Washington, DC, January 30, 2019 – With a rate of 41% in the world ranking of assassinations of trans persons, Brazil has become the country that kills the most individuals with this gender identity, according to the 2018 Dossier on Assassinations and Violence against Transvestites and Transsexuals in Brazil, a report published this Tuesday by the Asociación Nacional de Travestis y Transexuales [National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals] (ANTRA) of Brazil and the Instituto Brasileño Trans de Educación [Brazilian Trans Institute of Education] (IBTE).
According to the report, in 2018 alone, a total of 163 trans persons violently lost their lives through assassinations related to their sexuality, 158 of whom were transvestites and transsexual women, four were trans men, and one a non-binary person.
As set forth in the report, these data are dramatically influenced by a 30% increase in the cases that have not been publicized in the national news media, an element that impacts and distorts the real situation of this population in the country. According to what is reported in the document, at first blush it would appear that there was a decrease in cases between 2017, in which 179 homicides were reported, and 2018, when 163 were reported. The fact is that during the first reporting year, there were only 34 cases that were not reported on, while in 2018, the number of cases that were unreported or unpublished in the national media rose to 44; as such, we are not truly talking about a decrease in assassinations but rather, a decrease in the publicizing of cases in the news media, which presupposes a direct impact on how cases are recorded, thereby leading to under-reporting in the counting of victims.
The Dossier seeks to produce a detailed analysis of the assassinations and violations against the transvestite and transsexual populations in Brazil in order to denounce the cases of human rights violations to which this population is subjected. In this way, the civil society organizations that fight for the recognition of the Brazilian LBGTI population’s rights, especially those of trans persons, reveals the omission of the Brazilian State by ignoring the alarming indices of violence against this population in the country. To date, the national government has not provided legal support that guarantees the removal and effective investigation of the systematic patterns that characterize these acts.
The violence in figures
The states that reported the greatest number of homicides of trans persons were Río de Janeiro (16), Bahía (15), and São Paulo with 14 cases. Keeping in mind the data reported, the average age of the victims assassinated in 2018 was 26.4 years old, which indicates a decrease of 1.3 years in relation to 2017. In addition, the data from the latest Violence Map show an increase of 54% in the homicides of black women, while the assassinations of white women dropped by 9.8%. All in all, 82% of the cases were identified as black persons and brown (mestizo) persons, thereby ratifying the sad datum regarding the assassinations of young black people in Brazil.
According to the report, 53% of the victims were assassinated with firearms, 21% by knives, and 19% by blows, asphyxiation, and/or strangulation. The deaths of trans persons in Brazil are generally due to the hatred or vicious cycle of exclusion to which they are subject. The presidents of ANTRA and IBTE noted in the letter they addressed to the readers at the end of the recently-published report that the assassinations are normally distinguished by the large number of violent blows inflicted or the cruelty of the method employed.
According to the data gathered by ANTRA, 90% of the population of transvestites and transsexuals use prostitution as a source of income and subsistence method, due to the low level of schooling resulting from the process of school exclusion, which in turn makes it more difficult for them to join the formal job market and handicaps them in terms of professional qualifications caused by social exclusion.
The International Institute on Race, Equality, and Human Rights (Race & Equality) expresses extreme concern regarding the data reported in the map of assassinations of trans persons and transvestites in 2018, especially the increase in the figures, systematization of the violence against young people, trans persons, and Afro-descendants, and the ‘invisibilization’ by the State of Brazil [of these acts] faced by the entire trans population. We join our voices to the call made by the report’s organizations, asking the national government to immediately address the human rights crisis confronted by the LGBTI population in the country.