A reported twenty trans women have been killed in 2015 so far, most recently in Kansas City. Tamara Dominguez was killed after being run over multiple times in her church parking lot on Saturday, August 15 at about 3 a.m. Police report that her body was hit initially by a black Chevy Avalanche and then ran over at least 2 more times. While twenty is the number that has been reported out of those only nine have filed charges, unfortunately the number being reported is based on the homicide that was reported, a number of victims have gone under the radar due to police officers more often than not run across the problem of having victims birth certificate not match the gender identity and therefore label the victim as either male or female when they were in fact trans.
Unfortunately, as more and more people feel a heightened level of acceptance in society with the coming out of public figures such as Caitlyn Jenner, there is also now a high level of visibility by those opposing. Not every transgender individual feels as safe and accepting coming out due to their financial and social disadvantages. In a recent Time article, Masen Davis went on to say
“Right now we’re experiencing a Dickensian time, where it’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times at once,”
what she means by that is that while it’s great that transgender individuals are now in the public and accepted by most, not everyone has the supporting environment that say Caitlyn Jenner has. Perhaps even more alarming is that of these 20 reported trans women 17 have been black or Latina. At this number alone America should be more alarmed with the news; however the media’s misgendering of the individuals, more often than not, causes the downplay of the situation. If you are misgendering an individual who lost their life as a result of a hate-motivated act of violence, you are diminishing the issue by simply not giving the case the attention enough to broadcast or report the correct facts. Publicly, the issue will be perceived as something that not worth getting attention because if the police can’t even get the right gender or report the right facts then it wasn’t that big of a deal anyway, right?
Trans women of color are 6 times more likely to be victims of acts of violence due to transphobia and racism, what we face as a society is an epidemic that doesn’t seem to have any solution in sight and what we can do as a society is not let these women’s name go unknown and speak out against these heinous acts. Remember: our voices are our strongest weapons–because if we don’t speak out for the victims then who will?