No Jihad

I love Gwen Smith.  She speaks for so many trannies who cannot speak for themselves with her Remembering Our Dead project and the affilated Transgender Day Of Rememberance.

It’s astoundingly difficult to get any good numbers about transpeople.  We don’t show up on the radar.  Through the years, though, Gwen’s collection of information has given us a number, the number that about 12 transpeople are murdered each year in the US.  Because she now collects worldwide, her yearly total is higher, but it’s easy to separate US numbers, and reporting is better in the US.

Michelle Dennis put out a press release in November where she claimed that

The murder rate of transgender persons is 17 times the national average; the highest rate of any minority group.

That qute was picked up as a lead by the Whittier Daily News, and then picked up by a number of blogs.

The US Department of Justice does offer statistics on homicide rates.  The average rate in the US is 6 murders per 100,000 per year.  The rate of 102 per 100,000 per year, 17 times the average, is about the rate for young (18-24) black men, who sadly earned this rate by often killing each other, which is not a problem trannys have.

Are transpople really killed at a rate 17 times the average, the highest of any minority group?  Gwen’s figures can help there.  Even assuming that there is a 400% under representation and there are 48 murders at a rate of 102 per 100,000 per year, there are would only be a total population of around 2,800 transpeople our of 280,000,000 people in the country, a number which I believe to be quite low.  At that rate, there would only be 10 transpeople in every million, which means, for example, a population of about 100 transpeople in all of Los Angles County, with about 10 million people.

Vicky Ortega of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center suggests there are really about 10,000 transpeople in LA County.

If you do the math, assuming trannys are murdered at an average rate, that ends up working out to a national tranny population of 0.5%, one half of one percent, or one in 200.  That comes out to about five thousand in a million, or one and a half million transpeople in three hundred million in the United States.

Because we will tend to move to metropolitian areas this jibes well with the estimate of ten thousand in the one million people in LA County, much better than the estimate of 100 transpeople which extends from a 17x normal murder rate of 102 per 100,000 and, using the four times underreporting estimate,  48 reported murders in the US.

If we aren’t being murdered at extreme rates, why do these statistics staying that we are have such life?  Why do we pass them along so easily?

I suggest that we do that because those numbers feel right.  We feel murdered.

And we are murdered, but not in body, in soul.

I wrote about this experience for the Transgender Day Of Rememberance in 2000.

how old
callan williams copyright © 2000
(for transgender national day of remembrance)

how old were you
when you found out
you had to die?

was it
the moment they caught you
dressed in your sister’s clothes

or the moment they bought you
your first bra

or the moment your mother saw a transsexual on tv
and said “thank heavens I don’t have to deal with that?”

how old were you
when you found out
what was in your heart
had to die
they would deny you love
they would deny you humanity?

how old were you
when you found out
you had to die?

how old were you
when you found out
the truth of your life
should never be revealed
on penalty of death?

relationships die
respects die
concerns die
bodies die
dreams die.

how old were you
when you found out
you had to die?

how old were you
when you found out
if your heart didn’t die
someone could kill your body
and that would be all right?

it’s easy to understand
why people attack what they fear

it’s hard to understand
why the love in people’s hearts
is queer.

how old were you
when you found out
you had to die?

how old were you
when you first saw
a transperson murdered?

in the news,
a broken body
reduced to a freak-in-a-dress.

in a talk show
a broken spirit
lampooned as hideous liar.

in a sermon
a broken heart
cast out of the only home they knew.

in a joke
a broken person
made less than human.

in a comment
a broken life
dismissed with a sneer.

who was that person?

was it you?

did you just fear that it could be you?

or did you think
“they put themselves in danger”
“they were just asking for it”
“it’s their own fault, you know”
“they got what they deserved”

how old were you
when you found out
you had to die
for other people’s comfort?

how old were you?