A few months ago, I wrote about intersectionality and included a PDF of the research that I did for a class during my senior year of university, in which I found academic research that trans women of color are significantly more likely to experience violence than other identities of the LGBTQ+ community. (Most of that research came from a report done by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.) And with only a month and a half into 2015, this year has unfortunately continued the harsh trend of violence towards trans women.
There were Valentine’s Day protests that focused on the violence addressing the violence against trans women of color (particularly black trans women) in several cities, including:
- St. Louis, MO
- Oakland, CA (#Love4QTPOC)
Janet Mock also wrote a piece on her site where she writes about the visibility of trans women of color in the wake of 6 murders of trans women in 2015. There’s a different piece on The Root that acknowledges the fact that the disproportionate violence against trans women goes largely ignored. Princess Harmony Rodriguez wrote a piece for Black Girl Dangerous titled “Whose Lives Matter?: Trans Women of Color and Police Violence”.
And there are so many issues that come into play with this, including:
- Homeless shelters can be unsafe for trans people experiencing homelessness and finding a place to live can be difficult as well. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has a guide to transitioning homeless shelters.
- Sex work. Janet Mock wrote about her experiences in sex work in her book, Redefining Realness, and in a piece on her website, including that:
Sex work is heavily stigmatized, whether one goes into it by choice, coercion or circumstance. Sex workers are often dismissed, causing even the most liberal folk, to dehumanize, devalue and demean women who are engaged in the sex trades. This pervasive dehumanization of women in the sex trades leads many to ignore the silencing, brutality, policing, criminalization and violence sex workers face, even blaming them for being utterly damaged, promiscuous, and unworthy. So because I learned that sex work is shameful, and I correlated trans womanhood and sex work, I was taught that trans womanhood is shameful. This belief system served as the base of my understanding of self as a trans girl, and I couldn’t separate it from my own body image issues, my sense of self, my internalized shame about being trans, brown, poor, young, woman.
It’s so important to start addressing the violence that trans women are facing in society today. And to be an ally to the trans community (particularly trans women of color), it’s also important to realize that being an ally isn’t an identity but constantly acting in solidarity. There are organizations that need support, including the Trans Women of Color Collective, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, The Leelah Project, and so many more.