[Content warning: guns, police violence, transgender homicide]
Every year, we mourn the loss of vibrant transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people on November 20. In 2019, ¾ of the transgender people were killed by guns. In 2020, 60% died from being shot. Some of the deaths, we don’t know the details – cause of death, relationship to the offender, or anything else. Half or more of deaths each year are related to intimate partner violence and/or a person known to the person who died. And, as many of us know, the majority of the deaths each year are trans women of color.
Of the 38 known homicides this past year, it is also critical to note that 6 deaths reflect the civil rights challenges, pervasive racism, police misconduct, prison-industrial complex harm, and reactive violence occurring in our culture.
- Two trans people were killed from officer-involved shootings.
- Two trans people were killed in jail/correctional facilities.
- Two people were killed while participating in a rallies/vigils for someone who died.
In 2020, it is more apparent than ever that gun and police violence are critically pressing issues for the trans community – even more so for Black and Latinx trans people and others who live at the intersections of multiple identities and experiences.
Every day in the U.S. there are, on average, 30 gun homicides and 60 gun suicides. 40% of trans and non-binary people have attempted suicide. Suicide is far more likely to be completed if a gun is used.
Including officer-involved shootings, there are four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides for every one self-defense shooting in the United States. Women* who have abusive current or partners are five times as likely to be killed if their abuser owns a gun.
*Statistics on male abuse survivors and those whose abusers are female are not currently available; nor are stats on trans people in abusive relationships.
The presence of firearms (coupled with implicit and explicit bias) makes law enforcement officers more likely to kill civilians, particularly Black Americans. Trans people of color are also 6x more likely to experience police violence than white cisgender people. (Trans people of all races are nearly 4 times more likely to experience police violence than non-trans peers.)
Hate-motivated rhetoric, systemic racism, police violence, and COVID-19 have resulted in a record number of gun sales in the US (17 million gun purchases as of October, 2020). While there is no data on trans people buying weapons, FORGE and other anti-violence organizations continue to learn that more and more trans people are feeling the need to defend themselves, so are buying fire arms. Again, the systemic issues that lead to these trends include trans folks feeling unsafe in the current world where rights are continuing to be taken away, hate-speech permeates the media, and where other citizens feel emboldened to say and act in violent ways.
The above are painful and profound statistics.
We want trans people to be safe and feel safe.
We want trans people to live in a world not overrun with racism.
We want trans people to thrive in a world without transphobia.
We want trans people to stay alive.
Here are some actions you can take against gun violence to help keep trans people alive:
- Research how your Member of Congress and Senators have voted on gun control issues, and vote accordingly: https://www.npr.org/2018/02/19/566731477/chart-how-have-your-members-of-congress-voted-on-gun-bills
- Get guns out of your house. This article gives seven ways you can safely dispose of guns: http://www.care2.com/causes/7-things-to-do-with-your-unwanted-guns.html
- Police reform. Educate yourself on what police reform and/or abolition looks like, which states are taking on police reform, and how you can get involved.
- Take a look at the November 5th post for 30 Days of Action to learn about getting involved with protests for Black trans lives and donating to organizations taking on justice reform.
#30DaysOfAction #TDOR #TDOR2020 #SexualHarassment #GunViolence #PoliceMisconduct