Statement from Transgender Law Center Executive Director Kris Hayashi:
This week, after what appears to be a year-long cover-up, horrifying video emerged of Chicago police murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald as he was walking away from officers. Earlier this month, Minneapolis police shot and killed Jamar Clark, a Black man who witnesses say was handcuffed at the time of the shooting. In the wake of Clark’s death, a group of white supremacists have been haunting the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter protest at the 4th precinct, and on Monday, several white men shot at the protesters and injured five.
These events are part of a continual, systemic assault on Black and brown bodies, including those who are transgender and gender nonconforming. Transgender and gender nonconforming communities of color, and particularly Black communities, face hugely disproportionate violence, discrimination, police brutality, and economic and social injustice. A full 47 percent of Black transgender and gender-nonconforming people have experienced incarceration, and 38 percent of Black transgender people reported harassment by police, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.
Hatred and police violence targeting transgender and gender nonconforming people of color cannot be separated from the state’s targeting of Black people in Chicago, Minneapolis, and across the country. TGNC people who are part of the movement protesting this violence, though, face unique and distinct experiences and challenges. Arrest of Black transgender people too often equals assault, abuse, and the stripping away of identity. Even in death, transgender people can be subjected to unique and devastating forms of violence in misgendering by the police and media.
To the members of our community courageously leading #BlackLivesMatter protests and taking action against police brutality and criminalization of Black people: we see you and we stay in solidarity with you.
TGNC people who are part of the movement protesting this violence and are arrested and suffer mistreatment by law enforcement or correctional institutions may contact TLC’s Detention Project for help challenging such misconduct. Please email Flor Bermudez, Detention Project Director, at email@example.com. The Transgender Law Center’s Detention Project works to end the abuses transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people experience in prisons, jails, immigration detention, state hospitals, and other forms of detention.