Black Trans Lives and Violence

This Sunday is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which serves as a day of memorialization for victims of transphobic violence. 2016 has been on the deadliest years on record for the trans* community. This year alone, there have been 24 victims, three of which are from Ohio, making Ohio one of the states with the highest number of violent incidents against transgender individuals. This year we have lost Brandi Bledsoe (32, Cleveland), Rae’Lynne Thomas (28, Columbus) and Sky Mockabee (26, Cleveland).Their deaths are the direct result of transphobia, and racism, as all three are trans women of color. According to the National Coalition of Anti Violence Programs reported that, “Transgender people of color were 6 times more likely to experience physical violence from the police compared to White cisgender survivors and victims. The intersection of racism and transphobia can make these survivors and victims more vulnerable to violence and more likely to experience discrimination and violence from direct service providers and law enforcement.”

What can we do?

Delia Melody, a trans- activist wrote that “casual transphobia is the root of all transphobia…and we have all unintentionally contributed to an environment that carelessly ends trans lives without knowing any better.” As an agency that strives to be a safe space for all, now, more than ever we must advocate for one another and increase our cultural sensitivity, especially for those who are at an extreme risk for violence and hatred. We can be a safe space for trans* individuals and all LGBTQ community members by providing culturally competent care that includes understanding the multitude of factors that influence trans* and LGBTQ health, promoting social justice and reform, reflecting on our own cultural awareness, and continuously educating ourselves on what it means to be an ally and resource for this community.

Written by Shae Ward