With marriage equality, people seeming to be more accepting of LGBTQ people, and many states starting to offer protection status to LGBTQ people, we often forget that there are still vast hurdles to overcome. In 2018, there were 26 tracked deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people in this U.S. and for 2019, we have seen 22. The list is heavily swayed to transgender women of color. We have watched this administration at every turn work to remove any protection status for LGBTQ people and instead work to breed an environment of hatred and violence against us. We are the only ones that have a vested interest in correcting this issue. You may sit there and say that we cannot change this when so many are against us, but history has shown us that we can do it because we have done it. It takes coming together as a community with a common goal and laying aside our differences.
Right now, there are still 28 states that offer no legal employment protection to its LGBTQ citizens, that means you could show up to work tomorrow and your boss could fire you because they say a post on your Facebook timeline about going to some LGBTQ related thing. There are 30 states, still, in which you can be evicted from your home, deny any kind of service, as well, as fire due to being LGBTQ. If you and your partner were to show up in one of these states to rent a house, the property owners could turn you down because you are in an LGBTQ relationship. Just as easily, the property repair man could come in and see something in your apartment that looks LGBTQ and report it to the landlord, and you could be evicted without recourse. These are just the ones that affect your daily livelihood, it does, in fact, get much worse.
Statistics for violence against LGBTQ members is always skewed, to some degree. In the case of Trans women, since many states offer no protection status or name/sex change options, the people involved in the crimes are often reported to be of their birth gender. If it is an area where a cop doesn’t agree with the relationship of the parties involved, it may not get reported in the manner it would had it been a heterosexual couple. According to the Dunbar poll of 2006, only 28% of hate crimes are reported to police and that number varies based on the sexual identity of the person(s) involved. LGBTQ, historically, do not have a lot of trust in the police or its reporting methods. The FBI has even noted that hate crimes against the LGBTQ community has been on a steady rise in the last three years, is there a correlation to the current administration? You be the judge.
It is sad to mention that the FBI didn’t start tracking crimes against trans people until 2013 and since that time, they have watched the number increase each year. Look at it from this perspective, in 2013 there were 123 trans people killed and 110 of those were people of color. Each year after that as seen at least 20 more people killed and that gives us about 240 trans people killed in six years. Please understand that these numbers only reflect the people that were identified as trans, those that had reports filled out in the birth gender would not be part of this count. What can be even worse is that in many places, these killings wouldn’t be labeled as a hate crime at all. There has been at least one recent murder, in the last year, where the person killed was considered as voluntary manslaughter. These are the odds we are up against.
There was a study conducted that found 320 adults believed that lesbian and gay men were blamed for being attacked. That same study also found that more heterosexual observers blamed LGBT people for attacks after a recent public display of affection. One step further, these same people also felt that LGBTQ people were to blame for an attack if they verbally responded to their attacker, they felt they egged them on in the attack. Sure, there are those LGBTQ people who will say that they shouldn’t have been publicly displaying affection, but we should we be held to a different standard than our heterosexual counterparts. Daily we watch them hold hand, kiss, hug, cuddle, and whatever else on any public place and we do not act out over it. If you are LGBTQ and you think that any LGBTQ person shouldn’t show public affection, then maybe you need to look at what makes you feel this way. Our love is no less worthy, our partners are no less valid, and our lives are no less sacred.
Our movement through civil rights has been faster than any other group that has fought for their rights. We have seen such growth in short periods of time when we can still the see the injustices visited upon people of color, women, or immigrants. On that same coin, we have watched our rights being pulled from us in almost as quick of time as it was to achieve them. We have to stand up and say enough is enough, this is the line we will not cross and this is the fight we will not back down from. We have to know our self-worth and realize that it is no less than our heterosexual counterparts. Rise up and resist, our vary lives and well-being are at stake.