Congress to hold forum on anti-transgender violence
In the wake of 21 colored trans women murdered in the US since January, Congress is set to hold its first-ever congressional forum on violence against transgender people next week as the lead up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
A response to anti-transgender violence
The forum, to be held by congressional members of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, is set for November 17. It will follow the launch of a Transgender Equality Task Force chaired by Rep. Mike Honda.
“This week, as we seek to raise awareness of the issues facing the trans community, it is important to renew our commitment to help trans individuals be free of the fear of violence or bullying just for being who they are,” said Honda.
“It is only through social change that we can truly elevate the conversation in this country and reach a place of true understanding and embrace all people for who they are,” he added.
Other members of Congress who will take part include Rep. David Cicilline, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Joe Kennedy, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Mike Quigley, and Rep. Alan Lowenthal
Likewise, those present will include La La Zannell of the Anti-Violence Project, Laura Sorenson and Morris Home, Joanna Cifredo, Chad Griffin of Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Kylar Broadus of the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC), and Sharon Lettman-Hicks of the National Black Justice Coalition.
The murders of 21 trans women is almost the double of trans murders since 2014, while suicides are also up.
“Everybody would assume this has been a really good year for trans people,” said Keisling, the executive director for the DC-based National Center for Transgender Equality. “This has been as traumatic a year as we can remember.”
An epidemic of anti-transgender violence
The HRC and the TPOCC has released a joint report on the “epidemic of violence” against transgender people, especially on transgender women of color.
The report, Addressing Anti-Transgender Violence: Exploring Realities, Challenges and Solutions for Policymakers and Community Advocates, expands on an issue brief that the HRC Foundation released in partnership with TPOCC in January.
Aside from stories of the victims, the report highlights key data, challenges, and case studies of cities working to address violence against transgender people.
“At a time when transgender people are finally gaining visibility and activists are forcing our country to confront systemic violence against people of color, transgender women of color are facing an epidemic of violence that occurs at the intersections of racism, sexism and transphobia––issues that advocates can no longer afford to address separately,” said HRC president Griffin.
“The LGBT community has long counted on our non-LGBT allies to stand beside us in the fight for equality; and right now, the transgender community needs allies more than ever as we fight for our very survival,” Broadus, Executive Director TPOCC, said.
“We are proud to partner with HRC on this work, and we ask all of our cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight friends, loved ones and supporters to stand up against the continuing stigma and discrimination that is killing transgender people of color at alarming rates,” Broadus said of the effort against anti-transgender violence.