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.
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…
It was announced that local non-profit leader in AIDS services, Chicago House, was selected as one of eight national grant sites to study the link between HIV and retention in care of transgender women of color.
The study, which will be housed in Chicago House's all new TransLife Center (TLC), will allow $300,000 per year for the next five years from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a Special Program of National Significance.
The TLC programming will serve as a collaborative comprehensive and multi-strategy approach to identifying HIV-positive transgender women of color who are out of care, while engaging them successfully in accessible, quality HIV primary care.
In leveraging the resources and expertise of five project partners — AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Center on Halsted, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Heartland Health Outreach, and South Side Help Center — Chicago House will identify transgender women of color living with HIV, create a broad network of culturally competent healthcare providers, and deliver an array of services that help marginalized transgender women overcome barriers to care.
"The TransLife Center Programming will incorporate three tiers of support to the habitually overlooked "T" in the LGBT community," commented Chicago House CEO, Stan Sloan. ”TransHousing will provide a safe and understanding home to transgender men and women, through the rebirth of our original 24-hour-care building in Edgewater and multiple scattered site units throughout the city. TransWorks, an offshoot of our highly successful employment program, will work with trans men and women to identify their unique employment placement needs and prepare them for the workplace through resume writing, interview skills, and connections to culturally competent job opportunities.” Sloan continued, “The final element, TransHealth, will connect trans men and women to non judgmental health care addressing their unique needs through Dr. Rob Garafolo of Lurie Children’s Hospital.”
HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable.
”Chicago House remains committed to providing the best in services to the homeless and HIV affected, and the integral TransHealth funding from HRSA further validates the needs that we have identified within the transgender community,” Sloan said. ”The growth in reaching out to this population represents the same trailblazing growth our founders had in mind 27 years ago, and it is a wonderful next incarnation for our former hospice site. The transgender community has been so strategic and receptive in helping us develop the programs, and we are excited to begin this next step of Chicago House's history.”
(Chicago Go Pride)
Your Take: LGBT-rights advocates urge the DOJ to investigate the killings of black transgender women.
On Aug. 14 Tiffany Gooden, 19, a black transgender woman, was stabbed to death on Chicago’s West Side. She was found dead just three blocks from where Paige Clay, 23, another black transgender woman, was discovered in April with a gunshot wound to the head. Just four days after Gooden’s killing, Kendall L. Hampton, 26, also a transgender woman, was shot in the parking lot of a Dairy Mart in Cincinnati.
Their murders are jarring reminders of the injustice that transgender women of color face. In fact, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (pdf) has reported that violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people has increased 23 percent from 2009 to 2010, with people of color and transgender women as the most common victims. Of the victims murdered in 2010, 70 percent were people of color, while 44 percent were transgender women.
"Stop killing and beating down my family," says Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition. “As a mother, sister and advocate, I am deeply troubled by the violence that plagues our trans sisters. I’m even more saddened by our level of indifference and inaction. Where is the outcry?”
The black and civil rights communities are shamefully silent when victims of violence are black and transgender. That is why the NBJC, the nation’s leading black LGBT civil rights organization; the Hip Hop Caucus, a civil and human rights organization that aims to promote political activism for young U.S. voters, using hip-hop music and culture; and the Trans People of Color Coalition, a national social-justice organization that promotes the interests of transgender people of color, are calling on the Department of Justice to establish a special task force to investigate the serial and systemic murders of countless transgender women of color who are attacked for living their truth. These groups are urging all civil rights leaders and community members to join their appeal to consciousness and action.
In fact, more than 200 black LGBT leaders, activists and allies will gather Sept. 19-22 in Washington, D.C., for the NBJC’s third annual OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit. Along with compelling briefings, a Black LGBT Leaders Day at the White House, Lobbying Day and meetings with members of Congress, OUT on the Hill will convene a groundbreaking panel (pdf) of black transgender women and advocates to address the epidemic of murders against this segment of the black community.
Stories like Gooden’s and Hampton’s represent a larger system of violence toward black transgender women. Their cases are part of an ongoing string of violence and mass murders against transgender women of color. “I want you to meet my family,” says Lettman-Hicks when she recalls the litany of black transgender women who have been killed within the last year. “We should intimately know all these women’s names and their stories.”
In Oakland, Calif., Brandy Martell, 37, was shot on April 29 in her genitals and then her chest after sharing that she was transgender. Coko Williams, another transgender woman of color, was found dead in April on a Detroit block with her throat slashed and one bullet wound. Deoni Jones, 22, a transgender woman, was fatally stabbed on Feb. 2 in Washington, D.C. An altercation between the victim and her attacker broke out at the bus stop, which resulted in the victim being stabbed in the face.
In November 2011, family, friends and community members mourned the loss of Shelley Hilliard, 19, a transgender woman who was reported missing. Weeks later, police were able to identify a burned torso found on Detroit’s East Side as belonging to Hilliard, who was also known as Treasure. Lashai Mclean, 23, a transgender woman, was tragically shot and killed last July in Washington, D.C. Mclean was with another transgender woman in the very early morning when she was gunned down in the District’s Northeast section. She was pronounced dead shortly after being transported to a local hospital.
And those are just some of the attacks we know of. Many more go unreported and garner little to no media attention. Aug. 12 marked the 10-year anniversary of the deaths of Ukea Davis and Stephanie Thomas, two transgender teenagers who were murdered execution style in Washington, D.C. Each of them was shot 10 times in the head and upper body.
By the time medical rescue workers arrived at the corner of 50th and C streets SE, both victims were dead. They died at the same corner where Tyra Hunter, another African-American transgender woman, lay dying after a car crash in 1995 as fire department medical technicians laughed and withdrew emergency care upon discovering that she was transgender.
Davis’ and Thomas’ murders remain unsolved.
"I’m appalled at how little has been done by the black and civil rights communities to fight for and protect transgender women," says the Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., president and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus. "It’s time to break our silence and mobilize the way we did for Occupy Wall Street and Trayvon Martin."
Some mobilization has been taking place within the black LGBT community. For instance, the TransFaith in Color Conference, an empowerment-and-networking summit for transgender people of color and their allies, recently took place in Charlotte, N.C.
But the black LGBT community cannot and should not have to do this work alone. When transgender women do fight back in an attempt to defend themselves, they risk being criminalized by a system that doesn’t have their best interests in mind. A system that has for centuries ravaged communities of color. A system we must all challenge.
Take CeCe McDonald, for instance, a black transgender hate-crime survivor currently being housed in a men’s facility. After being verbally and physically assaulted, McDonald fatally stabbed her attacker in alleged self-defense. She later accepted a plea deal to second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 41 months in a male prison, where she will be subjected to physical and sexual assault — a blatant example of institutional biases against black and transgender people.
"It is unfortunate that in CeCe’s case, as in so many, the hate crime itself was overlooked entirely," explains Kylar Broadus, executive director of the Trans People of Color Coalition, an NBJC board member and the first transgender person to testify before the Senate about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. “On top of blaming and prosecuting the victim, she is placed in harm’s way once again. We won’t rest until there is justice for our fallen black trans sisters who are disproportionally targeted and killed because of who they are. We won’t rest until there is justice for CeCe, Tiffany, Kendall, Ukea and Stephanie.”
Enough is enough. We must speak up and speak out. Now. How will you ensure that our family is not forgotten? Learn more about the upcoming OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit here. It’s time to come together and own our collective power.
(Kimberley McLeod, The Root)
Kimberley McLeod is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer and LGBT advocate. She is director of communications and press secretary at the National Black Justice Coalition, as well as creator and editor of Elixher.com, a resource for multidimensional representations of black LGBT women.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.
The System. The Reality. The Solution.
Honoring and Protecting the Lives of Black Trans Women
Friday, September 21
9:00 am - 11:30 am
Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel | Wilson A, B & C
On Friday, September 21, the National Black Justice Coalition’s (NBJC) 3rd annual OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit will feature an unprecedented briefing of prominent Black trans women who are activists, media personalities and experts as they discuss why it is important to be intentional about including the “T” as we develop the national Black LGBT agenda.
Moderated by Laverne Cox, trans activist, producer and actress, the purpose of this town hall is to discuss the current state of the Black trans community - specifically as it reflects the current policies of our government, the social climate of our nation and the lived experiences of Black trans women. Attendees will leave with an understanding of the systems in place as well as resources available and actions to take in order to see substantial progress in this community.
The Black and civil rights communities are shamefully silent when victims of violence are both Black and transgender. Stories like hate crime survivor CeCe McDonald’s represent a larger system of violence and institutional biases. Her case is part of an ongoing string of attacks and mass murders against trans women of color. (Read The Root’s Transgender Deaths: Where Is the Outcry? where three LGBT-rights advocates, including the National Black Justice Coalition’s Sharon Lettman-Hicks, urge the Department of Justice to investigate the killings of Black transgender women.)
"The disproportionate injustice that so many Black trans women face happens because our lives are not valued on a mass scale,” says Cox.
But even in the midst of adversity, this community of resilient, powerful sisters has managed to come together and demand a seat at the table.
"I am so excited about the opportunity NBJC has extended to me to lead a discussion with a group of such accomplished, dynamic Black trans women,” adds Cox. “Our talk promises to advance the conversation of celebrating and loving Blacktrans womanhood as a revolutionary act.”
Moderated by Laverne CoxTrans Activist/Producer/ActressPanelistsRev. Carmarion Anderson - South Regional Minister, TransSaintsDanielle King - Executive Director, National Aurora CampaignMonica Roberts - Blogger, TransGriotValerie Spencer - Founder, Transcend Empowerment Institute
Free and open to the public!
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org and reference TOWN HALL MEETING
(National Black Justice Council)
Portrait of Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) posing in front of her altar to Marsha P. Johnson (1944-1992), by Valerie Shaff, ca. 2000
In the early 1970’s Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson co-founded S.T.A.R., Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, an organization designed to achieve rights for her community, and provide social services to this largely ignored and stigmatized group. For a short while she and Marsha P. Johnson ran S.T.A.R. House which provided shelter for homeless young street queens. Lack of funds and problems with the certificate of occupancy for S.T.A.R. House, forced the abandonment of the venture at that time, but Rivera never lost the dream of creating a supportive and safe living space for young transgender people.
Rivera was greatly disillusioned with the desire of many early gay and lesbian activists to distance the gay movement from transvestites, drag queens, and other gender variant people, in spite of the fact that these people were often the “shock troops” for the entire gay community.
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project notes,
A veteran of the 1969 Stonewall uprising, Sylvia was a tireless advocate for all those who have been marginalized as the “gay rights” movement has mainstreamed. Sylvia fought hard against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York, and was a loud and persistent voice for the rights of people of color and low-income queers and trans people.
A Pride comic from Van:
This is my small contribution to Pride Month.
I feel like Pride (at least here) is very LGB centered. This is our month too!
And let us never forget the fierce trans* women of color that led the movement! And all other gender nonconforming individuals there.
Sylvia Rivera is my hero.
Go out and celebrate the past, present, and future of our community.
Bias-Motivated Crime against Transgender Women of Color. Violence against transgender women of color is often attributed to sexual orientation rather than race or gender, says Paul Schewe, associate research professor of psychology. Schewe and Alicia Matthews, associate professor of nursing, will investigate police classification of crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in Chicago to determine how it may increase the likelihood of bias-motivated violence against LGBT people.
Janet Mock’s keynote speech at USC: Fighting for #GirlsLikeUs
Tweet @JanetMock and #GirlsLikeUs: http://twitter.com/janetmock
Writer and advocate Janet Mock addresses USC’s LGBT graduates and allies at the 18th annual Lavender Celebration, as the first transgender keynote speaker.
In her speech Janet discusses the trial of CeCe McDonald, the murder of Paige Clay and the reason why she decided to use her voice as a young trans woman of color.
Janet Mock writes at http://janetmock.com
Tweet her on http://twitter.com/janetmock
Follow her on http://facebook.com/musingsonlove
Video shot and edited by Aaron Tredwell: http://tredwellphoto.com
just wrote the most depression sentence of the most depressing paper. the prison industrial complex is just too fucked up and is fucking over trans women of color the hardest. we need to shot this shit out, now. cis people, we gotta start getting pissed. we created this and we have the power to make it change. abolish transphobia. abolish prisons. abolish hate.
this is all too much. we need to make this end, now. we need to keep protect the people we incarcerate. and we need to stop incarcerating so-fucking-many people. it is highly unnecessary. so read a book. preferably Queer (In)justice or Captive Genders and then start calling every fucking politician in the world. we have the privilege and the space to speak up for this population and we have to do it.
(writing an unbiased paper is literally impossible when you have this many feelings).
Excerpt from my call-and-response speech to cis and white women at “Women United against War on Women” national protest.
(We Are Listening!)
When we picture the women’s movement what faces do we see?
What voices do we hear?
And are they reflected in our choices? In our larger strategy?
Are transgender women a part of this movement?
Have we done our jobs to make that clear?
If so, where is the outrage when transgender women are murdered at an alarming rate in this country?
Where is the feminist takedown when — even in death — the media refers to our trans sisters with male pronouns and suggests that their very existence warranted their assault and murder?
Too many transgender women are being left behind.
Too many members of our family are dying.
Too many members of our family are being tortured and incarcerated, simply for surviving,
Just because we’re too busy “uniting” to look behind.
You must do better.
We must do better.
If I’ve learned anything about real-life revolutions
it’s that they sometimes can take on the form of the war you’re fighting.
it’s that it matters less what you’re fighting for, but who is fighting with you
The War on Women needs to mean more than reproductive justice for middle class white women.
The War on Women needs to mean more than the debate over abortion and birth control.
The War on Women must mean to us the impact of racism on women of color and our sons.
The War on Women must mean to us the impact of racism, sexism, and homophobia on transgender women of color.
The War on Women must mean to us the impact of un-checked privilege and ignorance within our movement.
The War between Women is real.
And until we can be brave enough to face the truth –
that we have to END the war over who counts as “women” amongst ourselves
we are NOT united.
End the War on ALL Women. Another trans woman was just murdered just this past weekend in Oakland by a man who was harassing her on the street and reportedly shot her after learning she’s trans. This is a feminist issue.
it is so annoying when someone makes a post that says something like ‘equality for trans women of color’ or whatever and then someone reblogs with ‘equality for everyone would be nice’ or something like that and it’s just like way to miss the fucking point
the reason people single out particular groups is because people throw around everyone is equal, beautiful, etc but they don’t mean it. feminism addresses the rights of women but often neglects the different experiences of women of color, trans women etc, as if the white hetero cis woman is the default experience. devoting a little time to a marginalized group independently isn’t going to incite a massacre by trans women of color on white cis peeps or something, in fact it will probably improve things for them !!
Morgan Collado, “On Actually Keeping Queer Queer: A response to Cherrie Moraga”
Learning about Moraga’s reactionary views on trans people is heartbreaking.
These are graphs from “Injustice at Every Turn” showing rate of sexual assault in jail/prison. The first graph is the rates of sexual assaults for trans women by race. The rates break down as follows:
According to “Injustice at Every Turn,” a report of institutionalized discrimination against trans people: “Transgender women of color were particularly vulnerable to sexual assault in jail/prison. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Black [trans women] respondents reported being sexually assaulted by either another inmate or a staff member in jail/prison.”
Multiracial, Latina, Black and American Indian trans women are twice to more then three times as likely as White trans women to be sexually assaulted in prison.
This is the only statistic in the report that simultaneously accounts for both the race and gender of participants. Taken by themselves trans women and trans people of color experience higher rates of discrimination than trans men, nonbinary and white trans people.
The second graph shows sexual assault rates in prison/jail by gender. The rates are for trans women:
For trans men:
For all trans people:
Gender nonconforming people:
Trans women in jail/prison are three to nine times as likely to be sexually assaulted by inmates, nearly twice as likely to be sexually assaulted by staff, and about three (2.5 - 3.33) times as likely to be sexually assaulted by anyone when compared to trans men and gender nonconforming people in jail/prison.
The third graph shows sexual assault rates in prison/jail by race. These break down for all trans people who went to jail/prison:
American Indian (sample size too small for reliable analysis):
Asian Pacific Islander (sample size too small for reliable analysis):
With a similar break down to that of the first graph showing race and gender, trans people of color in jail/prison are significantly more likely to be sexually assaulted when compared to White trans people in jail/prison.
We don’t need to be repeating in the African American community what we have observed being aimed at white transwomen for decades in terms of the rabid transphobic hate from rad fems, fundies, GL people and the scientifically illiterate transphobic cis masses.
We don’t need to have our academics espousing ignorant psychobabble like autogynephilia. We also need more of our clergy and legacy civil rights organizations getting on board with helping us not only stopping anti-trans violence aimed at our community, but helping us push trans human rights laws through.
Our African descended cis community must be an example to others in how to treat their trans populations with dignity and respect. We need that to happen so that we can do our part to uplift the African American community.