What Will It Take For People To Care About Black Trans Women?
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Politics and Activism

What Will It Take For People To Care About Black Trans Women?

The ignored epidemic of violence against black trans women.

What Will It Take For People To Care About Black Trans Women?
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When I started writing this article, it was about yet another black trans women who was murdered. But in just two days, three more murders were reported. This brings the total for murders of black trans women in 2017 to six.

And it's only March.

None of this is a new phenomenon. 2015 and 2016 were the deadliest years on record for trans women of color in the United States, with the majority of victims being black. 2016 also saw the release of the largest ever survey of trans Americans. The survey found that trans people were marginalized in every level of society, with black trans women bearing the brunt of that marginalization.

That's just in the United States. In Brazil, an average of one LGBTQ+ person is killed a day. 40 percent of these murders involve trans women, more specifically black trans women.

All this has meant that the average life-expectancy for a trans woman of color in the Western Hemisphere is a mere 35. You would think that a fact as horrifying as this would spur us into action but it doesn't. Most people aren't even aware of it.

There have been no rallies for black trans women, no celebrity shows of support or even the slightest show of public outrage. Mainstream LGBTQ+ organizations, like HRC or GLAAD, have also merely paid lip service to this epidemic of violence, choosing instead to focus on more privileged queer folks.

Even in marginalized communities, oppressive power structures still exist within us. White supremacy and cisnormativity infect the queer community, creating power structures where black trans women are at the absolute bottom of the list. This is something we must acknowledge and resist.

Black trans women threw the first stones at Stonewall and have always been on the frontlines of LGBTQ+ liberation. So it's frankly unacceptable that we, as white queer people, haven't shown up for them when they've shown up for all of us time and time again.

We live in a time of mass political engagement. Millions of people, some of whom who have never done so in the past, have taken to the streets to resist the Trump Administration's fascist agenda. All that is inspiring, but if our resistance isn't intersectional, it will fail.

So when we are fighting for queer liberation in the time of Trump, we need to not only acknowledge black trans women, but to focus on their voices and their experiences. If we don't do that, we will continue to reproduce oppressive structures within our community, which will result in more senseless black, trans deaths.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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