“We only speak out when Black men are being harmed or murdered.”
LGBTQ+ organisations are calling for the Black Lives Matter movement to do more for murdered Black trans women, who face disproportionate levels of discrimination and violence in the United States.
This year alone, 12 members of the community have lost their lives and eight of these victims were trans women of colour. 26 trans people were also killed in 2019, a majority of which were Black trans women.
Of course, these are only the murders that have been officially documented, and have taken place in the United States – it’s likely that there are many more undocumented murders of trans individuals elsewhere in the world.
Often targeted for their race, sexuality and gender identity, the plight of Black trans women has been overlooked in the Black Lives Matter protests that have taken place across the world, say LGBTQ+ activists.
“I don’t think that anybody would say that there’s been enough attention focused on and around trans people and the state of violence they live in,” said Tori Cooper of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBTQ+ advocacy group.
“I think it is a weakness of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement…. We only speak out when Black men are being harmed or murdered,” Cooper told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Protests and demonstrations erupted in the United States following the murder of 46-year-old Black man George Floyd, who was killed after a white police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
George’s murder renewed scrutiny of police brutality towards Black Americans and the past murders of Black men such as Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and Michael Brown, among several others.
While the protests have resulted in George’s killers facing charges, authorities are yet to release the name of the officer who killed Tony McDade, a Black trans men who was fatally shot last month.
“Violence does not just occur to Black men and Black women. It occurs to all Black LGBT people. We are the people that are not being heard in this movement,” said Mariah Moore of the Transgender Law Center.
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