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A Global Crisis: Epidemic of Violence Against Transgender People

As we mark Transgender Awareness Week, we remember the hundreds of transgender people who are killed around the world each year. Like in the U.S., countless hate-motivated murders of transgender people go unreported by communities, families, governments and the media.

This year, the death of 23-year-old Turkish transgender activist Hande Kader made headlines when her body was found mutilated and burned in Istanbul in August. Her kidnapping and brutal murder sparked outrage in Turkey, which has the highest reported number of fatal attacks on transgender people in Europe.

Sadly, transgender people around the world face daunting legal challenges. They are often unable to obtain official documents that match their gender identity, change their sex or change their names. In some countries, they are forced to undergo involuntary medical procedures such as forced sterilization. Many are denied freedom of movement and other fundamental rights.

Nevertheless, gradual progress is being made. In 2015, five countries on three continents – Bolivia, Ireland, Malta, Thailand and Vietnam – passed groundbreaking laws to protect transgender people. The Irish legislation allows transgender people to change their gender without legal or medical intervention or certification, and Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to provide legal protection for its transgender population.

HRC Global is actively engaged in efforts to combat the ongoing global epidemic of anti-transgender violence and support and strengthen the efforts of global transgender and LGBTQ activists. We do this through our reports, support for annual Pride events around the world, establishing partnerships with activists in places as diverse as the Philippines and Mozambique, and connecting established and emerging LGBTQ activists for an exchange of ideas and practices on advancing global equality. HRC Global also works with the U.S. government to adopt a LGBTQ-inclusive foreign and development aid policy. Read more about HRC Global’s work here.