Majority Of Transgender Murders In 2011 Were Women Of Color [Report]
Anti-violence group releases annual report on LGBTQ hate crimes
An overwhelming majority of last year’s transgender murder victims were people of color, according to a new report by an anti-hate violence group.
Of the 30 hate-motivated murders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-affected people in 2011, 87 percent of them were people of color. Approximately half of them them were transgender women, or males who present themselves as female.
That’s the highest number recorded since the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program began tracking the data.
“Murders of LGBTQ people have increased over the last three years, indicating a pattern of escalating violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people,” said Jake Finney of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Community Center in Los Angeles.
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Finney’s organization, along with anti-violence groups in more than a dozen states, held a press conference Thursday to call attention to the alarmingly disproportionate number of murdered transgender women.
While violence against LGBT was down 16 percent last year, the murder rate rose 11 percent, according to the report.
NCAVP cautioned that the number could be much higher, given the disparity in how law enforcement agencies classify the crimes. For example, some transgendered victims are not properly identified in police reports. The nuances and severity of the incidences can be lost, the group says.
Many of the transgender women who become victims of violent crimes are often at risk from a very young age. According to the report, LGBT youth between the ages of 18- and 30-years-old were more than twice as likely to experience physical violence in 2011.
Paige Dior, a transgender woman and survivor of hate violence, says she knows fist hand the dangerous climate for people like her.
“My childhood was very difficult,” Dior said during Thursday’s press conference. “I was born into an athletic family. My expectations were very high. It made me very suicidal and I suffered a lot of.”
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Dior said she became a mother-like figure to DeeDee Pearson, a transgender woman of color who was murdered in Kansas City, Missouri on Christmas Eve. Pearson was shot six times by a man who thought she was biologically female.
“Transgender people are normally rejected from our own families,” Dior said. “So we go out and create our own. DeeDee lived a street life because she had nowhere else to go. She had hopes to be a better person, even though it didn’t always seem that way.”
The group’s report makes several recommendations to stem violence against the LGBT community, including an increase in funding for LGBT specific anti-violence programs.
“NCAVP’s findings are a call to policymakers, advocates, and community members that the prevention of violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected individuals needs to be a priority,” said Chai Jindasurat of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.
To read NCAVP’s full report (PDF), click here.
Last month, a Republican-authored anti-violence bill passed in the House of Representatives, despite its omission of protections for the LGBT community, which mainly Democrats protested.
The Obama administration has indicated it would veto that version of the bill, if both houses of Congress approves it.