325 victims in one year: today is Transgender Day of Remembrance

On November 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance, the world remembers transgender victims of transphobia. According to Transgender Europe organization’s “Transgender Murder Monitoring” annual research results, 325 transgender persons were killed in 71 countries worldwide from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017.

The largest number of murders has been recorded in Brazil – 171 people, in Mexico – 56 people and in the United States – 25 people. It should be noted that 2609 cases of murder have been registered since January 2008.

Transgender people are permanent victims of hater-based terrible violence in different countries around the world. Violence and murder committed against transsexuals often are not recorded. In many countries data on violence against transgender persons are not systematically and permanently reported, thus it is impossible to determine the actual number of violence and murder cases.

Violence against transgender persons often coincides with other forms of hatred within the societies – racism, sexism, xenophobia, negative attitude towards sex workers and discrimination.

Transgender victims of violence were commemorated in Armenia as well. In this regard, LGBTnews talked with Lilit Martirosyan, the chairman of “Right Side” NGO.

– Lilit, you have organized candle-lights in commemoration of dead transgender people in several Armenian cities, as well as in Georgia. How did people react?

-Yes, being the first trans-organization not only in Armenia but also throughout the Caucasus, we have organized a candle-light in Dilijan, Gyumri, Vanadzor and Georgia and have raised the trans flag. We thus respect our trans sisters and brothers, who have become the victims of transphobia over these years. As for the society’s reaction, there were people who “looked at us with contempt”, but we tried to do everything we could to avoid being approached. Recently we have released a video showing three trans-men, before whom the doors were closed at work, at home, at educational institution.

-The visibility of transgender people is also increasing with such events…

-Over the years, the society starts to accept LGBT persons as they are, but you can see very few trans persons in the street, to hear about them. Due to our organization’s work, of course, their visibility has somehow increased which is good on the one hand and is bad on the other. On the one hand, it’s good as transgender people have been discriminated against and have been beyond the margins for many years, and now, the visibility is increasing and, on the other hand, when the visibility increases, the society becomes more aggressive.

-Does your organization have statistics on violence against transgender people in Armenia?

-In Armenia, violence against trans persons continues both in schools, streets and in higher education institutions over the past two years. For example, the members our organization have repeatedly been subjected to violence only because we are a trans organization. It should be noted that, in this sense, the situation in Georgia is even more serious. Three trans persons have been killed there over the past two years.

-What are your plans for near future related to transgender people, their rights and problems?

-We had many events aimed at increasing the visibility of trans persons. We should do everything to prevent transgender people from being discriminated against at work and be provided with job. For example, we have provided two transgender women with job. It is known that some transgender persons are engaged in sex work and are often discriminated against. One donor recently financed to have a night hotline. We are going to start developing a draft law on gender-change, to solve issues related to the education of transgender persons and to ensure that transgender persons, who want to learn, study at universities without any obstacle and discrimination.

– Do transgender persons manage to effectively work and succeed in the conditions of negative attitude of the society and the authorities?

– I am very pleased with the authorities. I am very pleased with the Ministry of Justice because they have been supporting us in many issues related to renaming. Due to the joint work of our organization and the Ministry of Justice, ten transgender persons have already been renamed over the past two years. I am satisfied with the Armenian authorities because I have never heard homophobic expressions from them. Only RPA member Naira Nahapetyan has attacked us.