International Human Rights Day: The Global Issue of Anti-Transgender Violence

On this 2012 observance of International Human Rights Day, anti-transgender violence continues to be suffered at alarming rates throughout the world. Transgender Europe noted a total of 265 cases of reported killings of trans people from November 15th 2011 to November 14th 2012. This number only accounts for those crimes that were reported – many are not – and says nothing of anti-transgender violence that did not result in death.

International news reports from recent days reflect our world’s tragic pattern of anti-transgender violence – that it occurs so frequently, and that law enforcement is at best, ignoring the issue and at worst, responsible for it.

·      The Times of India reported the brutal attack of a local transgender leader in Madurai by an unidentified group that left deep cut injuries all over her body.

·      The Jakarta Post reported that transgender people in the Indonesian capital are facing violence from local anti-trans activist groups, paired with law enforcement that is unwilling to protect them.

·      The Associated Press shared interviews with transgender sex workers in Ivory Coast who have been routinely beaten, strip-searched and raped by military personnel.

To make matters worse, the media often misreports, underreports or sensationalizes stories involving transgender people. Local media outlets in New York have offensively covered the trial of a transgender woman alleging violence from her former partner. In Virginia, the case of a transgender teenager who has been missing for more than 20 days has received little media coverage at all.  

Media outlets have an opportunity on this International Human Rights Day to draw attention not only to isolated incidents of anti-transgender violence, but to the fact that this violence is a global issue.