Trans Day of Remembrance

It’s Trans Day of Remembrance. 2021 has been a terrible year for trans murders.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

375 transgender people were killed this year (2021), a figure that has risen since last year’s total of 350.

The report authors say this makes 2021 the ‘deadliest year’ of violence against gender diverse people since records began. One in four of those murdered were killed in their own home.

Forbes –

Those 375 murders are a global figure. The figure includes murder for any reason, even if unrelated to trans status.

How many people are being murdered?

The TransRespect / Trans Murder Monitoring Project collects statistics of murdered trans people from around the globe. It paints a grim picture. Lots of colour on that map.

Trans Murder Monitoring

But let’s just go back to graph reading school for a moment

Colour Key

Here grey is given as “no data”, implying that no one collected evidence of murders. There is no separate code for zero murders. They imply that the grey is somehow hiding evidence that will soon come to light.

Banding 2-50 together intensifies the seriousness of this classification. Two murders is very different to 50 murders. Two might be an accident or a robbery gone wrong. Fifty is a serious public issue.

Time scale

The map represents the data for the period 2008 to 2021. The black classification of “>1000” is a lot of lost lives over a 13 year time period. While tragic, it does not represent an epidemic.

What is being reported?

Let’s just ask TMM.

Trans Murder Monitoring project reports all kinds of homicides of trans and gender-diverse people. The classification of the murder of a trans/gender-diverse person as a hate crime is often difficult, due to a lack of information in the reports as well as the lack of national monitoring systems. Although the brutal violence and other circumstances in reported cases suggest that quite a lot of them — even most or almost all cases — are transphobic hate crimes

These numbers do not represent people who were murdered because of being trans. A trans person who is murdered in a robbery and a trans person who is killed in an anti-trans attack are treated the same.

This builds a false picture of violence against trans people.

Looking at the map year by year paints a different story. Year after year the same countries show high rates of murders.

Brazil is has the most murders each year.

But what does this mean in the context of the 212.6 million inhabitants of Brazil?

In a country where 45k murders represents a significant downturn, where there are 1350 women are killed because they are women, where huge numbers of people live in overpopulated favelas, where drugs and prostitution go hand in hand with poverty, where homophobia and racism are rife, is it possible that not all of these murders were due to transphobia?

murdered for any reason
(murders committed
against women because
of their gender )
2019115133045 503
2018168122957 956


As I write about the trans murders, my mind automatically goes to trans-woman. That is: to men.

I check myself.

Isn’t it likely that vulnerable women would be the likely target of a transphobic attack? Lesbians who are smaller than men, but who challenge misogynists and homophobes. The TMM does not disaggregate by sex, leaving room for speculation about who is being murdered.

Who’s behind it, globally

Check out Gender Critical Woman’s analysis of TMM and where the money comes from. It comes from the ARCUS foundation.

Trans Murder Monitoring Project is funded by the ARCUS foundation. You can see Jennifer Bilek’s work on ARCUS. It is an LGBT charity controlled by pharmaceutical heir Jon Stryker. The ARCUS foundation uses money to drive adoption of a medically-dependent lifestyle.

When you click on a country, a list of criteria for trans rights comes up. It’s a categorised list that gives a snapshot of the legal, social and political position of trans people.

For example:

    Legal Gender Recognition: Change of Name
    Change of name possible
    Pathologization requirement
    Sterilisation/SRS/GRT requirement

The implication is that if we can knock over these barriers then we can guarantee trans safety. It is an impetus to law-makers. “We have to stop the murders!”

This ignores that the overwhelming number of trans murders occur in the context of prostitution. Murders occur at the hands of homophobes. They occur in countries where life is cheap. Fast-tracking access to surgery will just put money in the pockets of big pharma and the medical industrial complex.

Who’s Behind it in Australia

Trans Day of Remembrance is a day observed internationally where people come together to read out the names of people murdered in transphobic attacks. We observe it in Australia too, even though we have registered only 4 murders in 13 years.

Just look at this picture on the TDOR website. Huddling together against the cold and the dark.

A beautiful website and a calendar full of events. There’s money behind it. Far from being a grassroots initiative, TDOR is sponsored by multiple organisations, many of whom are powered by government grants.

CharityGov Grant Incoming
(last posted income)
TGV$160 000
Gender Centre$933 000
Parents of Gender Diverse ChildrenHas the VIC Gov logo on their site,
but no financial documents available
Y GenderSupported by Albert van Moorst Memorial Trust,
who last posted a statement in 2015
TransFolk WANon-government donations
A Gender Agenda$600 000

Of course there’s also a grift on the TDOR page. Donate, buy a badge or book training to “Make your school or workplace a safer place for trans people”.

My point here isn’t than community groups shouldn’t receive grants. It is that between them, these groups are presenting an incorrect picture of violence against trans people. There is no evidence of risk of hate crime, but this narrative pushes trans people into the arms of these support organisations. Organisations who’s bread and butter is to medicalise and mutilate.

These groups get money to serve their communities and improve the community as a whole. They don’t get the money to make slick websites that promote a false narrative.

Inflating the numbers

In 2019, trans woman

Mhelody Bruno was killed by an intimate partner. It’s not a very nice story. It’s not a story of transphobic hate, however. There is no epidemic of anti-trans violence in Australia.

The Gender Centre sponsored Eloise Brooks to do historical research and uncover the names of historical murder victims who may have been transgender. He found 15 names from the 1970s and 1980s because accurate records were kept and noone was falfisying birth certificates during that time. Oh isn’t it ironic.

Brooks told ABC that the names being read out represent anyone who dies for any reason. Again, widening the scope of TDOR and presenting a false narrative of violence.

“If you pass away for whatever reason, we’ll read your name out at our memorial and you will be remembered by your community for who you were, and honoured and cherished.”

If any of these people were serious about stopping violence, they would stop pretending. They would diagnose the causes and work to address them. But they are happy to sit in splendour, reading out the names of people who were not victims and pretending to be solving a problem which does not exist.

Further reading