As the title suggests, everything on this blog concerns violence against trans women.
The Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project is a trans feminist project addressing issues of systematic, institutional and interpersonal violence and oppression experienced by trans women (those who were coercively assigned male at birth and identify or are identified as women/female) across multiple identities (e.g., race, class, dis/ability, citizen-status, nationality, sexuality, age, HIV status, and form, status, or age of transition, etc.)
Ida Hammer is a writer and social justice communicator. She organizes the Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project. She presents workshops and trainings on cis privilege and being a trans ally. She's also involved in organizing against sexualized violence. She's a proud dyke-identified trans woman and an organizer of the New York City Dyke March.
I saw the film Gun Hill Road last night. It’s a very intense film where Vanessa Rodriguez, a teenage trans Latina played by trans Latina actress Harmony Santana, is the target of verbal, physical and sexual abuse because she is a trans woman.
I was crying throughout much of the film. Watching this film really drove home how people in our society don’t understand or even recognize violence against trans women.
While I was crying because of all the abuse Vanessa was experiencing, I was surrounded by rows of cis people joking about what they were seeing on the screen and laughing uncontrollably. The part that really got to me the most was a rape scene proceeding the shot of Vanessa in the shower that is featured in the trailer.
Vanessa’s father, Enrique (played by Esai Morales), pays a prostitute to have sex with Vanessa. While the prostitute is raping Vanessa there is this huge roar of laughter from the two rows behind me. I wanted to stand up, turn around and yell: “She’s being raped! What’s so fucking funny about a woman being raped?” But instead I just cried harder and squeezed the hand of my friend.
Do people think that just because a woman has a penis she can’t be raped? Is this why people where laughing at the rape of trans Latina actress Harmony Santana’s Vanessa Rodriguez, but the rape of White cis actress Hilary Swank’s Brandon Teena is taken serious enough for her to win an Oscar?
Is it any wonder that violence against trans women is a comedic staple in film and television? I’m not sure which came first. Did people always think misogynist violence against trans women was funny, or have they just been trained to laugh at violence against trans women due to a steady stream of films where anti-trans women violence is literally used as a form of comic relief?
All I know for certain is that violence against trans women is not taken seriously in our society, not even when it’s that subject of a dramatic feature film.