Remembering Transgender Victims of Violence

Nov 29, 2016

The United States recently observed Transgender Day of Remembrance, honoring members of the transgender community killed because of their gender identity.

“Transgender persons around the world are targeted by rising levels of violence fueled by hatred and bigotry,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a press statement.

Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry said the current situation for transgender individuals around the world is “very close to his heart”:

“It is clear that in nearly every country, nearly every society, the level of violence, significant violence against members of the transgender community is far, far higher – an order of magnitude higher than it is even against other members of the LGB community, which themselves are highly stigmatized. And it's born out when you look at life expectancy figures for transgender individuals, even here at home. Or if you look at rates of attempted suicide for transgender youth – even here at home.”

Around the world human rights and fundamental freedoms are recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that every person is born free and equal in dignity and rights. Every person includes transgender women, transgender men, and other individuals who face marginalization on account of their gender expression or gender identity.

The United States is partnering with governments and civil society around the world to further the understanding that LGBTI rights are human rights. Understanding is key, said Special Envoy Berry:

“It just shows me that in places where understanding, where visibility, where some effort is being made to basically understand the human reality of transgender individuals, we can begin to chip away at those numbers [elevated levels of violence facing the transgender community], but we have a tremendous distance still to go in terms of our national conversations on what it means to be transgender, what it means to have equal protection under the law based on the person you were born to be.”

“When all persons reach their full human potential, free from fear, intimidation, and violence,” wrote Secretary Kerry, “Nations become more just, secure and prosperous.”