The attack on Dandara dos Santos
There is a brutal global war underway against transgender people. In the latest incidents, a transgender woman has been filmed being beaten to death in Brazil while another has been hacked to death in Malaysia.
In a sickening video circulated by LGBT groups and released by police last week, a terrified, crying and bloody transgender woman is seen pleading for her life before she is beaten to death.
The victim, Dandara dos Santos, 42, from Fortaleza, Ceara state, Brazil, was dragged from her home before being kicked, punched and attacked with a wooden plank in the street by a group of men. Her murderers also taunted her with homophobic and transphobic comments and mocked her breasts.
Despite begging for mercy, dos Santos was dumped into a wheelbarrow and wheeled off out of camera, where her attackers finally beat her to death. The person filming the video is heard laughing and says, ‘They’re going to kill the faggot.”
The police have identified six suspects thanks to the video of the 15 February attack. The state of Ceara released a statement in which it “expresses its deepest condemnation of acts of violence and intolerance as practiced against Dandara dos Santos, who was killed by brutal beating”.
We have chosen not to publish the video, but it can be viewed here.
According to a report released in January, an LGBT person is murdered almost daily in Brazil, with transgender women and gay men bearing the brunt of most of the violence.
In Malaysia, Sameera Krishman, a 27-year-old transgender florist, was hacked, shot three times and mutilated on 23 February in the city of Kuantan.
There are fears that the motivation behind her killing was religious fundamentalist, as Islamic extremism and the grip of Sharia law grow in Malaysia. It is believed that three masked men who arrived in two cars carried out the killing.
Krishman’s brutal murder was not her first violent ordeal. Two men are currently on trial for attacking her in 2015. In that incident, police happened to discover her tied up in a car after it had been involved in an accident.
Krishman was buried on 24 February, which was her 28th birthday.
Boris Dittrich from Human Rights Watch has pointed out that Malaysia is one of very few countries in the world that prosecutes transgender individuals. “Under these discriminatory laws, transgender people can be arrested simply for wearing clothing deemed not to pertain to their assigned sex,” he said.
The onslaught against transgender women is a reality in other countries. It was recently reported that at least seven transgender women were murdered in the US in just the first two months of this year.
According to Transgender Europe there were a total of 295 cases of reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. On 27 December 2015, 30-year-old Phoebe Titus, a transgender hairdresser in the Western Cape Town of Wolseley, was knifed to death by a 15-year-old youth in broad daylight.