As the world marks the International Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR), it’s been revealed that 325 transgender and gender-diverse people were reported murdered worldwide in the last year.
Transgender Europe (TGEU) has released the annual update to its Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project to raise awareness about violence against trans and gender-diverse people, and to honour the lives of those who might otherwise be forgotten.
The TDoR 2017 update has revealed a total of 325 cases of reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017, constituting an increase of 30 cases compared to last year’s update.
The majority of the murders occurred in Brazil (171), Mexico (56), and the United States (25), adding up to a total of 2,609 reported cases in 71 countries worldwide between 1 January 2008 and 30 September 2017.
One case from South Africa is included on this year’s report. Identified only as Sihle, she was murdered in August in Duncan Village in the Eastern Cape. According to TGEU, Sihle was heading home after a night out at a tavern when a man made sexual advances towards her. When she rejected him, he became aggressive and stabbed her to death.
“Trans and gender-diverse people around the world are victims of horrifying hate violence, including extortion, physical and sexual assaults, and murder, which often go unreported,” said TGEU in a statement.
TGEU relies on organisations in each country to report the cases which it documents. The group noted that in most countries, data on violence against trans and gender-diverse people are not systematically produced and it is impossible to estimate the actual number of cases.
The issue of the misgendering of trans victims by the police and the media is also a challenge that affects accurate reporting.
TGEU found that trans and gender-diverse sex workers are particularly vulnerable to violence. Of the reported victims, whose profession was known, 62% were sex workers. In Europe, Turkey has seen 44 trans women, the majority sex workers, murdered in the last nine years.
In France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, which are the countries to which most trans and gender-diverse people from Africa and Central and South America migrate, 69% of the reported murder victims were migrants.
TMM data also shows that, in the United States, the victims are overwhelmingly trans people of colour and/or Native American (86%).
The International Trans Day of Remembrance 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 trans people.