Trans Americans made some significant headway toward fair treatment in 2012. Among many other notable events, Kylar Broadus became the first trans person to testify before the Senate and The Miss Universe Pageant agreed to revise its policies to include trans women. Yet while these advancements have contributed to the equality treatment of all Americans, the media involving trans Americans wasn't always positive this year.
Honoring Trans Americans Lost to Anti-Trans Violence
Among the more notable stories of 2012 were the reports of individuals who we lost as a result of anti-trans violence. According to a story by The Advocate, as many as 13 murders were reported this year. This year, GLAAD joined community activists and trans leaders in commemorating the lives of Kyra Cordova, Coko Williams, Tyrell Jackson, Paige Clay, Tiffany Gooden, Deja Jones, Kendall Hampton, Rene Hernandez, Brandy Martell, Lorena Escalera, Crain Conaway, Tracey Johnson, Shelley Hillard,13 individuals who we lost as a result of anti-trans violence. And those are just the reported incidents. Every year since the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, violence against trans people, particular trans people of color, has steadily risen.
Back in February, GLAAD along with other advocates in including Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Jennifer Finny Boylan and Autumn Sandeen, as well as Feministing, all spoke out against the dehumanizing coverage of Lorena Escalera, a trans woman of color who was killed in a building fire at her Brooklyn home.
Trans activist Janet Mock spoke out about the incident on stage at the GLAAD Awards in San Francisco.
After GLAAD and the community spoke out, we successfully organized members of New York’s trans community to meet with editors and staff members at the Times for a very frank, off-the-record discussion about issues that uniquely affect trans people.
Voting While Trans
In addition to stories about the increased violence against trans individuals, the harmful effects of revised voter id laws on trans Americans was also a priority during the presidential election season. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, as many as 25,000 trans Americans were at risk of having their right to vote blocked because of new laws that require some form of government-issued IDs.
Getting accurate identification has been an old challenge for transgender people. Many states have overcome this problem by modernizing their laws on updating birth certificates and drivers licenses, making voting more accessible to transgender people.
This year to elevate the voices of trans Americans ,GLAAD in partnerships with National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), an advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights and liberties of transgender Americans, released a series of public service announcements at www.votingwhiletrans.org
I AM: Trans People Speak
This year, more than ever trans voices were needed in the media to shed light on who trans Americans are and the challenges they face when trying to participate fully in in their communities. I AM: Trans People Speak campaign, cosponsored by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), raises awareness about the diversity of transgender communities and lifts the voices of transgender individuals, as well as their families, friends, and allies.
Transgender people have a wide range of interests, experiences and backgrounds that are too often ignored because of their trans identity.