Since 2010, the number of transgender murders has risen to unprecedented levels. The greatest fear is that these trans men and women won’t be remembered. Thanks to Mic’s new digital project, Unerased: Counting Transgender Lives, these members of the trans community won’t be forgotten.
Unerased is chock full of startling statistics. 1 in every 2,600 young black trans women will be murdered in a given year. If the entire population was at the same risk, the U.S. would have seen 120,087 murders so far in 2016 instead of 15,696. Statistics aside, it’s clear that trans women are being killed at an alarmingly high rate.
The scarier fact is that many experts believe the rate is higher due to misrepresentation of gender or other identity factors.
The project goes on to tell detailed stories of many trans victims. One such article details the story of Devin Diamond, a trans woman who was murdered at the young age of 20. Diamond’s body had been burned beyond recognition. DNA tests had identified her as a man and her family affirmed the find. It was only after a friend’s Facebook post that local media and authorities learned she was a trans woman.
A map of the United States highlights the states where the greatest concentration of deaths has taken place. Surprisingly, the Northeast and Midwest are the biggest hotbeds of trans violence.
Unlike other murder cases, trans deaths present a very complicated issue of identity. If government documents haven’t been updated, there’s the threat that a trans person’s life could essentially be erased to properly identify them. And furthermore, Mic reports that 39% of trans murders have gone unsolved.
The project goes on to share the stories of trans women who feel their lives are at risk every day simply for being themselves.
Though the in-depth report is sobering, it ends on a promising note. Police departments in states like Washington and Michigan have formed LGBTQ task units with a specific focus on trans safety. Thanks to increased activism, there’s more awareness. With more awareness comes a better outcome for trans women everywhere.
Unerased is tough to read and process. Far too often, the trans community makes headlines for all the wrong reasons: murder, death, posthumous identity struggles. For those young trans men and women out there who are looking for hope in the future, reports like these paint a bleak picture.
It’s important to note that now, in 2016, this is part of the trans community’s reality. The good news is it doesn’t always have to be. There are signs of change and movement. The fact that a comprehensive report like this even exists is a sign that people are paying attention. Attitudes are shifting, and society is moving in the right direction.
With this information out there presented in such a compelling manner, it will be impossible for this level of violence to continue. We’ve got America’s attention. Now, it’s time to use it to save our lives.