Today, 20 November, is Trans Day of Remembrance, which was founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 to commemorate the life and death of Rita Hester, a black trans woman murdered in Boston, Massachusetts.
This year, there have been 331 known killings of trans people worldwide that Stonewall and other LGBTQ+ communities and organisations around the world will remember. Sadly, these numbers include the murder of Amy Griffiths, a 51 year old trans woman, in Droitwitch, Worcestershire, in January of this year.
On a global scale, some trans communities are more at risk of fatal violence than others. None more so than the trans community in Brazil, where the majority of killings of trans people have taken place in recent years.
The vast majority of those killed are trans women and transfeminine people of colour.
Every life taken has its own devastating circumstances but it is possible to observe that the vast majority of those killed are trans women and transfeminine people of colour. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project noted that, of those whose professions were known, 61% of murdered trans people this year worked as sex workers.
In Europe, the majority of murdered trans women were migrant trans women.
In Europe, the majority of murdered trans women were migrant trans women. Many murders of trans people occur in circumstances including poverty, racism, anti-immigrant and anti-sex worker sentiment and misogyny, which deprive some trans communities of resources and protection and make certain kinds of trans person especially vulnerable to male violence.
Sadly, some trans people – particularly women – are most at risk of fatal violence from cis male intimate partners, such as boyfriends. The stigma, family rejection, limited employment opportunities and social isolation experienced by many trans people can leave them particularly vulnerable to abuse in relationships.
Stonewall and YouGov’s research, LGBT in Britain: Home and Communities (2018), found that one in five trans people had experienced domestic abuse from a partner in the past year – including 16% of trans women.
As is the case for cisgender women, trans women in relationships with cisgender men are at highest risk of the most serious forms of violence. It is important to recognise that, for many trans women, the experience of intimate partner violence and domestic abuse is similar in nature to the kinds of domestic violence other women experience.
Violence against trans people is connected to a wider epidemic of violence against women.
Violence against trans people is connected to a wider epidemic of violence against women. It is why we're pleased that since 2018 there has been a commitment to trans inclusion in services providing support to survivors of domestic and sexual violence among the women’s sector in Wales, following a statement by women’s charities in Scotland in 2017.
In many cases, violence against trans people is also driven by toxic ideals of masculinity founded on homophobia and biphobia. On Trans Day of Remembrance, many of us, whether cis or trans, can reflect on how we can work together to end gender-based violence, harassment and discrimination in all their forms.