Megan D’Souza


According to The Human Rights Campaign, 2016 saw the deaths of at least 22transgender people — the most recorded in U.S. history. But thus far in 2017, there have been 21 deaths within the transgender community; which is rapidly approaching the record threshold. In the wake of these 21 tragic, senseless deaths, the most commonly asked questions are: What can we do and how do we put a stop to the dangerous, trans-exclusionary rhetoric that leads to the brutalization and violence against trans people? 

The answer lies in education. Ignorance breeds misinformation, and hatred and fear stem from a lack of knowledge. Sexual education classes should be required to address gender identity and the facts about each gender, in order to provide information about a concept that so many people painfully fail to grasp. Opening up these difficult and sometimes confusing conversations is the first step towards progress in reducing trans-targeted violence. The spectrum of transphobia is wide and malicious at both ends, whether through microaggressions like purposefully or accidentally misgendering —  or dead-naming (using an incorrect pronoun or former form of identification) —  of a trans person, or both verbal and physical assault, and sometimes, murder. It’s high time we stop ignoring the alarming rates of trans murders and start implementing solutions that will successfully educate and inform the general community of trans rights and issues. 

However, the unfamiliarity does not end there. Far too many times have I been witness to the silence after an out trans person is dead-named or misgendered in a conversation. There are even praises given to popular members of the rap community, such as Eminem and Migos, who produce offensive material towards the transgender community. As allies of the trans community and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, we must stop staying silent for the sake of conversation and social preservation.