I adore much of Sam Hope’s work, and recently encountered an old post of theirs where they gave some cogent critiques of hate crime legislation. Unlike reactionary dingleberries who literally complain that the law theoretically acknowledges specific and targeted forms of violence, Hope makes a number of complex points highlighting minorities’ relationship with media representation as well as our elevated rates of incarceration. It’s a refreshing break from the standard “we’re already equal” bullshit apologists for the status quo spew out that still points out flaws in the logic behind hate crime legislation.
We know that many marginalised minorities are over-represented in the prison population. For trans people this is no different, and the reasons are complex and multi-layered. Trans people suffer disproportionately from poor mental health which is directly related to lack of social support, discrimination, poor healthcare, poor housing, unemployment and psychological trauma. Trans people are less likely to be in employment, and more likely to be harassed or discriminated against at work. Trans people are even more likely than other LGBT people to become homeless or be poorly or vulnerably housed. Massive health inequality was recently flagged up in the Government’s Transgender Equality Inquiry as a major issue for the trans community. As with many oppressed communities, drug and alcohol abuse are issues within our community. Some of our medicines, if not prescribed to us, are considered class C drugs, and of course some of us in desperation turn to illegal markets for the drugs we need. Trans people are more likely to live in poverty. Trans people are more likely to find opportunities through sex work when there is a lack of other opportunity, and when we are sexualised and objectified. Trans people are more likely to experience sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Trans people’s experience of domestic violence is disproportionately high. We are often, as with other LGBT people, considered the aggressors if we defend ourselves against attack, simply because people look on us with prejudice.
So, like most other minorities, we are thought to be over-represented in the prison system, and we might not always feel that prison is the answer in the way others who have never brushed with the law might feel. And we might not feel safe and trusting to approach the police. We might not expect a fair hearing. We don’t always act like the model minority and our sometimes messy lives may invite more judgement than sympathy.
Read more here.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
Thanks for this. As in “stop the psychosexual nonsense,” I think Hope’s writing here would benefit quite a bit by clarifying that we’re almost exclusively talking about out-trans* folk when we’re discussing the state of research and therefore the state of our knowledge of proportions/ percentages/ likelihoods.
That critique doesn’t change the fact that we desperately need more voices articulating the critique that more crimes, more convictions, more time served is not what any community in the US needs.