Trans people are dying!” chanted a group of transgender protesters interrupting Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg during one of many CNN discussions on LGBT issues. Beto O’Rouke and Don Lemon were greeted by a passionate trans activist named Blossom Brown, who shouted, “Black trans woman are being killed in this country, and you have erased trans women for the last time.”
Kamala Harris responded compassionately to an audience member who interrupted her forum by shouting, “How do we get those men to stop killing us? How do we get those men to stop killing trans women of color? We are hunted. Systematically hunted. How can they do that?”
In response to these accusations, Buttigieg calmly assured the audience, “I would like to believe everyone here is committed to ending that epidemic.” Harris responded to the question of how she would address violence against transgender people by saying, “There has to be serious consequence and accountability when it happens.”
Sen. Cory Booker took the issue a step further when addressing more widespread accusations of anti-LGBT violence, referring to it as a national emergency and saying, “We live in a country where we still see regular, everyday violence and intimidation and bullying against Americans because of who they are.” He proposed an “Office of Hate Crimes and White Supremacy” to handle the issue.
The media alarm bells have been resonating on this topic for quite a while, and as each year passes, the ritual listing of transgender murder victims has become a staple of LGBT reporting. In fact, it is impossible to find any article detailing a particular murder without a paragraph or two devoted to discussing the “epidemic” of violence against transgender males dressing as females, specifically of color. It is clearly embedded in our collective consciousness despite the right’s efforts to shed light onto the issue with far more accurate and rational reporting.
Does the Data Show an ‘Epidemic’ of Hate?
I have spent much writing discussing how these stories are exploited and manipulated to create an impression of violence and hatred that rarely reflects reality. As such, I have become familiar with nearly all of the cases so often repeated, but I realized it was time to collect them together and analyze them as a whole.
The Human Rights Campaign has organized this information in packets starting in 2015 through the present. Using these resources, I independently researched each case to the best of my ability with the available information. The HRC reports can be found here: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.
In the HRC’s 2019 ongoing information page, the organization made this important statement:
Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias. In others, the victim’s transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, such as forcing them into unemployment, poverty, homelessness and/or survival sex work.
After years of simply declaring “hate” to be the core motivation, this comes as a refreshing admission of the realities surrounding these murders. However, the LGBT left’s bias toward victimhood still pushes them to place blame where no feasible solution could be found to resolve it.
We Need Honesty About Crimes Against Trans People
Although LGBT advocates and media insist these cases do not represent a true picture of violence, as often the victim is identified as a different sex by the police until family or friends correct reports, we still have no evidence of a pattern or “epidemic” of violence. It is certainly false that trans women are being “systematically hunted” or that black trans women are specifically targeted.
What we do know from all available resources is that the violence these individuals experience occurs to a very broad range of people with diverse backgrounds and identities. It is clearly more an issue of high-risk environments than identity-based discrimination.
Another important element to recognize is that regardless of gender identity, local, state, and federal authorities take each case very seriously, and more than half of reported crimes have resolved in sentencing. No one is looking the other way or tolerating this violence, and certainly not because the victims are transgender.
The truth is there is very little our government or society could do to reduce these incidents. They result from cultural influences, dangerous environments, and high-risk engagements. The most powerful effects the left, LGBT advocacy and media, and Democratic leaders could have in protecting transgender people would be to tell the truth about prostitution, drugs, risky sex practices, and domestic violence. Continuing the narrative of fighting hatred and bigotry will do nothing more than win popularity points; it won’t save lives.