In a segment called “the Quiet Genocide,” VCU professor Tarynn Witten was interviewed about violence committed against transgender people.
“I am both honored and humbled by the literally thousands of people who have shared their personal stories with me over the decades and have been open with willingness to allow me to share those stories in my research publications,” said Witten via email after the segment went online today. “It has allowed me to be able to be a scholarly voice in a field where people are dismissive because they say that it is just stories and that there is no evidence to support all of the allegations.”
Witten, herself a trans woman and a professor of Biological complexity and emergency medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, spoke about the deaths and murders of trans people around the globe, and how the trans population is often victimized, targeted, and murdered for being who they are.
“When you look at it in a global perspective,” said Witten on the CBC’s The Current. “These people are being completely made to not be who they are or literally murdered, it’s not a question anymore.”
Witten suggested better documentation around the issue, with international recognition from the Unite Nations in counting trans-murders.
“I think it would give the community a greater strength or voice so they could point to it and say ‘this is a systematic problem’,” she said, arguing if real hard data existed around trans-violence, then real change could happen.
“One of the challenges is, when you go to a state senator or somebody in power, you want to have data. And you want to be able to make a strong argument,” said Witten in defense of better data collection of trans-violence around the world. “And for a very long time there was really no research done on trans-violence.”
Witten said in an e-mail that her research showed rampant violence among the nearly 2,000 trans folks she spoke to.
“The abuse can range anywhere from micro-aggressions such as using the wrong sex label in a high school math class to murder,” she said.