The Roots of Anti-Trans Violence

"The Roots of Anti-Trans Violence" against a white background.

This is the introduction to a partnership between Autostraddle and Transgender Law Center to provide data and reporting on why anti-trans violence occurs. Read more of the series. You can also find more data compiled by Transgender Law Center here.

Year after year, journalists reported the ongoing murders of trans people — the majority of them Black trans women — demonstrating the “epidemic of violence.” The reports of community members’ deaths caused continuous ripples of grief and fear.

Under the legal system, these homicides were interpersonal acts: one individual committing a crime against another. In reality, these deaths are not singular events. Rather, the theft of trans lives is made possible by the neglect and violence of many institutions. Murders are the result of multiple incidences over the course of a trans person’s life: every time we’re abandoned by our families, every time we are refused healthcare, every time we are denied access to a homeless shelter, every time the police profile us as sex workers and incarcerate us.

Trans people are trapped in a web of violence wherein the very entities charged with caring for us instead treat us as disposable.

Who has blood on their hands? Not just perpetrators of the homicide. The federal government, state legislatures, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, police forces, homeless shelters, prisons, healthcare providers, and discriminatory employers all contribute to making us vulnerable.

In order to end the violence, we have to understand its roots. We have to transform all the conditions that lead to the violence in the first place.

Autostraddle has partnered with Transgender Law Center to study how anti-trans violence is embedded in our society. We chose to feature four regions that are among those with the highest rates of anti-trans violence: Louisiana, Texas, New York, and Puerto Rico.

We’ll present data and reporting that features local community organizers who represent the possibility of a future of interdependence and mutual care among all people. We’ve also included resources, organizations, mutual aid funds, and collectives from each region, majority trans-led, for readers to donate and support.

We must plant new seeds. We must water them so trans people get to bloom without fear.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

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xoai pham

Xoài Phạm is a Vietnamese trans person who descends from a long legacy of warriors, healers, and shamans. Her life's work is in dreaming new futures where we are all limitless, and she makes those dreams a reality as a poet, essayist, editor, and collaborative educator. Learn more about her work here: Catch her on Instagram @xoai.pham and on Twitter @xoaiwrites.

xoai has written 22 articles for us.


  1. Grateful for this important series!
    FYI I think there is a link missing right now for the rest of the series

  2. What an incredible partnership! Looking forward to the series. Thanks for doing this important work.

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