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Shot, tortured, beheaded and stoned to death: 12 months of trans murder victims

Shot, tortured, beheaded and stoned to death: 12 months of trans murder victims

  • The youngest victims recorded in the last year were just 15.
A Black Trans Lives Matter protest in Pittsburgh.

The Trans Murder Monitoring project has listed 350 trans and gender diverse people murdered in the last 12 months.

Its annual report comes ahead of Trans Day of Remembrance 2020 – on Friday (20 November). And while it represents a 6% increase in reported murders worldwide from the 2019 update, it is only a fraction of the total number of trans and non-binary murder victims.

This year the horrific stories are mostly of trans women, including some victims as young as 15.

The youngest victims include Brighiit Mirón, a 15-year-old sex worker. She was shot to death in the head in La Gomera, Guatemala.

Likewise Daphine Kauane, also 15, was beaten and stoned to death in Recife, Brazil.

In many cases, the murderers shot, strangled or stabbed their victims. But the horrific violence inflicted on trans people includes cases of beheading, torture, being run over by vehicles, burned alive and stoned to death.

The killers include lovers and clients who trans women were selling sex to, along with gangs, family members and even the police.

Often, passers by found their bodies, badly decomposed, long after their deaths. With police often failing to investigate thoroughly, the truth of what happened to many trans victims will never be known.

Tortured, stabbed and shot

Moreover, it is impossible to give full details of all the cases as the Trans Murder Monitoring project relies on volunteers and partners to report information, which is often patchy.

Indeed, police often misgender victims and countries fail to accurately monitor LGBT+ murders, including murders based on gender identity.

However, the project sheds a light on some victims.

For example Jade Camila Diaz, 27 was tortured to death in Meanguera del Golfo, El Salvador. Her body was found with her hands tied and weighted with a bag of stones.

Meanwhile Sarita, a 40-year-old sex worker from Manaus in Brazil died from stab injuries. An expert report says there were used condoms next to her body. The murderer had left her lying naked on the floor, almost beheaded.

Likewise, Soledad Fernández, also aged 40, was killed in Zanja Pytá, Paraguay. The young gun man who murdered her followed her for several blocks but took none of her belongings.

And Paola Araujo, a hairdresser, stylist and beautician was aged just 31 when her killer shot her in the neck, face and chest in Teresina, Brazil.

The report shows how trans people face danger around the world, even when they should feel safe.

One tragic example is the murder of Monika Diamond, aged 34 and the owner of a beauty shop and hair salon in Charlotte, USA.

Charlotte police and paramedics responded to a call about a disturbance in Days Inn where Monika was experiencing shortness of breath.

But when she was in the ambulance, her murderer got into the vehicle and shot her several times.

Many more victims

The report from Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide includes murders between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020.

Most of the murders it recorded took place in Brazil (152), Mexico (57), and the United States (28).

Of the 28 who died in the USA, 79% were people of colour make up 79%. Protestors highlighted that issue with ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’ banners at Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the US this summer.

Meanwhile 98% of the victims were trans women or trans feminine people. And, where the victim’s occupation is noted, 62% are sex workers.

The victims’ average age was just 31 years old.

Since it started in 2008, the monitoring project has tracked 3,664 murders. However, that shocking death toll is certainly a huge underestimate.

In their commentary, the report authors say:

‘These figures are not complete. Due to data not being systematically collected in most countries, added to the constant misgendering by families, authorities, and media, it is not possible to estimate the number of unreported cases.’

Moreover they warn the world has become more dangerous for trans people in 2020:

‘As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as growing racism and police brutality, the lives of trans and gender-diverse people are at even greater risk.

‘Data is a testimony of how COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting trans people worldwide, especially those most marginalised, such as black and women of colour, sex workers, migrants, youth, and poor.’