Blog Post Week Two

(Accidentally made it 500 words because I misread and thought the blog post had to be 500, not the short answer. Sorry!!)

Individuals who identify as transgender have never been protected by the United Nations Convention on Genocide. Many report that there is currently a ‘quiet’ transgender genocide that has been happening for decades. In 1969, the Stonewall riots occurred after multiple police raids on a gay bar, where police arrested gay and transgender individuals and dehumanized them in the process. Since the beginning of the modern century, to today, there have been millions of attacks on the transgender community, even more so than the gay community. In some more well known examples, in 1993, a transgender male, Brandon Teena, was raped and murdered at seventeen years old by his friends after they found out that he was a transgender male.

Until 2000, crimes against gay and transgender people were not considered hate crimes. However, even after hate crimes against gay and transgender people were recognized, the judicial process is not being applied to these attacks as if they are hate crimes. Prominent trans activist, Terrianne Summers was found shot to death outside of her home in 2001, and police did not investigate her murder as a hate crime. In 2007, Ruby Ordeñana was raped and then strangled to death, and her murderer only received eighteen years in prison. Duana Johnson was severely beaten by a police officer while she was held in county criminal justice center, later she was found dead after being shot by three unknown individuals. Her murder case was ignored.

The criminal justice system has failed the transgender community. Individuals who commit hate crimes against transgender people are rarely if ever prosecuted for committing hate crimes, and many attacks that can be easily defined as a hate crime based on gender identity are not identified as hate crimes. In only seventeen states there are laws to protect transgender people at school and work, while in thirty-two there are no laws to protect transgender people. And despite laws being instated, hate crimes have not decreased. It is currently illegal to be transgender in seventy-seven countries, and there are many more where it is extremely unsafe to be transgender. In 2015, the Family Research Council created a five point plan to eradicate transgender individuals out of existence. The five points consist of complete dehumanization of transgender people. In this plan, the government should not permit transgender individuals to change their legal gender, and should not give transgender people legal protection. It also states that the government should also not allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their gender identity, and legally get surgery for their transition, as well as not allow transgender people to service in the military.

Transgender people face discrimination every single day of their lives, and it takes a huge mental toll on most. According to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, at least fifty percent of transgender youth are estimated to try to kill themselves before they turn twenty. In 2014, Leelah Alcorn committed suicide at age seventeen, after her parents forced her to attend conversion therapy and removed her from public school. After her suicide, in an interview, her mother referred to Leelah as her son repeatedly, showing just a sliver of the type of mental stress Leelah was under on a daily basis.

Transgender people need to be declared as a fifth group for protection by the United Nations for Genocide. In many countries their very existence is illegal, and in many more countries transgender people are murdered in hate crimes. Hate crimes have not ceased whatsoever, despite how several protection laws have been passed around the world. There needs to be action taken quickly to aid in the protection of transgender people.

Fantz, A. (2015, January 4). Ohio transgender teen’s mom: ‘He was an amazing boy’ Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/31/us/ohio-transgender-teen-suicide/

Fenton, S. (2016, May 17). LGBT relationships are illegal in 74 countries, research finds. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/gay-lesbian-bisexual- relationships-illegal-in-74-countries-a7033666.html

Statistics about Youth Suicide. (n.d.). Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.yspp.org/about_suicide/statistics.htm

Stabler, M. (n.d.). Transgender FAQ | Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from http://www.hrc.org/resources/transgender-faq

Tannehill, B. (2014, November 14). The Truth About Transgender Suicide. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/the-truth-about- transgend_b_8564834.html

Tannehill, B. (2016, February 17). And Then They Came for Transgender People. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/and-then-they-came-for- tr_b_9258678.html

Tremonti, A. M. (2015, January 09). The ‘quiet genocide’ against the transgender community – Home | The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti | CBC Radio. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/muhammad-cartoon-controversy-transgender-genocide-and- tobogganing-bans-1.2906924/the-quiet-genocide-against-the-transgender-community-1.2906927

3 thoughts on “Blog Post Week Two

  1. I agree with your post that the transgender community needs to be protected by the international genocide law, but I would expand on this addition to capture the protection of the entire LGBT community. I remember back in May with Pakistani transgender activist Alesha was shot in Peshawar, Pakistan and was not only refused medically treatment for being transgendered Alesha and friends were mocked and taunted by hospital staff. Alesha later succumbed to her wounds which was a tragedy not only for the LGBT community, but an un-neccesary death that could have been prevented if Alesha has received the proper medical treatment upon arrival. According to a Washington Post article regarding Alesha’s death “violent attacks on transgender people aren’t rare in Pakistan, or across South Asia and beyond for that matter, and the group young Alesha coordinated for, Trans Action, had long campaigned for greater protection. In Facebook posts, Trans Action said the gang that shot Alesha specifically targets members of the transgender community, and sometimes sexually assaults them while recording the crime”. (The Telegraph)

    This clearly meets the criteria of the definition of genocide: acts committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part; killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to the group, etc. Genocidal intent is determined by the specific purpose of the act. The specific purpose of this act, and with the hate crimes committed on the countless others of the LGBT community is to exterminate the members. We’ve seen this same pattern of horrific atrocities committed to the LGBT community in single acts of violence like the one on Alesha all the way in Pakistan, the large scale violence like the mass shooting right here in Orlando, Florida. This wide scale violence is targeting a specific group of people in hopes of eradicating the population, for sheer intent of violence towards this group, the LGBT community should be included under the international genocide law.

    I think one of the largest problems with adding the LGBT community as the 5th group included under international genocide law would be that there are so many countries that recognize transgender/gay/bisexual as illegal and do not permit civil rights to these individuals. I’m certain there would be significant push back from many of these countries, and in all honesty even our own to adopt the change. I think it’s a necessary fight to protect the human rights of these individuals, but it most certainly be met with significant resistance.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/25/transgender-activist-dies-after-being-denied-treatment-in-pakist/

  2. I definitely do agree that Transgender people should be included under international genocide law. The severity of the beatings are much greater than I knew of and the self-harm and mental struggles are no lesser of a problem. The only problems that come to mind with adding this into the genocide law is the part of cultural relativism. Being open about being a transgender person is something that is now a part of American culture, but in other societies where it isn’t even a thought in their minds may stir up controversy. Although they do not have to act upon it, it is still a law that is made by the UN that as a nation state they might be a part of.

  3. The transgender community has been struggling for their own rights for a long, long time. People assume that transgenders have only been around for a little while, when in actuality, they’ve been around for quite some time. They weren’t as open about it way back in the day because of how uncivilized and closed-minded society has notoriously shown to be over the course of time. For example, gay marriage is still a struggling controversial topic that has recently been declared legal nationally, but is still seen as wrong by more traditional oriented individuals. When people don’t understand something, they turn on it or choose to ignore it. As far as the ignorance towards protecting individuals who identify as trans goes, we need to step our game up. People need to realize that just because someone identifies as something that they may not agree with, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated like human beings. If a child was shot outside their house like Terrianne Summers, it would be a mad house. People would be going nuts trying to find who would do such an awful crime, but change that child to a transgender- suddenly it’s pushed to the back burner and doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves. It’s up to the law and policy makers, as well as every individual on this earth, to make sure they go out of their way to treat all human beings equally, as they are.

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