NCTE Offers New Resource on Hate Crimes
(WASHINGTON, DC) - On Tuesday, November 14, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) released a resource designed to help communities respond effectively in the aftermath of hate crimes against transgender people. "Responding to Hate Crimes: A Community Resource Manual" will be widely distributed to local advocates organizing Transgender Day of Remembrance vigils around the country later this month. The Day of Remembrance is annually observed on or around November 20. NCTE's "Responding to Hate Crimes" manual represents a holistic, community-based approach to responding to hate violence in a way that aims to curb the number of attacks faced by transgender people.
"The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a solemn time to reflect on those who have been murdered because of their gender identity or expression," said Mara Keisling, NCTE Executive Director. "The National Center for Transgender Equality and our allies have made great strides advocating for federal Hate Crimes legislation to explicitly include crimes based on 'gender identity and expression'-the language that covers transgender individuals, but we will need to continue educating policymakers about the rampant violence targeted at our communities."
Studies estimate the murder rate of transgender persons as high as 16 times the national average. Approximately one murder is reported each month in the U.S.; however, experts believe hate crimes against transgender individuals are significantly under-reported because of pervasive doubts that authorities will treat victims with respect or fairly investigate the crimes. Despite the frequency of hate violence against transgender people, the FBI does not track or keep statistics on attacks that target transgender individuals.
Recognizing the level of violence facing transgender communities, ten states explicitly cover transgender people in their hate crimes laws with "gender identity or expression" language (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Vermont). While no transgender-inclusive federal law has been enacted, in 2005 the National Center for Transgender Equality was instrumental in passing an inclusive federal hate crimes bill through the U.S. House of Representatives-the first time a transgender-inclusive bill was passed in either chamber of Congress.
The causes of transphobic violence are often more complex than discrimination based on gender identity or expression alone. Employment discrimination, high unemployment rates, and economic and social marginalization put transgender people in higher risk situations for violence. Race also plays a significant role in who is targeted in attacks, with young transgender women of color the most frequently victimized.
"The news is all too familiar to our community-a transgender person violently attacked because of another person's hatred or fear," said Justin Tanis, NCTE's Program Manager and a principle editor of the manual.
"Hate crimes have a devastating impact on victims and survivors as well as on the larger transgender community," said Richard Juang, co-editor of Transgender Rights and co-chair of NCTE's Board of Advisors. "Our goal in developing this manual was to share practical ideas for working with crime victims, family members, law enforcement, and the media so local organizers responding to hate crimes have the information they need at their finger tips."
A wide range of community leaders and professionals contributed to "Responding to Hate Crimes: A Community Resource Manual", including people with expertise in anti-violence work, law enforcement, mental health, media relations and community organizing.
Download the Hate Crimes Manual in pdf format.