Hate crimes are anything but new to people labeled as different in our society. Throughout
human history there are countless stories depicting the intense segregation between the normal
and the “other.” And while we live in an age where many of the horrors that our ancestors have
encountered are numbed to us, it still troubling to know the massive number of attacks on queer
identified people. A major focus on this being towards the transgendered community; who’ve
been targeted much more aggressively than most.
The rates of attacks are staggering and altogether terrifying, with very little coverage being
made on mainstream news outlets. Just a few mere weeks ago two young trans-women, Chyna Gibson and Ciara McElveen, were killed within 48 hours in New Orleans. Friends and family
members of the deceased believe the police system is incompetent and unsympathetic towards
these victims and have lost hope in justice being served at all.
Trans violence has risen largely in recent years, with 2016 holding the record for the highest death toll of transgender people, at 27 reported murders. It should be noted that a majority of
these victims were trans-women of color. Also to be noted is that the majority of attacks are
often unreported, begging the question that the rate of death may be much higher than we
Now, with 2017’s death toll against trans-women of color already climbing, the fear LGBTQ
members are concerned with proves the hate crime movements are still high in effect. The various boundaries and adversities queer individuals face on a daily basis don’t help the cause
at all, often leaving these people in intensely uncomfortable situations that renders them
vulnerable to acts of violence. A large number of trans-women, in general, suffer a great deal of
struggle from homelessness, abusive relationships and being forced into the sex trade business
due to poverty.
Many members of the LGBTQ community believe the justice system has no desire to help or
protect them. With the number of attacks and lack of attention towards them, it’s not hard to see
why; especially with the current political climate. In fact, a good deal of conservative members of
the state have filed suits objecting against the protection of trans-people. It has also been
estimated that more than twenty five states have no state-level protection towards
transgendered job and/or public housing applicants.
Just last year, South Dakota house representative Fred Deutsch proposed his own “Bathroom bill.” These bills have been proposed to legislators for decades now and are created to restrict bathroom use by transgender folk to facilities that matched their biological gender. These and other laws regarding medical exams, adoption, marriage and even driver’s license information
have sparked massive movements on both sides of the issue. Although many of these bills have
been vetoed, restrictive rules regarding transgendered folks on a local level still very much exist.
National surveys show that numerous Americans are becoming much more aware of
trans-people in general, a great many of them are still weary of the potential “dangers” such
people can bring to their lives. With an often apathetic public and trans-phobic political figures,
the difficulty in finding solace and help can prove to be a scary and tough road to venture.
So what will become of trans-folk or queer folk in general? Why has it been so hard for society
to accept them after all the strides we’ve taken throughout the decades? The easy answer
would be to break down these barriers and allow queer people to assimilate into society fully
and freely. Wouldn’t that stop these vicious attacks once and for all? Wouldn’t that be a step in
the right direction towards true equality in a country so divided?
Obviously, that would be easier said than done.
Until then, however, all we can do is continue to fight and speak out against the injustices
these innocent people face. No one should ever be afraid to be walk out their front door just for
living in their absolute truth. As soon as we all accept this, the better off we’d all be.