Domestic Violence and Transwomen
In the week since news surfaced about the Jan. 3 murder of Grafton Lee Person, a 42-year-old transgender woman known in the community as Diamond Lee Person, her death has reverberated through the transgender community. Earlene Budd, drop-in center coordinator at Transgender Health Empowerment (THE), has already received several calls from other transgender women who are looking for ways out of domestic abuse.
”As a result of Diamond’s death, I would have to say there is more violence against transgender people than we can imagine. Already I have had at least 10 calls from transgender women [inquiring] about support groups, talking about the fact that they have not disclosed it, but are going through things [involving] violence.”
Budd said this is another wake-up call that more support is needed for transgender women who are experiencing domestic abuse. ”Even a hotline,” she said, ”so that when they are going through something, they can call in and say, ‘I’m with a person who’s abusive and I need help.”’
Budd knew Person for the past 10 years, as both a client and a friend, and said Person would have used a hotline or support group had there been one. Budd believes it could have saved her life.
The LGBT community is finally getting some law enforcement agencies to recognize that gay and lesbian people experience domestic violence at the same about rate as heterosexual people.
Well, transgender people experience domestic violence in relationships too. Los Angeles based transgender activist Shirly Bushnell indicated in an LA Weekly aricle from last April that she works with domestic-violence shelters, because the shelters are still hesitant to take in people they consider “men” — the reality is when transgender people experience domestic violence, there’s no agency to turn to, and no place for the them to go to leave the violence.
It’s heartbreaking. I have this dream — Wouldn’t it be nice if people were all treated like they were human?