by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
A new, non-profit international Transgender human rights organization for the public interest has been launched under the name of the Transgender Human Rights Institute.
According to officials, Transgender Human Rights Institute will initially focus on the Transgender Violence Tracking Portal to gather and maintain research data concerning anti-Transgender violence and harassment. The Transgender Violence Tracking Portal (TVTP) collects data on anti-Trans* violence and harassment in order to alert and inform the Transgender community in real time to help them to be better-informed advocates for change.
Transgender people make up 1 to 1.5% of the world's population but are about 400 times more likely to be assaulted or murdered than the rest of the population. These crimes are more likely to be excessively graphic and violent and are often meant to intimidate the entire community. Many of these crimes are left unsolved, which makes it doubly important to track and hold law enforcement accountable to solving these crimes.
Allison D. Woolbert will be serving as executive director. Commenting on the new organization, Woolbert said, 'The Transgender Human Rights Institute will be focusing extensively on bringing research, education and advocacy for the protection, advancement and promotion of Transgender human rights throughout the world. Transgender rights are human rights and Transgender individuals throughout the world should be given respect and protection from those who seek to harass, oppress or do harm against them.'
In addition to Ms. Woolbert, the Board of Trustees includes A.J. Walkley, Brynne Soukup, Bobbi Manners, Kristin Beck, Jennell Jaquays and Melissa Tuttle.
A.J. Walkley said, 'The more incidents reported through the Transgender Violence Tracking Portal, the better the tracking; the better the tracking, the more aware local, national and global communities can be regarding these heinous statistics. The more awareness, the more action that can be taken to ultimately curtail such incidents in the future, as well as bring justice for those we have already lost. At the end of the day, knowledge is power, and violence can be deterred with said knowledge. This is a fantastic first step for the Transgender Human Rights Institute as a whole, for the work of the TVTP will surely help inform our endeavors as an institute moving forward.'
Brynne Soukup: 'In the days to come, we remember all the Transgender people fallen to murder and violence over the years. I believe that the Transgender Violence Tracking Portal is the voice for all the previous and future victims of anti-Transgender violence. TVTP offers a unique voice in real-time tracking of murders, as well as brutal violence the Transgender community faces. I am thrilled that the Transgender Human Rights Institute will be a catalyst for change to bring about equality for Transgender people throughout the world.'
Bobbie Manners: 'Every November 20, Trans* people around the world are united in remembering those members of our community whose light has been extinguished before their time. The rate of violence and murder perpetrated around the world against Transgender individuals (and especially against Trans* women of color) is staggering, and the work that the Transgender Human Rights Institute and the Transgender Violence Tracking Portal does to highlight this ongoing human rights tragedy is of vital importance. I am proud to be involved in helping establish the Transgender Human Rights Institute as a prominent voice, drawing attention to the injustices faced by Transgender individuals and campaigning for legal, political and social change to prevent further bloodshed, and to ensure Trans* people are treated with dignity and respect.'
'The basic needs of any group of people can often be expressed as Housing, Employment, Health Care, Respect, and Safety. All are important, but the Transgender Violence Tracking Portal's focus on safety, on freedom from harm for Transgender people, is what drew me into first working with the Transgender Human Rights Institute and then becoming a part of its board,' said Jennell Jaquays. 'Transgender people form one of the most at-risk minorities in the world, experiencing harassment, threats of violence, and injury or death by violence at a higher rate than other groups. The stories of friends who have experienced some form of violence just for being Transgender, including self-harm, quickly become a part of nearly every Transgender person's journey. They become scary, cautionary tales. I feel that to end violence against Transgender people, we need to turn anecdotal tales into hard, researched data about victims. We need to share it in ways that everyone can understand, analyze, and most importantly, act upon.'
Kristin Beck said, 'Information is the only way to bring light into the darkness. The Transgender Human Rights Institute is bringing that light to people 400 times more likely to be assaulted or murdered than any other group of people. This research and information is vital to the advance of human rights worldwide.'
For more information go to www.TransViolenceTracker.org.
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