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.
There was a post going around this morning that originally claimed there were over 1,000 murders of trans women last year, based on the 2013 NCAVP report.
In fact, according to the report there were 13 such homicides in 2012.
The poster made an edit, but still maintained…
One thing to keep in mind, from the “Limitations of the Findings” section of the report:
The vast majority of this report contains information from LGBTQ and HIV-affected-identified individuals who experienced hate violence and sought support from NCAVP member programs. Local member organizations then submitted data to NCAVP, which NCAVP compiled and analyzed for national trends. Since NCAVP only measures data collected from individuals who self-reported and from other public sources, it is unlikely that these numbers represent all incidents of violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people in the United States. NCAVP’s data may particularly omit populations such as incarcerated people, people in rural communities, people who may not know about their local anti-violence program (AVP), people living where the closest AVP is too far away to reach, people who are not out, people who are uncomfortable with reporting violence, and people who face other barriers to accessing services or reporting. While the information contained in this report provides a detailed picture of the individual survivors and victims; it cannot and should not be extrapolated to represent the prevalence of hate violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities in the United States.
Which isn’t to invalidate anything said above, but to give an important bit of context to the report itself.
The report can be viewed in full here: http://www.avp.org/storage/documents/ncavp_2012_hvreport_final.pdf
The Trans Women’s Anti-Violence Project has been following violence against trans women for three years and one thing that is for sure is that violence against trans women is seriously under reported. With murders in particular there is not even the benefit of self-reporting, as in the case of other forms of violence. Most murders of trans women are those that have been reported by (nationally accessible) media and/or community activists. If a murder of a trans woman isn’t reported (or is misreported) in the media or if she was unknown to vocal community members, then the murder goes unnoticed.
The fact is, most acts of violence against trans women are not reported, and when the are reported they are usually misreported (usually by misgendering the victim). Often it takes sensationalized account to bring these murders to the attention of the public. Additionally, most women are not connected to a vocal, organized community; even in major cities like New York and San Fransisco. As a vulnerable and marginalized population, it has to be expected that most murders of trans women are not going to be noticed.
The Trans Women’s Anti-Violence Project has noticed cases of murdered trans women that were originally missed by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects. And this project is dependent on media accounts that are accessible online and easily identifiable as trans women. So, yes, the reported number of murders is just scratching the surface.
Nonetheless, 13 murdered women in any given year is itself a tragedy. Even a single murder is cause for concern! There is no need to exaggerate the numbers in order to consider this a serious problem in need of our attention. Focusing on the exact numbers may not be as important as focusing on why these 13 women where killed. While the number can fluctuate, there is less variation in who is being killed.
What we do know is that at least a dozen trans women in the U.S. will be killed in cases that are high-profile enough that we will know about them. This is a pattern found in the NCAVP reports that has been going on for years. Furthermore, we know that these are going to be almost entirely Black and Latina trans women, with very few exceptions. And that about half of these women, give or take, will have had some experience in the sex trades. We also know that they will have been killed by cis men. And it is not unusual for these women to have known their murderer and have had some form of intimate or sexual involvement with him. And it is a rarity, if it happens at all, that the man was “surprised” to learn the woman was trans.
The problem is, these murders are too often labeled simply “anti-trans,” or worse “anti-LGBTQ” or “anti-queer.” This is very misleading. If these were anti-trans murders there would be a fairly even mix of trans people of all genders, races, and economic status. When looking at the last two decades of violence, we find that a white trans man like Brandon Tina is the outlier, not the norm. The race, gender, and economic status of those killed is no less important than that she was trans.
Yet how often are these murders considered effects of institutional racism, sexism, and economic injustice as they are called “transphobic”? How often are these murders considered acts of sexual or intimate partner violence? Not often enough. In order to end this violence we need to consider the full person and the context of her life and death.
Excerpt from article:
"A woman in New York City left a nightclub in late 2010 to meet some friends for tacos. While she was walking to the restaurant in the Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights, a man pulled up beside her in a dark-colored car and began talking to her. As the woman inched closer to hear what the man was saying, two undercover police officers jumped out of a van and arrested her for engaging in prostitution. She was thrown into a van with a dozen other women and taken to the115th Precinct in Jackson Heights to be fingerprinted before being transferred to Central Booking. There, she was then jailed in the men’s unit, where she endured painful verbal harassment from some of the cops and men in custody, according to the community organizing group Make the Road New York, which identified the woman by the pseudonym ‘Natasha.’ Her story sounds more like a rare kidnapping than a routine arrest, but Natasha’s arrest would come as no surprise to anyone who has been harassed or arrested by police for what’s known as ‘walking while woman.’"
In 2011, Ida Hammer (pictured above with writer Janet Mock and actress Laverne Cox at the 2013 NYC Anti-Violence Project Courage Awards) founded of the Trans Women’s Anti-Violence Project. A life-long activist, Ida has committed herself to improving the lives of women and LGBT individuals. In recognition of her advocacy work Ida is included in the inaugural Trans 100 and is most recently the recipient of the AGLP’s 2014 Barbara Gittings Award for her exceptional leadership and advocacy for trans women and lesbian Issues.
Now Ida needs the support of her community to raise funds for her upcoming surgery. Ida is lucky to have insurance that includes her surgery, which will assist her in paying for the hospital stay, operating room, and anesthesia. Unfortunately, her surgeon doesn’t accept insurance, so she will need to pay the surgeon’s fee herself. Her goal is to raise $13,500. The Trans Women’s Anti-Violence Project currently has just over 2,600 followers. If each of you would be generous enough to chip in just $5, Ida will easily meet her goal.
To donate go to: http://www.gofundme.com/6hpp2s
Sylvia Rivera is one of my dyke heroes! The above pictures are of Sylvia Rivera with her wife Julia Murray. While people are quick to talk about Sylvia Rivera’s life, I never, ever hear anyone acknowledge that Sylvia was in a relationship with another women. It would seem that not all parts of her life are given equal respect and attention.
As a trans woman who loves women, it means something important to me personally to know that Sylvia Rivera was in a relationship with another woman. I’ve been made to feel isolated by others because I’m a trans woman who loves women. I’ve had the term “kai kai” disparagingly thrown in my direction on more than one occasion.
Trans women loving other women is treated as taboo by many in the “community.” There is some serious hostility directed at trans women who love women from some trans and queer people (I’m not even talking about gaystream LGB people). That is, some of those very same people who routinely evoke Sylvia Rivera’s name so often are the same people who take issue with trans women loving other women.
**I wrote this over the summer, but am thinkin’ about it again**
In light of the rash of queer bashing that’s plagued New York this summer, I feel the need to talk about my experience with harassment as a woman and as a trans person. I’ve lived in many places, some of them “safer” than others, but I have always been exposed to a certain level of harassment and the threat of violence (I have never been physically attacked *knocks on wood*) Like it or not, I am often read as female in public and that exposes me to the harassment that comes with being female in our society. I say “like it or not” because there are plenty of people who DON’T like it, who don’t believe it, who refuse to accept that any part of my lived experience could be “typically female.” (Google “trans critical feminism” if you don’t know what I mean.) I don’t care whether strangers on the internet believe me or not, though. This is my daily life, not a gender theory class. I get cat called often. Sometimes men literally make the same noises at me that I would use to get a cat’s attention. Today, a man repeatedly called out to me “looking good!” He eventually shifted gears to “I’m trying to compliment you, bitch,” when I wouldn’t acknowledge him. I’ve been called every ugly word there is for “woman” by men who somehow think this will get me to go home with them. I have literally had a man scream right in my face at the very top of his lungs, “I WANT YOUR PUSSY!” I’ve been propositioned in the grocery store, at work, on the bus, on the sidewalk. This is not a unique experience, it literally happens to millions of people every day.
I often face another form of harassment, though. When I first moved to New York, a 12 to 14 year old boy on the subway said of me, “What is that thing?! If I had a sledgehammer, I would fuckin’ kill that thing!” The reality was that he (who was +/- 100 lbs smaller than me) wouldn’t have done ANYTHING with a sledgehammer, had he possessed one. It was the sentiment that horrified me, terrorized me, and made me afraid to leave my house again for days. When I am read as trans, I am exposed to an even greater level of dehumanization and potential violence. I take for granted that my community knows about this, but find more often than not that people are shocked when I share these stories (which are mild by comparison to the experiences of some.) Just a few days ago, outside of a restaurant in my neighborhood, a group of men (thinking I was listening to music) loudly asked one another how much they’d have to be paid in order to “fuck [me] up.” They were calling me “it” and one of them said he would do it for $100. When I’m seen as a cis woman, I have no agency and I have no privacy. My space, time, conversation, and attention are not my own. They are owed to men, who feel entitled to demand them from me at any time. When I’m seen as a trans woman, I’m seen as literally devoid of humanity. At best, I get laughed at and stared at. At worst, people casually discuss murdering me as easily as they complain about the weather. This is constant. This is why I wear headphones everywhere I go. And I’m nowhere near as vulnerable as some. I’m white and I’m big. A man once shouted at me, “damn, girl! You look like you could knock someone the FUCK OUT!” I’ve had people throw balled up paper, trash, even bottles at me, but I’ve never been in an actual physical confrontation with an attacker on the street. I’m both lucky and privileged in that regard.
I don’t have a point, really. It’s just that attention to street harassment that’s come up in the last few weeks has left me preoccupied with this. I also wonder how many people in my social network who aren’t trans women have considered this double-bind and how it plays out in the lives of trans women. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
TL;DR Shit’s rough out there and people are awful.
A quote from a piece I wrote today about the shaming of men who desire and date trans women, and how this stigma only further demeans trans women.
Yes, this is a direct response to the commentary following the foolishness surrounding hip hop DJ Mister Cee.(via janetmock)
Yesterday we were thanked for being silent and respectful to a grieving family seated center stage. We were instructed to keep politics at the door though politicians had a front-row seat with camera crews readied for their election year soundbites. …
The only reason I left not feeling defeated was because of you, in all your resilience, beauty, brilliance and ferocity. You held me up, you told me that we would get through, and you showed up despite knowing the open secret we all carry: that Islan was not the first to fall and she will not be the last.”
I am writing this blog tonight in response to recent events which have taken place. Domonique Newburn (Fontana, California), Islan Nettles (Harlem, New York) and a young trans woman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania were all murdered in the same week. All were trans women of color.
Tonight I am…
NEW RESEARCH STUDY FOR TRANS WOMEN!! FORWARD, RE-POST, LIKE, SHARE, ETC!!!
T-Talk – the newest study at Hunter College’s Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training – is a peer-led intervention developed in response to the acute health prevention needs of our community of New York City transgender women.
Are you a Woman of Trans Experience?
Do you have an active sex life and live in the NYC area?
Worried about your drug use? Interested in sharing about your life in the T-zone?
We’re interested in talking with you!
The women participating in this study will be compensated for the first study visit, attendance in the intervention sessions, and two follow-up appointments. They will receive up to $205 for their time. Some women will have additional follow-up appointments and may receive up to an additional $115.
Tell us your story! NO Judgments – Call (212) 206-7919
Or visit our website at http://chestnyc.org/t-talk
Autostraddle is looking specifically for trans women bloggers — and paying! Definitely something worth everyone checking out and spreading the word.
Call For Submissions: Trans*Scribe
We haven’t trotted out a theme issue in quite some time now, but times they are a-changing! A month…