Statement for Transgender Day of Remembrance

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20 November 2017, Bangkok, Thailand

Today, we honor and memorialize the trans and gender diverse people that have lost their lives due to transphobia and violence. Transgender Day of Remembrance began in 1998 to commemorate those the deaths of trans and gender diverse people and to raise awareness of the hate crimes and violence perpetuated against the trans community.

The tragic murders of the trans community that are remembered today are the effect  of discrimination, violence, and transphobia that is widespread throughout society and institutions. Ignorance and transphobia is prevalent throughout countries and instituted through laws, limitation of rights and inhumane treatment. Trans individuals experience significant obstacles and compounded discrimination that extends to many areas such as employment, housing, and healthcare and threatening their lives.

Since 2008, there have been 2,609 reported murders of trans and gender-diverse people. In the Asia Pacific region, 237 murders of transgender persons have been reported by the TvT project during this time.  The highest number of cases was reported in India (64 murders), followed by Philippines (51 murders) and Pakistan (44 murders). This past year alone, there have been 21 murders reported throughout the region. Transgender Europe (TGEU) began collecting data on trans murders worldwide in 2008, partnering with Asia Pacific Transgender Network and other trans-led organisations worldwide to obtain the most accurate information. The data collected indicates that trans sex workers and trans people of color are disportionately affected by violence.

Due to the lack of government recognition and support, it is up to small trans-led organisations to take to reporting, identifying and search for the murders that occur throughout the country.

“The trans communities despite the fatigue and trauma continues to dedicate themselves in reporting hate crimes and murders incidents -- advocating for accountability for the deaths of our community members.  We urge that more reporting mechanisms be formed and that greater support and resources to be given to trans-led organisations and communities to carry out this work. Reducing violence, stigmatization and discrimination of people based on their trans identities and race should be a top priority across all fields.” - Joe Wong, Programme Manager, Asia Pacific Transgender Network

It is difficult to estimate the actual numbers of cases of trans-violence and it is likely that many trans murders go unreported. Many of the deaths that do occur likely go unreported due to lack of reporting mechanisms, lack of recognition of trans people, and other failures of institutional bodies. There are many countries throughout Asia and the Pacific that have no reporting mechanisms in place and for this reason, the map may not be indicative of the trans violence that occurs in these areas. Today, we remember those whose deaths that go unreported. Today we remember all those throughout the years that have defied norms and lived their lives according to their true selves and hurt because of this.

Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to recognise and memorialize the lives of trans people that have lost their lives due to society’s violence and ignorance towards trans people.  We hope that this day sheds greater light on the devastating impacts of transphobia and the collective difficulties and discrimination that trans people face throughout the region.


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