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Today is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, when communities across the globe hold candlelight vigils paying tribute to the many trans and gender-diverse people who have lost their lives to violence over the past 12 months. Cities as far flung as New York City and Bangkok are staging events that bring awareness to the disheartening number of trans deaths worldwide.
According to Transgender Europe, the past year has seen 369 reported trans deaths due to violence around the world (though numbers vary), with the majority of victims migrants and sex workers. The Human Rights Campaign in the United States has issued a 73-page report that found 22 of those deaths due to anti-trans violence were in America.
Over the last 10 years, a total of 2,982 trans and gender-diverse people were reported killed, in 72 countries around the world, says TGEU.
Speaking on trans deaths in the United States — but something that applies to what’s happening worldwide — HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride says, “While every year is a little bit different, overall, we are seeing an upward trend in hate-based violence against the transgender community as well as other marginalized communities … and the upward trend, I think, reinforces the urgency of combating this violence against LGBTQ people.”
The site GAYta Science, which dedicates itself to “data science with a LGBTQ+ focus,” has created an interactive site that explains succinctly why we still need a Transgender Day of Remembrance 19 years after the tradition began.
Upon going here on your web browser, you’re taken to an interactive site that examines 419 trans deaths between Oct. 1, 2017 and Sept. 30, 2018. They’re broken down by continent, and each is represented by a single tea light candle. Scrolling over an individual candle brings up each victim’s name, age, country where the killing occurred and details about the tragedy that transpired.
Taking a look at the number of trans deaths worldwide is at once horrifying and heartbreaking.
While honoring the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance is a great opportunity to bring awareness and visibility to the plight of being a trans individual in today’s world, let’s all remember that it’s the least we can do. Members of the LGBTQ community and allies must stand up and advocate for our trans family, and must always remember to be a voice of love and defense for the otherwise voiceless.