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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2003
STABBING, BLUDGEONING GREETS TRANSGENDERS
Cambridge, MA: Murders of transgender persons, statistics show, are much more likely to be up close, personal, and brutally violent than other murders. At least, that's what the best available information tells us, according to a report on WMBR-FM's GenderTalk (www.gendertalk.com). According to host Nancy Nangeroni, "A close study of the best available national murder statistics reveals that transgender persons are nearly twice as likely to be stabbed to death as other murder victims, and more than three times as likely to be beaten or bludgeoned to death. This tells us that the murders of transgendered persons tend to be committed with an especially heightened level of anger and passion. It's a lot easier to pull a trigger than it is to stab or bludgeon someone repeatedly."
A former executive director of the International Foundation for Gender Education, Nangeroni bases her comments on her study of general murder statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) website and information on the murders of transgender persons, at the "Remembering Our Dead" website (www.gender.org/remember). To date, she says, no formal study of this information has been undertaken at any level, although the significantly heightened risk of violence suffered by transgender persons has been noted by The First National Survey on TransViolence (1997).
GenderTalk's tally of the US transgender murder cases listed on the "Remembering" website, the only known collection of transgender murder information, reveals that 25% of the victims were stabbed, while 19% were bludgeoned (including beatings). Homicides with guns (44%) and other weapons (12%) account for the remainder. The BJS website shows that, for the most recent year tallied (2000), 66% of all US homicides were committed with guns, 14% with knives, 5% with blunt objects, and 15% with other weapons.
This revelation about transgenders' extreme victimization comes as preparations begin for the 5th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, taking place on Thursday, November 20th. The international event, organized by Gwen Smith of San Francisco, was inspired by community response to the murder in Brighton, MA of Rita Hester, a transsexual woman who was brutally stabbed to death in November of 1998. Following her murder, a community-organized candlelight vigil attended by over 250 mourners wound through the streets of Brighton, leaving candles and other memorabilia on Rita's doorstep, and inspiring a musical video tribute, 'In Memory of Rita.' One year later, the first memorial vigil was held in San Francisco, leading to the growing annual observance. In 2003, over 55 separate gatherings will take place in cities and on campuses around the world.
Says Nangeroni, "The police failed to bring Rita's killer to justice, and the press paid little attention. That's why these things keep happening. Too many people believe that transgender persons deserve what they get, and don't really consider the source of such extreme violence."
For more information about the DOR, visit www.gender.org/remember/day.