Transgender people go through many challenges and discrimination in their life. Unlike lesbians and gays, transgender people have not received a warm welcome from the society. A 2011 finding from Williams Institute estimated that about 0.3% population of American adults are transgender. Transgender people are discriminated upon in their workplaces, their community, and even in healthcare.
Statistics About Transgender Abuse
A report done by National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report revealed that about 26% transgender people have been harassed at their workplace and even lost their jobs. However, statistics revealed that transgender abuse begins at home.19% of transgender people have been physically abused by their family members, as reported here. Many transgender people have also reported that they have been sexually abused more than once. The Office of Justice Programs states that 5-7% of the sexual abuse cases are perpetrated by police officers. Transgender youths are more susceptible to sexual abuse with 12% youths recorded as being abused in educational institutions. The murder of transgender people has increased 11% and 87% of the murders affect people of color. Transgender people fear reporting this abuse due to many factors such as:
- They fear being discriminated once they are “outed”. Once they report the domestic abuse, they could be denied medical help in hospitals or be denied hormones.
- Once “outed”, they fear endangering their legal status by being branded as undocumented immigrants. This jeopardizes their living status and verbal abuse from immigration officials.
- They also face being institutionalized by law enforcement and judicial systems as having a mental disability.
Abuse By Intimate Partners
Apart from domestic abuse from family members, there is a prevalence of intimate partner abuse. Most of these intimate partner abuses are not recorded by the law enforcement or reported in the media because they are not considered intimate partner violence where a transgender person is involved. Many transgender people have been injured, and some have been killed at the hands of their intimate partners. Intimate partners who are abusive are driven by the need to control and impose gender norms within the relationship. The failure of law enforcement to report intimate partner abuse against transgender people is because only 18 States have laws that protect transgender people. The rest of the States have no clear laws to protect transgender people.
Transgender people choose to stay in abusive intimate partner relationships simply because they fear social discrimination, especially in the workplace. Some transgender women rely on their intimate partners for protection, food and housing because they don’t have jobs, or a means to survive by themselves. They feel that they are safer with abusive partners than what the outside world has to offer. Some stay because they feel that these abusive relationships affirm their gender in a traditional sense. For women, they feel that being abused is the accepted norm and for men, they should be abusive because this is an affirmation of their gender roles.
Facing Harassment When Seeking Justice
Transgender people face mental and emotional abuse from the people closest to them and the society. They are often told that no one will ever love them. Their abusers choose not to use preferred pronouns, and their body parts are eroticized. For some, they are threatened that their children will be taken away without the possibility of getting them back. Judicial systems sometimes institutionalize transgender people to mental hospitals. These judicial systems recognize transgender people as having mental disabilities. Some are mandated to go for psychiatric help to force them to stick to the gender assigned to them at birth.
Law enforcement also fails to arrest these perpetrators when they discover that are abusing a transgender person. The lack of policies and intervention programs that are catered for transgenders has led to a mistrust of the law. They refuse to report incidents of domestic abuse because of the trans-phobic laws that do not have clear direction on how law enforcement, hospitals, and educational institutions should treat them and handle cases of abuse.
There Is A Need To Highlight The Abuse
Generally, transgender people face discrimination from all angles and in most cases, they are unable to obtain justice because even judges are biased towards them as recorded by endtransdiscrimination.org.Transgender abuse is an issue that needs attention and, laws and policies are needed to protect transgender people. The media should also increase coverage of transgender abuse in order to bring to light the violence that they continue to endure and honor their humanity.