So far in 2015 there have been 16 murders of transgender women in the United States and this number is alarming because we have already surpassed the 13 deaths in 2014. Of course, this is America’s story and it left me wondering about the rest of the world. I don’t think I had any idea how bad it was for transgender people in other places. The big record holder for 2014 is Brazil where there were 132 transgender people murdered. Mexico came in a distant second with 40 murders followed by India at 14 murders and then the United States. My home, Canada, only had 1 murder of a transgender person in 2014. It is clear to see from the data that being transgender can be a dangerous prospect and we definitely have a target on our community.
This data is absolutely not complete as it only counts transgender people who are identified as transgender and reported as such. There are unreported transgender deaths that are not counted so despite these terrible numbers, the reality is a little worse. There are also many countries who do not record this data at all. If you add suicide to the mix then the transgender death statistics get super scary. It becomes vividly clear that there is a lot of work to do to make the world a safer place for transgender people. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of hate, discrimination, and violence aimed directly at the transgender community.
The solution is not easy and the journey towards acceptance and quality will be tough. We are not going to get there anytime soon but we can begin to move towards those goals to make it easier for future generations. Education is our greatest tool against hate. The negativity of hatred is usually steeped in misinformation and a lack of true understanding. There are some very loud politically right people in the United States doing everything possible to prevent this sort of education from reaching the people. It is really sad to see this in the 21st century and all we can do is keep putting the truth out there and eventually all the smoke and mirrors the extreme right are using, will no longer be effective.
We need to remain strong and we need to keep putting ourselves out there to educate people and demonstrate that we will not bow down to fear or misinformation tactics. With the power of social media, we can be much more united than we have ever been before. We are no longer alone and we do not have to hide in the shadows anymore. We have a voice and we have a platform to use it. That is all we need to plant the seeds of real change. It is already happening to some degree and this is a good trend. However, it needs to happen on a larger scale and as more voices join those already speaking, we will go from being a whisper to becoming a choir of information that will breed understanding and acceptance.
Sadly, more of us will die on this journey and I apologize to you all as I wish we could make this journey without further tears or hardship. It is going to be tough and we will all be tested before the end. However, it will all be worth it and history will remember these coming years as a turning point for the transgender people as we pave the way into acceptance and equality for the next generation of transgender people.