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Trans murders remain at ‘consistently high level’ as Trans Awareness Week begins

An LGBTQ+ activist holds a sign reading 'Trans Folks Have Always Been Here' in April
An LGBTQ+ activist holds a sign reading 'Trans Folks Have Always Been Here' in April Copyright ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images
Copyright ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images
By Saskia O'Donoghue
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Murders of trans and gender-diverse people were reported for the first time this year in Armenia, Belgium and Slovakia.

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The level of murders of transgender and gender-diverse people across the globe shows no sign of slowing down.

That’s according to new figures data provided by Transgender Europe (TGEU) as Trans Awareness Week begins.

“Despite the advancements in trans rights in the last decade, deadly violence against trans people remains at a consistently high level,” a spokesperson for TGEU told Euronews.

Globally, at least 320 trans and gender-diverse people were reported murdered between 1 October 2022 and 30 September 2023.

That figure is likely to overtake last year’s total by the end of 2023. 

In Europe, 16 people were killed between January and the end of September.

While Latin America and the Caribbean have once again reported the highest number of murders around the world - 235 cases in total - the picture is also bleak in Europe and Eurasia.

Murders in Armenia, Belgium and Slovakia were reported for the first time this year.

TGEU say it’s entirely likely that the figures both across Europe and globally are not a true reflection of the real levels of trans murders taking place.

Their data does not include all reported cases worldwide. The reason? Not all trans and gender-diverse murder victims are identified as such in reports of their death.

The high number of murder reports out of Latin America and the Caribbean are, TGEU says, easily attributed to the existence of established monitoring systems in these regions.

The majority of the data used by the organisation came from countries with strong networks of trans and LGBTI organisations that conduct the monitoring.

Whatever the true numbers of trans and gender-diverse people murdered are, the statistics make for grim reading.

Globally, 48% of murdered trans people whose occupation is known were sex workers. That figure jumps to more than three-quarters - some 78% - in Europe.

On the continent as well as in the wider global community, racism-motivated murders have risen 15% from last year - up 65% in 2022 to 80% now.

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The vast majority of victims identified as trans women or trans feminine people and most of the murdered people were under 25 years old.

At a time of significant conflict globally, the fact that 45% of trans people reported murdered in Europe were migrants or refugees is especially stark.

“The deaths come about as a result of multiple intersecting issues: lack of hate crime legislation, or the failure to uphold such laws; lack of access to adequate basic healthcare, housing, and job opportunities due to refusal, discrimination, or financial barriers; and overall structural discrimination that enables societal neglect, abuse and harm towards trans and gender-diverse people across the globe.”
TGEU

TGEU say the data surrounding the murders suggest there are concerning trends when it comes to the intersections of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and whorephobia.

The majority of victims were Black and trans women of colour, and trans sex workers - many killed in Europe were migrants or refugees too.

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Reporting that 28% of the recorded murders took place on the street, and a further quarter 26% in the victim’s own residence, TGEU explains it’s as dangerous a time as ever to be a trans or gender-diverse person.

“These numbers are just a small glimpse into the reality on the ground. Most cases worldwide continue to go unreported,” a TGEU spokesperson explains, “Those that are reported receive very little attention.”

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