Why Transphobic Violence Is a Global Crisis
Tue, April 20, 2021

Why Transphobic Violence Is a Global Crisis

The transgender community is being discriminated against due to the increasing stigma against their gender identity and sexuality / Photo by: archnoi1 via 123RF


Transgender people have faced extraordinary levels of physical and sexual violence. They are denied their chance to live freely and normally the moment they choose to not conform to the standards of society when it comes to gender. Whether at school or work, at home, on the streets, or in the hands of government officials, their lives are threatened. 

The transgender community is being discriminated against due to the increasing stigma against their gender identity and sexuality. For instance, they are still ashamed of and prohibited to go to public comfort rooms of their choice. The opposition is often said to be based on unfounded fears around sexual victimization. Some even use the safety of women to justify their discriminatory beliefs. People who are opposed to laws favoring the transgender community often advocate by trying to increase what some researchers refer to as “gender panic.”

Gender panic is a term used to describe the threat some people believe exists when transgender women are allowed to enter a female bathroom. However, issues like this rarely happen when transgender men have access to men’s spaces. This comes from how our society sees women as weak and vulnerable. These concerns manifest in how our society talks about sex and gender. 

The stigma against the transgender community has been growing despite ongoing efforts to educate people about sex and gender. Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) took a stand on what they call "the epidemic of violence against the transgender community, especially the amplified physical dangers faced by transgender people of color.” According to Forbes, a global media company focusing on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and lifestyle, the AMA has a plan to help bring national attention to this problem. 

In a statement, AMA Board Member S. Bobby Mukkamala, M.D., said, “According to available tracking, fatal anti-transgender violence in the U.S. is on the rise and most victims were black transgender women.” Often, mainstream media reports on a victim's gender identity without accurate information. 

Violence Against the Transgender Community

Last May, Muhlaysia Booker, a 23-year-old transgender, was found dead. Her death came after a video of her being assaulted by a group of men went viral. After the video went viral, she spoke out against the violence that trans women face every day. “This time I can stand before you, wherein other scenarios, we’re at a memorial,” she said. 

Weeks after her death, 26-year-old trans woman Chynal Lindsey was also found dead. Her body was recovered from White Rock Lake in northeastern Dallas. According to Time, an American weekly news magazine published in New York City, while the police haven’t confirmed the cause of death yet, Lindsey’s body showed “obvious signs of homicidal violence.” 

Unfortunately, these deaths are just the tip of the iceberg. The “Violence Against the Transgender Community” report by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) revealed that at least 22 trans and gender-nonconforming people have been killed in the US so far this 2019. Since the annual report was initiated in 2013 to track the epidemic of anti-trans violence, it has recorded more than 150 killings of trans and gender-nonconforming individuals. Alphonso David, president of HRC, called the killings “a national crisis that demands the attention of lawmakers, law enforcement, the media, and every American.”

At the same time, activist group Transrespect Versus Transphobia Worldwide released a report showing that 331 trans and gender-diverse people have been killed between October 2018 and September 2019 across the globe. According to NBCNews.com, a news website owned and operated by NBCUniversal as the online arm of NBC News, out of the 22 deaths in the country this year, 91% were black women, 81% were under the age of 30, and 68% lived in the South.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs also reported that there has been a rising number of trans women of color being killed across the world. In 2017, a total of 22 trans women were killed. Unfortunately, the reports are often “incomplete or unreliable” because some deaths are not reported and some victims may not be identified as transgender in the media.

A Global Crisis

With the increasing violence and deaths against the transgender community, the world must recognize it as a global crisis. According to David, the crisis is particularly evident among trans women of color, especially black trans women. “While the details of the cases documented in this report differ, the toxic intersection of racism, sexism, transphobia and easy access to guns conspire to deny so many members of the transgender and gender non-conforming community access to housing, employment, and other necessities to survive and thrive,” he said.

These figures and reports against the trans community are a grim and tragic reminder of the targeted violence and persecution many trans people still face every day. They go out of their houses afraid that this might be their last time seeing the daylight. The bigotry and violence they encounter are undeniable despite how much social and political progress they have made in recent years. Aside from violence, they also experience poverty, unemployment, family rejection, and a lack of stable houses due to their gender identity. 

While the trans community faces these life-threatening issues every day, all of us will never experience total peace. Gender equality is only achieved when all people regardless of gender and race are treated equally in all aspects of life. 

With the increasing violence and deaths against the transgender community, the world must recognize it as a global crisis / Photo by: Elnur Amikishiyev via 123RF