Members of the transgender community face severe discrimination at almost every level, leading to them having extremely high levels of poverty and homelessness. They are also the targets of extreme violence. Cleveland has been the scene of fatal attacks on members of the transgender community, two of them in the last few days. Another person was killed back in January. The good thing is that the local leadership has been quick to speak out against these attacks.
Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman has been outspoken about the need for greater acceptance of transgender individuals. He spoke at City Hall that night. On Saturday he said he is waiting to see police reports on the two recent suspected homicides to see if they are hate crimes.
“If they are, it is heinous and unacceptable,” the councilman said. “We don’t tolerate this.”
He said while crime in general is going down in this country, attacks on transgender individuals are rising.
[Jacob] Nash [an advocate for the Greater Cleveland transgender community] said the transgender community in Greater Cleveland will hold a meeting in about a week to discuss their concerns.
He said, “When people don’t understand about the transgender community and that we are just trying to live our lives the best we can, then others feel it’s OK to hurt us simply because they fear what they don’t know.”‘
Nash is right that greater awareness that people are just people will reduce the temptation to lash out at those who are perceived to be different. Familiarity does tend to assist acceptance and I hope we quickly reach that stage before any more such attacks take place, the way that attacks on gay people seem to have thankfully declined. At least, I hope they have declined, and that it is not just that the media got bored with the subject.
I just don’t understand why people would attack others for their sexuality. I can understand why some people are unsettled by the fact that gender is not a fixed property of an individual but occupies a spectrum and that people’s gender identity can change over time. But if it makes you uncomfortable, don’t socialize with them. Just go your own way and let them go theirs. Why attack them?