Disturbing incidents have occurred this past few weeks, starting with the brutal murder of a black transgender woman in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Brayla Stone was found dead in her car at just 17 years old. Unfortunately, she is one of many transgender black women murdered recently. More Transgender Black women are being killed than ever before. The Human Rights Campaign even states that there maybe even more more killings because often get unreported or misreported.With in the past month there have been six killings against Black Transgender women.
One of the large reasons that these deaths get misreported is do to misgendering. In cases like Brayla Stone's the family of the victim asked media and news outlets to use Brayla's given name, Braylen. In addition to families misgendering the victim the HRC reports "an estimated 78% of all tracked deaths included misgendering in media or by law enforcement." these trans-phobic reporting techniques must come to an end, they support discrimination of the transgender community and disrupt our awareness. The actions of reporters and officials only further the stigma. Transgender people are already at higher risk for acts of violence to be committed against them, and immoderately affects transgender women of color. The Trump Administration is also played major role in discriminating against the trans community. Recently, they announced that they would be terminating the Equal Access Rule which allows transgender people to receive shelter as the gender they identify as at shelters that receive funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This now would allow shelters to deny transgender people. The document went as far as providing instructions on how to spot transgender women.
"Experts estimate an average of 250,000 hate crimes were committed each year between 2004 and 2015 in the United States. The majority of these were not reported to law enforcement."
Although there are nongovernmental organizations trying to keep track of murders and violent crimes against transgenders there there is no formal governmental collection in the United States. This data would provide the severity, and frequency of these crimes along with other data that has potential to help the crisis at hand.This lack of data sources gets in the way of us coming to a better understanding of these crimes. Each study done by these organizations ahs come to the same disturbing finding, "that young transgender women of color almost certainly face a higher chance of being murdered"(Stotzer, 2017).
"If we cannot accurately track the problem of bias-motivated incidents, we will remain inherently limited in our efforts to combat them." -Sim Singh
The Justice Department is allegedly working on improving the reporting system and investigation techniques used in hate crime cases. This is largely due to the fact that in 2018 that two states (Alabama and Wyoming) as well as over 85 cities with populations over 100,000 persons reported having zero hate crimes for the year. This seems highly unlikely.
It is now more important than ever before to focus on the prevention of these hate crimes.Creating awareness is one of the best things you can do to help prevent hate crimes according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and luckily it is not that hard.
"Create a community-wide public awareness campaign that provides information, awareness, and resources for community members and victims of hate crimes. The awareness campaign can range from identifying intolerance to providing resources for potential victims."
It is important to use your voice to help protect others. Even though it may not seem like it, most hate crime are committed by people under the age of 30. It is also thought that even though under 18 already makes up a large percentage of hate crimes that it is under-reported due to it often being considered bullying instead.Use your social media to spread awareness and make sure to let those who are often targeted know they are supported.