Kat Callahan

Visualising Transphobia Related Murders

The website TransRespect vs. Transphobia offers up a chilling interactive Google map of all known reported murders of trans people worldwide since 2008. Last update was March 12, 2013. Current report count is 1,123.

There are several issues with this number that should lead to the belief that the number is actually much higher. On reports alone, there are are several countries around the world which would discount a murder report with details on the status of the victim. Some countries may refuse to share reports, and no doubt are doing so. Some may encourage the murder of trans individuals and intentionally hide or obfuscate the truth. Then there is the no doubt certain fact that some murders are never reported, and LGBT murders, especially if the victim was engaged in sex work, seem to have an even higher likelihood of never having formal reports. Some trans people just... disappear. It stands to reason some missing person reports are actually unknown murders.


A further identified issue is in the fact that if a city (such as Rome) has multiple reported trans related murders, then it is still only represented by one map dot.

While this is a good way to visually demonstrate how widespread murders of trans individuals are, especially in places like Central and South America (Brazil has a terrible track record, for example), it must be stated that there are no doubt many more dots which should exist, especially in places in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa where there are actually laws in place against being LGBT and where some of these laws have sentencing guidelines which include harsh penalties for conviction, in many cases, including execution.

On a personal note, there appears to be no reports of trans murders in Japan. Japan was one of the 66 nations which signed onto a United Nations General Assembly resolution which asserted international human rights protections included sexual orientation and gender identity. Some of the countries with reported murders, like Mexico, also signed on. Brazil, with the highest number of reported murders in the world, did not. Neither did the United States.

If you break down the numbers into something comprehensible, it comes out to something like a newly reported trans murder every three days. Damn.


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