The Violence That Black Trans Women Face
[content warning: transmisogynoir] Tiffany Edwards, 28 years old, is a Black trans woman who was shot to death in Ohio. Cemia “Ci Ci” Dove, 20 years old, is Black trans woman who was stabbed to death and her body was further brutalized in Ohio. Mia Henderson, 26 years old, is a Black trans woman who was killed and her body experienced “severe trauma” in Maryland. Brittany-Nicole Kidd-Stergis, 22 years old, is a Black trans woman who was shot to death in Ohio.
They are just a (recent) sampling of the young Black trans women who face astronomical rates (such that most homicides among LGBTQ people are of trans women of colour, particularly Black trans women) of violence and homicide because of anti-Blackness, racism, sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, colourism, classism/economic violence, for some, misogynoir specific to sex work, and transmisogyny in general. There are so many intersecting oppressions and one that is regularly eclipsed when violence on Black trans women is discussed is anti-Blackness itself, which alludes to the ways in which the socially acceptable hatred and oppression of Black women in general amplifies for Black trans women. Even in death, as anti-Blackness never allows death to be the final act for Black people, these women are misgendered and immediately associated with crime, versus their gender and humanity honored and their lives respected. Blackness alone, let alone their other intersecting oppressions guarantees that the latter is unlikely.
Whenever street harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, police harassment, police brutality, extrajudicial violence/execution and State violence are discussed, Black trans women’s experiences have to be included. Whether the violence is intraracial (re: what Laverne Cox explained about this, not as arbitrary Black pathology but inherently occurring because of the impact of anti-Blackness, White supremacy and more on gender for Black people), interracial (as some violence occurs to Black trans women just for existing, as with CeCe McDonald, while some is related to transmisogynoir and sex work), extrajudicial or State violence (such as the consistent willful violence from the police as in what Monica Jones experienced, healthcare and legal systems), Black trans women’s experiences have to be included. (And there’s much to be said about the impact of oppression on Black trans women and mental health since almost 50% Black trans people, in general, have attempted suicide.)
Information on violence against Black trans women and structural factors that contribute to this (some includes other LGBTQIA populations):
- NCAVP Report: 2012 Hate Violence Disproportionately Target Transgender Women of Color
- National Report on Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities Released Today
- Injustice At Every Turn: A Look At Black Respondents In The National Transgender Discrimination Survey
- "Black Trans Bodies Are Under Attack": Freed Activist CeCe McDonald, Actress Laverne Cox Speak Out
- Blogs: Trans Griot and Janet Mock
Devastating to regularly encounter these stories. This is also violence on Black people. Tiffany’s, Cemia’s, Mia’s and Brittany’s lives mattered. Black trans women matter.
Every day is Trans* Day of Remembrance
A Democratic Missouri state senator representing parts of Ferguson who tweeted multiple times “fuck you,” at Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon defended her choice of words on Fox News Monday saying she did so because she was tear-gassed for three days.
“The reason why I used profane language is because he has allowed us to get tear-gassed for three days,” Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said. “I am one of his senators in his party and he was at the state fair enjoying a country concert while we were getting teargassed and shot at. And yes, anyone who’s going to get teargassed deserves to say a few ‘F’ bombs here and there.”
“I represent my constituents, not Gov. Nixon,” the senator said. “He has been absent from the minority community his entire career and only comes before us when it is politically expedient for him. Or when he’s running for office, and because he has been outside of this community…let me tell you this, and this is important for your audience to know. He has still yet to come to ground zero. Yet to come to ground zero. He’s been in Florissant, he’s been in Normandy, but he has not spoken to the victims of the crisis we are dealing with and that is why I have called him a coward.”
A silent protest in Love Park, downtown Philadelphia orchestrated by performance artists protesting the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The onslaught of passerby’s wanting to take photos with the statue exemplifies the disconnect in American society. Simply frame out the dead body, and it doesn’t exist.
Here are some observations by one of the artists involved in the event:
I don’t know who any of these folks are.
They were tourists I presume.
But I heard most of what everything they said. A few lines in particular stood out. There’s one guy not featured in the photos. His friends were trying to get him to join the picture but he couldn’t take his eyes off the body.
"Something about this doesn’t feel right. I’m going to sit this one out, guys." "Com’on man… he’s already dead."
There were a billion little quips I heard today. Some broke my heart. Some restored my faith in humanity. There was an older white couple who wanted to take a picture under the statue.
The older gentleman: “Why do they have to always have to shove their politics down our throats.” Older woman: “They’re black kids, honey. They don’t have anything better to do.”
One woman even stepped over the body to get her picture. But as luck would have it the wind blew the caution tape and it got tangle around her foot. She had to stop and take the tape off. She still took her photo.
There was a guy who yelled at us… “We need more dead like them. Yay for the white man!”
"One young guy just cried and then gave me a hug and said ‘thank you. It’s nice to know SOMEBODY sees me.’