in Baltimore.
Or Ashley Sinclair who was shot to death in Orange County.
Or 20 year old Cernia "CeCe” Dove who was stabbed repeatedly and dumped into a pond.
Behind Brazil and Mexico, the United States ranks 3rd in the world in the number of murders of transgender individuals.
The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) done by Transgender Europe has been tracking the violence toward the transgender community from Internet reports and help from trans activist from around the world. There are most likely many more deaths in countries where monitoring is made more difficult due to the fact that the murders of transgender individuals are not reported.
Since TMM began monitoring in 2009, 1,374 individuals in 60 countries have lost their lives due to hate crimes, 108 were individuals under the age of 20. An important and extremely troubling fact is that 22 of those 108 deaths were just in the first 10 months of this year. In ten months, we have seen the highest number of deaths since monitoring began.
As much as deaths in foreign countries can become nothing but a number, a community that faces discrimination and hate must stand together. I take each one of these deaths personally. Since November of 2012, I have lost 238 of my brothers and sisters.
Below is a breakdown of the reported deaths since November of 2012;
Central and South America
El Salvador 5
Dom. Republic 1
How many more lives must be lost before the governments of this globe wakeup to the violence that faces the transgender community?
I join many transgender activists worldwide who have begun using the term transcide or transgender genocide. There is an immediate need to call attention to the violence the faces the entire transgender community.
Today, I am not going to ask you to follow me on Twitter or find me on Facebook. Today I want you to take time and remember each and every one of the lives lost because of hate. For a complete list of each life that was cut short too soon - you can find it at Trans Respect Verses Transphobia - The Murder Monitor.
For more information on Trans Respect verses Transphobia you can find it at www.transrespect-transphobia.org.
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