Activism is Survival for Brazilian Trans Women

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07/31/2019

Since the campaign and subsequent election of Jair Bolsonaro, who was long known for trotting out hate speech against marginalized communities in his bid for Brazil’s presidency, violence against LGBTQ folks has become more explicit and socially acceptable. But in many ways, the everyday lives of trans women in Brazil haven’t changed since he assumed office. “The fear for us is not new,” Robeyonce Lima, the first trans woman to become a lawyer in the Northern State of Pernambuco, explained to Ms. “We have always been scared.” Between January 1, 2009 and September 20, 2018, 2,982 trans people worldwide were murdered, according to the website Trans Murder Monitoring. 2,350 of those murders happened in Central and South America. Brazil has boasted the highest number of trans murders, every single year, since 2009. In 2018, an alarming 41 percent of all documented murders of trans people worldwide happened in Brazil. Over 60 percent of the victims were between 17 and 29 years old; 82 percent were Black, and 97.5 percent were trans women. Every 19 hours, an LGBTQ+ Brazilian is murdered; more often than not, they are murdered by multiple bullets or stabs.

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