The Unspoken Criminalization of Trans/ Gender Non-conforming Communities
Over 10 million arrests take place annually across the country. These daunting statistics reflect a growing crisis in the United States – not of increasing violent crime, but of an ever-expanding web of criminalization. Beyond passage of criminal laws, criminalization represents a broader social and political process by which society determines which actions or behaviors will be punished by the State. The crisis of criminalization is dramatically intensifying in the current political climate, not just for black men, but also for trans/gender non-conforming communities (TGNC).
Women are the fastest growing incarcerated population: the number of women in prison has been increasing at a rate 50% greater than men’s over the past four decades. Almost 1 in 2 Black transgender women report experiencing incarceration in their lifetime, representing the highest rates of incarceration of any group. Nearly one third of transgender people live in poverty, many relying on the underground economy, and lacking access to health care and stable housing. Transgender people are four times as likely to live in extreme poverty, with even higher rates for people of color. The unemployment rate among transgender people is double the national rate. 1 in 4 transgender people report having avoided medical care in the past year out of fear of being disrespected or mistreated. It is estimated that as many as 50% of transgender people will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Sadly, 2017 has already seen at least 27 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. However, these issues aren’t being discussed in traditional discourse around women's issues!
(Moderator) Evie Litwok - Founder and Director of Witness to Mass Incarceration
LaLa B Zannell (Pronouns: Goddess/ Queen/ Sister) - Trans Women of Color Collective- Leadership Team
Mitchyll Mora - Criminal Justice and TGNC Community Activist
Auset Bennu (pronouns: she/her/they/them) - Active Fierce! Member/ Intern, Spiritual Liaison, and Artist
Olympia Perez - Co-Founder of Black Trans Media