In the run-up to the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th many organizations run trans awareness campaigns. OutUWE, the LGBT network of the University of the West of England in Bristol, asked local trans people if they would come and talk. I’d already booked to go to the Alison Bechdel event, and other people volunteered, so I declined. OutUWE asked me if I’d send a statement to be read so I did. You can read it here.
That, of course, was intended for university students in the UK, many of whom would not be trans. The reality of trans people’s lives around the world can be very different. In an entirely separate development I have ended up organizing a Day of Remembrance ceremony in Bristol (thanks for the opportunity, Annabelle). As part of that I have had to go through this year’s list of deaths. A number of things are very obvious:
- The overwhelming majority of victims are female-identified
- The overwhelming majority are people of color
- Most of the victims are very poor (they do sex work because they can’t get jobs)
- The overwhelming majority come from countries where Catholicism is the dominant religion
- Several victims appear to have been targeted because they are trans rights activists
The countries with the biggest death counts are Brazil (126) and Mexico (48). The average age of the victims, where known, is 29, with the youngest being just 16. One of the youngest, Jessica (18), was beaten to death in police custody. No reason for her arrest was ever given.
It is an ugly picture, and one which generating greater respect for trans people amongst white, middle class people in the UK won’t do much to solve. Alleviating poverty in Latin America would probably do a lot more good. A decrease in the amount of misogyny in the world would also work wonders.