Today, on the 16th International Transgender Day of Remembrance, the world is marking the murder of 226 transgender people over the last year.
The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project has released its latest tragic report, highlighting the continued brutally faced by transgender people in 28 countries from October 1st 2013 to September 30th 2014.
According to the report, the majority of the victims were from Brazil (113), Mexico (31), Honduras (12), the USA (10) and Venezuela (10).
While Brazil and Mexico have the highest absolute numbers, the relative numbers show even more worrisome results for some countries with smaller population sizes such as Honduras, said TMM.
The statistics are not truly reflective of the violence against transgender people as it’s believed that many killings are not reported. TMM said there was almost no data available for African countries, although it did report one murder in Uganda.
It further noted that the highest absolute number of murders have been found in countries with strong trans movements and trans or LGBT organisations that do professional monitoring
“The close connection between the existence of strong trans movements and professional monitoring on the one hand, and highest absolute numbers of reports, on the other hand, point to a worrisome question: the question of unreported cases,” it said.
South Africa’s Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA) and Iranti-org also commented in a joint press release that there is great difficulty in documenting cases of transgender murders in the country.
“We cannot honestly say that violence against transgender people is decreasing in South Africa. What we know is that cases are not being reported and that transgender people are often labelled as gay or lesbian which makes it even more difficult to collect trans specific data that is connected to violence,” said Nthabiseng Mokoena, Programs and Staff Management Director, TIA
“Civil society and government need to find ways to ensure that cases are reported and that justice is upheld in those instances,” added Mokoena
The groups said that in 2014 they had dealt with a growing number of cases of human and civil rights violations against transgender learners in particular.
“It is clear that transgender learners continue to face discrimination within the educational system and that these learners are not afforded the same amount of protection against bullying, harassment and discrimination in comparison to cisgender learners,” said the organisations.
“The transgender community in South Africa remains one of the most economically disempowered populations in the country. Economic disempowerment can be linked to the significant school drop-out rates among transgender persons; bullying, harassment and lack of understanding from teachers being the top reasons for dropping out,” they explained.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) has taken place every November 20th since 1999 to commemorate transgender people around the world who have been murdered. It also aims to raise public awareness of hate crimes against trans people, provides a space for public mourning and honours the lives of those trans people who might otherwise be forgotten.