The International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), which occurs annually on 20 November, is a day to memorialize the transgender men and women who have lost their lives to hate crimes and violence during the previous year. TDoR is also serves to highlight and bring public attention to anti-transgender violence and murder, to publicly mourn the violence inflicted on our community and the lives of the people we have lost, and to remind cisgender people that we are their siblings, children, parents, friends, and lovers.
Violence against transgender people continues to increase year by year. The Global Trans Murder Monitoring Project (http://www.tgeu.org/tmm) has identified 155 such killings across 16 countries in Asia between January 2008 and December 2014. There were a further two transgender people killed in both the Pacific and Australia, and one in New Zealand. These reported cases represent a fraction of such alleged hate crimes, due to family cover-up of a victim’s transgender identity, police misgendering of a body, and difficulty with correcting gender on legal documentation. The highest numbers of identified deaths were in India (48), the Philippines (35), Pakistan (22), and Thailand (14). The per capita rate of reported killings is particularly high in the Philippines, where civil society groups actively monitor such murders, including the high-profile killing of transgender woman Jennifer Laude on 11 October 2014.
In a climate of criminalisation, where law enforcement agencies themselves perpetrate violence with impunity, it is not surprising that violence against transgender people is underreported and inadequately investigated. In this region and globally, transgender organisations have attempted to monitor the most extreme forms of violence: when transgender people have been killed because of their gender identity. This violence remains invisible and unreported when States do not legislate against family violence and leave families to enforce social norms, standards of respectability, and morality.
This year, the Asia Pacific Transgender Network has released a Transgender Day of Remembrance Media Toolkit and terminology resource to guide the media to a fair and inclusive coverage and reporting on transgender people. The TDoR Media Toolkit can be downloaded here or at https://weareaptn.org/publication
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