Adam Polaski

Trans & People of Color Disproportionately Targeted

Filed By Adam Polaski | July 19, 2011 8:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: anti-violence, black, latino, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, NCAVP, people of color, racial minority, sociology, statistics, trans, transgender, violence, white

ViolenceReport.jpgLast week the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released its annual report detailing the scope of anti-LGBTQ hate violence in 2010. This year's report finds that 27 people were targeted and murdered because of their LGBTQ identity. Of these 27, 70 percent of the victims were people of color. 44 percent of the victims were transgender women.

In NCAVP's tallies of murder victims and survivors of other anti-LGBT violence, people of color and trans people are disproportionately represented.

Black and Latino people are overrepresented as victims and survivors of anti-LGBT violence. While the racial minorities comprise 13 percent and 16 percent of the U.S. population, respectively, they make up 16 percent and 24 percent of the NCAVP's report (which included 1,884 survivors and victims whose racial or ethnic identity was known). Alternatively, white people are underrepresented, comprising 72 percent of the U.S. population but only 45 percent of the hate violence.

Transgender women were also disproportionately affected. They represent 44 percent of anti-LGBT murders but only 11 percent of the total reports of anti-LGBT violence. The numbers suggest that transgender people are at a greater risk of being the target of violence than non-trans members of the LGBQ community and that the violence is typically more severe.

Overall, reports of anti-LGBT hate violence increased by 13 percent in 2010 over 2009.

Police and Healthcare Provider Bias

The analysis also indicated prejudice within the U.S. police force and in health care providers. Police declined "bias crime" classification to 25 percent of LGBT people of color who had experienced hate violence, while police only did so with 6 percent of white LGBT people. Moreover, while 18.2 percent of white survivors of anti-LGBT violence reported not receiving medical attention when their injuries required it, 36.5 percent of Latino survivors, 50 percent of Asian/Pacific Island survivors, and 66.7 percent of Arab survivors reported the same.

The NCAVP report explains, on both counts:

Many people of color reported indifferent attitudes from the police, which may connect to the lack of bias classification


The intersection of race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation may create additional barriers to receiving adequate health care such as a lack of access to multi-lingual services, translation, and limited health insurance due to immigration status

Trans people were also less likely to receive the necessary medical attention for their injuries. 75 percent of injured trans men and 20 percent of trans women reported needing but not receiving medical attention for their hate-related injuries. Comparatively, only 15 percent of LGBT survivors overall reported not receiving the necessary medical attention. The NCAVP elaborates:

Many transgender people have experienced bias and trauma when seeking medical attention, which deters them from accessing health care in the future. Many medical providers lack training or skills to provide appropriate care to transgender people. These providers may also not understand transphobic violence and the specific needs of transgender survivors of violence.

Trans People of Color

The numbers are even more troubling for transgender people of color. These survivors reported even greater police indifference, and they are three times more likely to experience hate violence from police, who accounted for 8 percent of hate violence offenders in 2010. These two findings demonstrate that trans people of color are less likely - and understandably so - to report hate incidents to the police.

Recommendations for Progress

The report also demonstrates the importance of addressing LGBT issues with specific regard for minority populations. The NCAVP included a number of admittedly vague recommendations to help the community lead the charge against this violence. One of the recommendations is specifically related to people of color and the trans community. The recommendations include:

Public and private funders should create new funding streams and target existing funds to increase access to LGBTQH specific services for LGBTQH survivors and victims.

LGBTQH anti-violence organizations, mainstream anti-violence organizations, and public and private funders should support and prioritize the leadership of transgender people, people of color, and transgender people of color to better serve the communities most impacted by severe hate violence and murder.

Policymakers and public figures should promote safety for LGBTQH people through denouncing anti- LGBTQH statements, laws, and programs, and by creating and supporting laws and policies that increase safety for LGBTQH people such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Prison Rape Elimination Act, and alternative sentencing policies and practices for hate violence offenders.

It is unclear whether the increase in reports of anti-LGBT violence is a result of simply increased reporting of the violence or an actual increase in the number of incidences. Regardless, the NCAVP's findings are startling evidence of anti-LGBT sentiment that still exists in the United States. They indicate a need to address racial minority populations within the LGBT community and tackle some of the underlying economic and sociological issues plaguing both the LGBT community and the broader U.S. population.

Michael K. Lavers addresses this in his new piece for ColorLines. He spoke with Ejeris Dixon of the New York City Anti-Violence Report, one of the key authors of the NCAVP report. In Lavers' piece, Dixon discusses some of the potential solutions, elaborating on those discussed in the NCAVP report:

That can mean a lot of things: We can talk about low-cost programs, intersections with immigration rights groups. It's about crafting programming that focuses on these populations and also developing leadership of LGBT people of color and trans people.

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I'm curious why you keep saying 'transgender people'... the report very clearly mentioned that it was trans women, very specifically trans women of color which were the real targets. AFAIK, there is nowhere in the report which says that trans men, white or of color, are particular targets for violence.

Thanks, Gina.

The report does specifically mention trans women, and that data is specifically noted as such here. But the report does mention trans people - men and women alike - more generally in some sections. For example, in the section about police and medial bias:

"Many transgender people have experienced bias and trauma when seeking medical attention, which deters them from accessing health care in the future. Many medical providers lack training or skills to provide appropriate care to transgender people. These providers may also not understand transphobic violence and the specific needs of transgender survivors of violence."

Britney Austin | July 20, 2011 1:46 AM

It really is a shame but nothing that surprises me. I encourage anyone in these affected groups to be vigilant about their surroundings particularly in environments where they do not "blend" and are likely to be perceived as a member of one of these groups. Basic situational awareness and self defense skills go a long way as does being familiar with the laws on self defense. We certainly do need to put pressure on law enforcement to fully investigate these crimes as well as crime prevention to the best of their ability.