It’s August 2015, and transgender people are finally winning recognition in pop culture and government. But at the same time, transphobic violence is reaching alarming levels, and trans voices continue to be shouted down. Are we making progress?
This week, we hear reflections on gender identity, love, and power from people who identify as trans. The episode includes poetry from Darkmatter and interviews with author-activist Toni Newman and tech employee Brook Shelley.
We said that seventeen trans women had been killed in the U.S. so far this year. Here are the names of the first sixteen. Here is an early report on the death of Tamara Dominguez, who is the seventeenth.
Toni said that trans people of color were twice as likely to suffer violence as other LGBT people. The real number is probably higher. A report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that two-thirds of all LGBT and HIV-affected homicide victims in 2013 were trans women of color, despite making up a small fraction of the overall LGBT population.
Toni also said that many people charged with murdering trans victims pleaded out to lesser crimes such as manslaughter. We could not find any data to indicate such a trend, but we did uncover two examples of such plea bargains being offered.
Lastly, Toni mentioned that trans people are likely to be unemployed or employed as sex workers. The National Center for Transgender Equality reports that due to “extreme levels of unemployment and poverty,” a disproportionate number of trans people - one in eight - resort to “underground economies” such as sex and drug work to make ends meet.
Music and audio clips:
In order of appearance, this episode featured “Stars are Out” by Podington Bear; “Candlepower,” “Undercover Vampire Policeman,” and “What, True Self? Feels Bogus, Let’s Watch Jason X” by Chris Zabriskie; “Good Times” and “Guestlist” by Podington Bear; “Summer Days” by Kai Engel; “Prelude No. 21” by Chris Zabriskie; and “Afterglow” and “Starling” by Podington Bear.
The credits featured an original cover of “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment.
Our theme song is Fireworks by Jahzzar.