70 Percent of Anti-LGBT Murder Victims Are People of Color

MIchael Lavers, Colorlines, July 18, 2011

It’s an all too common, if shocking story: A transgender Latina woman with HIV is attacked on a street close to her home in a low-income neighborhood in the Bay Area. Making a bad situation worse, police officers literally drag her from her bed at 6 a.m. because they think she committed the crime herself.

“They kept telling her she wasn’t who she was, and that she was a man,” explained María Carolina Morales of the San Francisco-based Communities United Against Violence as she recounted the incident to Colorlines. “She was arrested. She was taken to the station. She wasn’t listened to. She spent the weekend in jail.”

The woman went to court a month after her arrest, but disappeared shortly after her court date.

“She was somebody who was unemployed, who didn’t have a safety net,” noted Morales. “We don’t know if she ran away, if she ended up in jail or [was] transferred to another place, another city. Her phone was disconnected the day after court. We just don’t know—don’t know what happened.”

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released its annual report on hate violence motivated by sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and HIV status last week. The report documents 27 anti-LGBT murders in 2010, which is the second highest annual total recorded since 1996. A whopping 70 percent of these 27 victims were people of color; 44 percent of them were transgender women.

The study also found that transgender people and people of color are each twice as likely to experience violence or discrimination as non-transgender white people. Transgender people of color are also almost 2.5 times as likely to experience discrimination as their white peers. (Read more)