More Light Presbyterians will participate in Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20 to memorialize each person killed worldwide because of anti-transgender hatred and prejudice. March 2012 statistics from the Trans Murder Monitoring Project, a cooperation between Transgender Europe (TGEU) and the academic online magazine Liminalis, “shows an exponential increase in reported killings of trans people over the last four years.”

From the Trans Murder Monitoring Project:

The March 2012 update reveals a total of 816 reported killings of trans people in 55 countries worldwide from January 1st 2008 to December 31st 2011. The update shows an exponential increase in reported killings of trans people over the last four years. In 2008, 141 cases were reported, in 2009 213 cases, in 2010 214 cases, and in 2011 a shocking number of 248. These are mainly the reported cases that could be found through Internet research and cooperation with trans organizations and activists. In most countries, data on murdered trans people are not systematically produced and it is impossible to estimate the numbers of unreported cases.

The reasons for this increase might be manifold. Every year, TGEU’s TVT research team has improved its monitoring methods, started new collaborations with organizations that contributed their data, and received information from activists from many parts of the world. Also, the increase in the visibility of trans people and of trans issues in public discourse may have led to a better reporting of cases. However, the data also show also that there is no decrease, that the shocking amount of violence against trans people still poses a major problem and threat to trans people in many countries. The again alarming figures demonstrate once more that there is an urgent need to react to the violence against trans people and to seek mechanisms to protect trans people. Some international trans activists even started to introduce the term ‘transcide’ to reflect the continuously elevated level of deadly violence against trans people on a global scale.

Gay Star News reported last week about the murder of a 39 year old trans person stoned to death in the city of Aracaju, Brazil.

How People of Faith Can Make It Better

There is an urgent need to react to violence against trans people and to seek mechanisms to protect trans people. Here are four things your faith community can do.

  • Find out if there are Transgender Day of Remembrance events in your area and actively participate in them. A listing of current events can be found at the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website.
  • If there are no Transgender Day of Remembrance events in your area, work with the transgender community and offer to host an event at your congregation.
  • Commit to teaching a Sunday school class or workshop on welcoming transgender people into your faith community. Make sure that the words transgender and/or gender identity are clearly expressed in your congregation’s statement of welcome.
  • Work with organizations adding transgender protections into city, county, and state laws.

Pray for the Transgender Community

Alex McNeill wrote this prayer for Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2011:

To you o, God, who knit us together in our mother’s wombs, who through countless generations have called upon us to be transformed: to lay down our nets, to change our names, and to follow you with body and soul, I lift up in prayer those who were killed in the past year for choosing to express, rather than deny, their true selves.

God, we pray that our weeping be turned to resolve, that our anger be transformed to dedication, and that our helplessness be turned into tenacity to work for a world where we recognize everyone as fearfully and wonderfully made. God, stir us from placidness, shake us from complacency, and empower us to work for this world in your name. Amen.