A pair of reports released ahead of the Transgender Day of Remembrance indicate the distressing reality of violence and prejudice against transgender people worldwide.
Last week, Transgender Europe’s (TGEU) Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT) project released its annual Trans Murder Monitoring report, coinciding with the beginning of Trans Awareness Week. The report tracked murders of trans and gender-diverse people reported in international media between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023.
Between 25–35 trans and gender nonconforming people have been killed this year.
This year’s Trans Murder Monitoring report identified 321 trans and gender-diverse people killed around the world over the past year. Trans women and trans-feminine people made up the vast majority of the reported deaths (94%), while 80% were trans people affected by racism—an increase of 15% from last year’s report.
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Young people appear to be particularly at risk. According to the report, the age group with the most victims last year was 19 to 25 years old. In all, 77% of victims were between the ages of 19 and 40.
The total number of victims reported this year is down slightly from last year’s total of 327 and, as Forbes noted, from 2021’s peak of 375. But as the report itself notes, with most cases in which trans and gender-diverse people die by violence going unreported or misreported around the world, the numbers represent “a small glimpse into the reality on the ground.”
Similarly, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has tracked at least 26 transgender and gender non-conforming people who have died by violence in the U.S. in 2023, noting that many deaths go unreported. According to the HRC, 88% of those killed in the U.S. this year were people of color, with Black trans women accounting for over half (54%) of all deaths.
In addition to the risk of fatal violence against trans and gender-nonconforming people, another study released today indicates that older transgender adults experience particularly high rates of suicidal ideation.
The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Aging and Mental Health, looked at data from the 2015 U.S. National Transgender Survey and found that more than a quarter (25.8%) of respondents over the age of 50 reported having seriously contemplated suicide within the past year. Researchers found that workplace issues, interactions with professionals, use of public services, personal safety, and socioeconomic disadvantages all significantly impacted whether trans adults over 50 contemplated suicide.
While researchers noted in a press release that the study relied on data that is more than eight years old and may not fully reflect the current situation for trans people in the U.S. right now, co-author Dr. Thomas Alex Washington, professor and BASW Program Director in the School of Social Work, College of Health and Human Services, at California State University, Long Beach, said that the study exposes “the distressing reality faced by many older transgender adults who are grappling with suicidal thoughts due to the cumulative impact of multiple adverse factors on their lives.”
“This underscores the critical need for comprehensive support, advocacy, and mental health resources to address this growing concern,” Washington said.
Editor’s note: This article mentions suicide. If you need to talk to someone now, call the Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860. It’s staffed by trans people, for trans people. The Trevor Project provides a safe, judgement-free place to talk for LGBTQ youth at 1-866-488-7386. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.