Today November 20th is the 14th International Transgender Day of Remembrance when the trans community in particular and anyone else disturbed by the statistics, should take a few minutes to remember those trans people who were murdered or took their own lives in the previous year. Sadly around 40% of trans people will attempt to commit suicide and trans people are 12 times more likely to be murdered that other people. The most frightening statistic however is the 20% year on year rise in the number of reported deaths each year, especially in Central and Southern America. This year 265 trans people have been reported murdered.
In the UK we are not immune from this transphobic violence and one of the recorded deaths was a young trans women from Finchley in London. Some time around May 1st 2012, 22 year old Chrissie Azzopardi died in her apartment in suspicious circumstances. The really sad thing about her death was that her body was not discovered until a month later. A man was arrested and later released on bail and nothing has been reported about the incident since. Every year in the UK at least one trans women is reported being murdered but often in cases involving attacks against trans women the fact that a person is trans is with-held to spare the family from harassment so the actual numbers may be more.
However the worst thing about transphobic attacks is the level of violence inflicted on the victim. Trans people are not just shot – they are shot or stabbed multiple times, their genitals are cut off and stuffed in their mouths, they are beaten to death or burned alive. Many of the victims are sex workers killed by clients but some are just children who fail to comply with gender stereotypes killed by their parents. You can find the full list the trans people reported murdered last year at Trans respect versus Transphobia.
Since 2008 when the project to record all transphobic deaths began there have been over 1000 reported deaths and it is possible that some of the increase each year is simply a result of the better recording of information. That does not make the problem any better. “We are witnessing a significant increase [of murders], which points to the extreme level of violence many trans people continue to be exposed to” said a statement from Transgender Europe.
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