Today (20th November) is Trans Day of Remembrance – a day to stand together as a community to commemorate those trans and gender-diverse people who have died as a result of discrimination and prejudice around the world.
Although here in Scotland social attitudes are changing and legal recognition for transgender people is improving, the situation around the world is very different. Between 1st October 2016 and 30th September 2017, there have been 325 cases of reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people worldwide. This figure does not include those trans people who have taken their own lives.
Transgender Europe (TGEU) produce an annual update (Trans Murder Monitoring – TMM) and it makes for sobering reading. Killings of trans people, based on the official statistics, are up by 10% over the past 12 months. The significant majority of murders occurred in South America, with Brazil (171 deaths) and Mexico (56 deaths) topping the league of shame.
There have been 2609 reported killings across the world since the research began in 2008. However, this data is only available in some countries, and with increasing examples of hate violence, extortion, physical and sexual assaults and murder, the actual total is likely to be higher. Of those murders where the profession of the victim was known, TGEU report that 62% were sex workers. TMM data also shows that, in the United States, trans people of colour and/or Native Americans are overwhelmingly the majority (86%).
TDoR started in 1999 to mark the murder of Rita Hester, a 34 year old African American woman killed in her own home in Allston, Massachusetts the previous year. Since then, the day of remembrance has evolved to include web visibility for trans murder victims as well as vigils held in cities around the world.
Here in Scotland, trans people continue to face discrimination and, according to Stonewall’s recent School Report, more than 2 in 5 trans people have attempted to take their own lives. 64% of trans pupils are bullied at school and four in five have self harmed.
As we remember those around the world who have been lost, we also have a responsibility to stand alongside trans kids, young people and everyone in the trans community and be strong allies – ensuring trans people are recognised and respected in our communities up and down the country. Here at Pink Saltire, we’ll continue to do our part. What will you do?