People who identified as either transgender or people of color were 2 times as likely to experience assault or discrimination as non-transgender white individuals.
As volunteer Jessica Manko collects the names of transgender people who have been killed in the past year, she takes care to find out as much as she can about the victim and the tragic circumstances around their death. Each name is from a human being who was murdered or committed suicide after being tormented because of their gender expression. So far this year there are over a hundred. Last year the worldwide total was 182, though it’s presumed that many more go unreported.
The names will be read as part of the Transgender Day of Remembrance Ceremony at Central United Methodist Church, 23 East Adams, Detroit, on Friday, Nov. 18,at 7 p.m. The annual memorial service is for transgender individuals and allies to remember the dead and calls for an end to violence and transphobia. Transgender Detroit, Transgender Michigan, Equality Michigan and Americorps Team AIDS Detroit are among the groups working together to make the vigil happen. As each name is spoken, a candle will be lit.
Sylvia Guerrero, mother of the late Gwen Araujo, will be the featured speaker. Araujo was murdered by four males who beat her to death after learning that she had male sex organs. Guerrero now tours the country speaking out about violence towards transgender people.
Equality Michigan tracks incidents of violence. Reports of anti-LGBTQH hate violence increased by 13 percent from 2009 to 2010. National Coalition of Violence Programs gathered information on a total of 2,503 survivors and victims in 2010. Transgender women were disproportionately impacted by murder. 44 percent of LGBTQH murder victims were transgender women, yet only 11 percent of total reports came from them.
“This continues a problematic trend from 2009 figures, when 50 percent of murder victims were transgender women,” says Equality Michigan Director of Victim Services Nusrat Ventimiglia. “People who identified as either transgender or people of color were 2 times as likely to experience assault or discrimination as non-transgender white individuals. People who identified as transgender people or people of color were 1.5 times more likely to experience intimidation than non-transgender white individuals. People who identified as both transgender and people of color were almost 2.5 times more likely to experience discrimination than non-transgender white individuals.”
Transgender people also represented a higher proportion of hate violence survivors with injuries. Transgender survivors experienced higher rates of serious injuries (11.8 percent) as compared to non-transgender men (6.2 percent) or non-transgender women (1.3 percent).
The report also shows that transgender people and people of color were the least likely to receive medical attention. 75 percent of transgender men and 20 percent of transgender women did not receive needed medical attention for their injuries. This is compared to 15 percent of overall LGBTQH survivors who needed medical attention for their injuries but did not receive it.
Another struggle transgender people face is getting help when they need it. The NCAVP shows that transgender people of color reported higher rates of indifferent police attitudes, with 48.3 percent of transgender people of color reporting that police attitudes were indifferent, compared to 38 percent for overall survivors. Only 7.7 percent of non-transgender and white survivors experienced indifferent attitudes Michigan.
The most recently reported murder of a transgender person in Michigan was of Foxy Ivy, who was shot in the back of the head and left to die in Highland Park on May 25, 2009.
Transgender Day of Remembrance began 13 years ago internationally, and this will be the ninth year that a ceremony is held in the Detroit area. Allies are encouraged to attend and show the transgender community that they are not alone. “We do this to say: this person matters. Their lives have value,” Ventimiglia said.
Manko has been gathering names for the project since 2005, saying “because it’s important that we remember. We shouldn’t forget these folks. The courage they built up to live as their gender, helps others to be themselves.”