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‘Unerased:’ New database tracks America’s epidemic of transgender murders

Mic included this map in Talusan’s investigative report showing the concentrations of transgender murders across the United States:

ustransmurders

Her findings also include some grim statistics:

“With 23 documented cases so far, 2016 has seen one of the the highest number of transgender homicides since advocacy organizations began tracking them officially in 2010.

“Black transgender women face the highest rates of violence: 72% of transgender victims between 2010 to 2016 are black trans women.

“Young black trans women (ages 15 to 34) are estimated to be between 8 and 39 times more likely to be murdered as young cisgender women.”

So why is this an epidemic? Why can’t police just step up and solve these crimes? Talusan found it goes beyond individual law enforcement agencies and departments and uncovered a systemic predicament:

  • Too many public institutions won’t acknowledge or know how to even address the existence of transgender Americans.
  • The transgender identities of these victims are often erased after death.
  • Many trans people can’t spare the extraordinary expense of changing their legal names and getting their gender markers updated on government identifications and documents.
  • Police officers, detectives, their superiors and medical examiners are not trained to identify crime victims as transgender.
  • Immediate family members who refused to accept a trans person’s gender identity when they are alive often withhold it from authorities upon that person’s death, and in turn the authorities defer to the family’s preferences.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau has still not begun to count transgender Americans.
  • Although the FBI added gender identity as a category in its 2014 annual hate crimes report, gender identity is not tracked along with other self-reported homicide statistics.

To view and explore the database, click here. 

To read Talusan’s investigation, “Unerased: Counting Transgender Lives,” which features so many moving and intimate stories of the victims of transgender violence and the aftermath of their murders, click here.

Mic also published a video to accompany its report, click below to watch it via YouTube.

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