70 Percent of Anti-LGBT Murder Victims Are People of Color
It’s an all too common, if shocking story: A transgender Latina woman with HIV is attacked on a street close to her home in a low-income neighborhood in the Bay Area. Making a bad situation worse, police officers literally drag her from her bed at 6 a.m. because they think she committed the crime herself.
“They kept telling her she wasn’t who she was, and that she was a man,” explained María Carolina Morales of the San Francisco-based Communities United Against Violence as she recounted the incident to Colorlines. “She was arrested. She was taken to the station. She wasn’t listened to. She spent the weekend in jail.”
The woman went to court a month after her arrest, but disappeared shortly after her court date.
“She was somebody who was unemployed, who didn’t have a safety net,” noted Morales. “We don’t know if she ran away, if she ended up in jail or [was] transferred to another place, another city. Her phone was disconnected the day after court. We just don’t know—don’t know what happened.”
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released its annual report on hate violence motivated by sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and HIV status last week. The report documents 27 anti-LGBT murders in 2010, which is the second highest annual total recorded since 1996. A whopping 70 percent of these 27 victims were people of color; 44 percent of them were transgender women.
Read the rest on Color Lines.
It's sad, but it seems that oppressed groups often seem to be the most eager to find yet a smaller subculture to oppress. It's human nature to absolve one's own shortcomings by stating, "Well, at least I'm not as bad as THAT person." This seems to be the basis of many theological doctrines, but it even applies to such superficial status criteria as obesity - how often have you heard an overweight person point to someone of morbid obesity and say, "Yeah, well I may be fat, but I would NEVER let myself get THAT bad."?
If you are poor, living in a poor neighbourhood, and an illiterate surrounded by illiterates, then your easiest stepping-stone to self-esteem is to pick out the person in your community with unique traits that can be readily ridiculed. This, of course, means that being openly gay in an ethnic ghetto is even more dangerous than for the more affluent gay population.
So very well said, Heather. You are a sage woman.