Approximately 160 activists gathered in Chicago to protest the violence and discrimination trans women, and especially trans women of colour, have to deal with. Particularly in the light of Trump’s inflammatory campaign, hate crimes against the QUILTBAG community have increased in many areas of the world, even outside the United States. With another murder in Chicago, the number of trans women murdered in the United States has already exceeded the previous year’s count.
It was a rare public moment for a group long relegated to society’s margins: These transgender women of color, along with their supporters, said the act of civil disobedience was intended to shed light on the violence they fear because of the combination of their gender identity and skin color — what they consider a scary confluence of transphobia and racism.
“We face violence within our own family, when we walk outside our doors, when we actually apply for jobs,” said organizer LaSaia Wade, 29, of the Chicago-based group TGNC Collective. “We deal with oppression within our own community, we also deal with systemic racism. … So it’s a double negative.”
The night started with a vigil mourning the recent killing of a local black transgender woman. The body of T.T. Saffore, 28, was found with her throat slit and multiple stab wounds, lying near train tracks in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. While a knife was discovered nearby, police say no one has been arrested in the Sept. 11 homicide.
Nationally, at least 21 transgender people have been fatally shot, stabbed or killed by other violent means so far this year, according to The Advocate, a publication and news site dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. At least 16 were transgender women, and the majority were women of color, according to the Washington, D.C.-basedHuman Rights Campaign.
Five days after Saffore was killed, a black transgender woman was shot to death in Baltimore.
“At a time when transgender people are finally gaining visibility and advocates are forcing our country to confront systemic violence against people of color, transgender women of color are facing an epidemic of violence that occurs at the intersections of racism, sexism and transphobia — issues that advocates can no longer afford to address separately,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, in the organization’s 2015 report on anti-transgender violence.
Three jurisdictions, all under Western democracies, all reporting elevated levels of hate motivated crime against the QUILTBAG community. It just goes to show you that nationalism is linked to so many types of supremacy, and why most of us Queers are justifiably suspicious anytime reactionary lobbies try to claim to protect us against “foreign threats:” The moment we accept that there is one correct way to “American” is the moment anything perceived as deviant, including gender & sexual diversity, becomes a threat. Why on dog’s green Earth would we accept or promote this premise?