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Brazil: 604 transgender murders in 7 years

brazil transgender murders

As staggering as Brazil’s 604 transgender murders are local advocates say it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Between January 2008 and March 2014, 604 deaths were recorded in Brazil, according to a just-published report by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Transgender Europe (TGEU). 

But the “absolute numbers” found on TGEU’s new websitepainting a much more grim picture, clearly indicating a government that doesn’t care about its transgender people.

A transgender Brazilian is murdered very fourth day yet inconceivably a judge just released the confessed killer of trans woman Brenda Lee saying that he posed “no risk to society”.

“Unfortunately, there are very few (transsexuals and transvestites) who exceed 35 years of age and get older. When not murdered, usually some other fatality happens,” said Rafaela Damasceno , a Brazilian trans woman fighting for the rights of this population.

Rafaela Damasceno
Rafaela Damasceno reports on the abysmal conditions brazilian trans people exist in saying they are treated like animals in a cage.

A report on homophobic violence in Brazil, published in 2012 by the Department of Human Rights (now Ministry of Women, Racial Equality and Human Rights) pointed receiving by phone (Dial 100), 3.084 violations complaints related to the LGBT population (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), involving 4.851 victims. Compared to the previous year, there was an increase of 166% in the number of complaints – in 2011, 1.159 complaints involving 1,713 victims were accounted.

These figures point to a serious homophobic violence problem in Brazil. “It was reported 27.34 human rights violations of homophobic character per day.
Every day, during 2012, more that 13 LGBT Brazilians were victims of hate crimes, according to the document.

On the average in Brazil, one trans person is being murdered every fourth day.

The report shows that in 2012, 71% of victims were male and 20% female. Some victims have not disclosed their sex. (Note: In Brazil, transphobic violence is commonly considered as homophobia and transgender women are commonly listed as male/gay.)

In addition to the data collected by phone (Dial 100), the report also included information on violations reported in the media.

“The underreporting in the media mirrors the invisibility and lack of knowledge about transsexuals, where news related to this population were not found,” the report says. (In Brazil, transgender people who have not done the SRS are considered as transvestites. Transsexuals are only those who have it done.)

According to the document, 54.19% of the victims were male and 40% were transvestites. (Again trans women listed as male)

For the president of the National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals of Brazil (Antra), Cris Stefanny, cases of violence against this population are underreported. “Much of the trans women and transvestites do not have access to information and to the media. And they do not report. There are few real data on such violence, which is veiled ” she says.

Eduarda Alice Santos
Trans woman, activist, writer and translator from Portugal (that's in Europe)


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