TDoR 2021: Say their names. Read their stories. Remember them
Saturday 20th November, 2021
It has 20 months since the pandemic started, and unlike this time last year, 2021 has seen the start of some sort of return to "normality" (whatever that means) - at least in privileged parts of the world where the majority of the population has now been vaccinated.
But inevitably, many TDoR vigils will still be conducted online for the safety of all involved. But the medium chosen doesn't matter - what really matters is that - as every year - we remember them
There were - as far as we know - no UK trans victims of murder this past year, although it is always worth mentioning that the UK Office for National Statistics states that “it is not possible to identify transgender victims in current homicide statistics” (never mind that they don't even try).
However, as always the UK claimed trans lives in other ways. There are several UK cases in our database right now - and, like last year, one of them was someone I knew. Rest in power, Jane.
A brief moment of celebration:@ElisabethMcQ was smart and brave. She was a lawyer through and through; looking for a way to make things better for everyone.— A Mere Solicitor 🐢 (@truesolicitor) August 26, 2021
She wasn’t out for any credit; she took none for her work but she’s not here to stop me so I’m going to say it:
What makes Jane's death even more tragic is that her partner Bella was one of the trans people we lost last year.
Another, Sophie Gwen Williams, died by suicide after being told she would be on an NHS GIC waiting list for a total of five and a half years before being offered even a first appointment. Although I'm always wary of ascribing causation to correlation, in this case it's hard to avoid the conclusion that she might still have been alive if the NHS had not failed her. Her case has echoes of that of Jacob Whelan.
#PrideMonth2021 is a time for celebration for all in the #LGBTQ community.— Amy 🌙 (@AnxietySugar_) June 2, 2021
However, it's also an important time to remember the lives of LGBTQ people we've lost. From hate crime to waiting on medical treatment, young lives are facing discrimination and need our help.#Pride pic.twitter.com/1ufyEyaEuT
Transgender Europe reported 375 killings of trans people in the past year, but we only saw their official list of the names of the victims on 11th November 2021.
Once we received the data set I started the difficult task of checking it (a task that took nearly 4 days of poring over really grim spreadsheets) and merged it with our own. As part of this process all entries were checked against original sources where available, and the results reflect that.
That process led to the discovery of several duplicate entries on the TGEU TDoR list, which I naturally merged and filtered out. Those were:
- Kendra (10-Apr-2021) & La Barbie (10-Apr-2021)
- Michell (13-Jun-2021) & N.N. (14-Jun-2021)
- Tati Quirós (6-Dec-2020) & Titi Davila (8-Dec-2020).
As a result of this process the effective total number of cases on the TGEU memorial list went down from 375 to 372.
While doing this I also noticed that some remarks were transposed between entries and there were some causes of death which did not seem to match up to the available source information. Given the volume of data and the limited resources TGEU have at their disposal, this is not unexpected - but it does make interpreting the data harder.
If you want to learn more about the people behind Transgender Europe and their Trans Murder Monitoring Project, I recommend you read https://tgeu.org/about-us/.
But even before it was published we knew most of the names on the TDoR 2021 memorial list already.
We already knew them because of the many trans people and groups posting to social media, talking to each other and sharing their memories of those who they had lost.
We already knew them because of social media posts and articles by families mourning their murdered trans children and siblings.
We already knew them because of the (often sparse and laden with stereotypes and misgendering) news reports we have seen in our RSS feeds throughout the year.
We already knew them because automated translation engines had made it possible to read about them even when we do not even speak the same languages.
We already knew them because after so many years we knew where to look to find news of what happened to them.
The deaths of those we have lost this year follow a familiar pattern.
Beaten, shot or stabbed in the street or at home - either by clients, gangs, police or partners or ex-partners.
Being taken by friends from one hospital to another to try to get medical attention after clinicians refused to treat them or to take them to hospital in an ambulance.
Suspicious deaths and murders being reported as suicides.
Being disrespected or erased in death - by the authorities and media, but also far too often by their own families.
The end result is, sadly, always the same.
It is always worth reiterating that direct violence of the kind reported in the yearly TGEU TDoR memorial list is only ever part of the story. A trans person who dies from suicide or from COVID-19 - after being forced to go on the street to do sex work during a pandemic to earn money to buy food and pay rent - is no less dead, and no less worthy of being remembered.
So our list is longer than the official TDoR list. Of course, it is far from definitive - far too often trans people die without anyone noticing (or the media, authorities and/or families actively try to erase their lives through misgendering and deadnaming.
As such those whose deaths are reported represent just the tip of a very large iceberg.
[TRIGGER WARNING: VIOLENCE. MURDER]
October 2020 (35)
November 2020 (31)
December 2020 (42)
January 2021 (37)
February 2021 (39)
March 2021 (38)
April 2021 (45)
May 2021 (49)
June 2021 (47)
July 2021 (34)
August 2021 (42)
September 2021 (23)
The reports linked above can be broken down as follows:
Deaths in custody: 9 (two of whom, Victoria Nuñez and Fatima Belén Barrios, died at the hands of the police and appear on the TGEU TDoR list)
Medical (including COVID-19): 25
Uncategorised: 24 (many of whom are likely to have been victims of violence, but without more detailed source reports we can't confirm that. Some, for example Barbie dos Santos, appear on the TGEU TDoR list).
Direct violence: 360
For these few we know about there is at least some chance they will be remembered.
Is that any consolation? I don't know.
If anyone has details to add, please let me know and I'll do what I can to help make sure that they will be remembered.
No matter who they were, we mourn and miss every single one of them.
If you are involved in organising a vigil, resources for TDoR 2021 - including raw data, photos of those we've lost and and Powerpoint slides (see the screenshot below) - can be downloaded in either pre-prepared form or generated from a user-defined subset of the live data (e.g. that for a particular country).
I'll finish with a goodbye - not to you, the reader - but to Jane and Bella, on behalf of all of us on UK #TransTwitter.
Just found some pics of the two of us pic.twitter.com/0SHUU3OmYB— Elisabeth (@ElisabethMcQ) October 26, 2020
We miss you both. 😢
Related blogposts are linked below:
TDoR 2020: Say their names. Read their stories. Remember them
TDoR 2019: Say their names. Read their stories. Remember them
TDoR 2018: Say their names. Read their stories. Remember them
TDoR 2017: Say their names. Read their stories. Remember them
Remembering Our Dead Never Gets Any Easier
About The Author
Anna-Jayne Metcalfe is a software engineer who volunteers to help research, collate and share data on violence against trans people. This blogpost was originally published by Anna on Medium.