How often are transgender people murdered?
Since 2008 the number of transgender people who have been murdered worldwide has been recorded annually by the Trans Murder Monitoring project (link to all the data is here.)
Some important trends can be seen in the data. The vast majority of all transgender murder victims come from countries in Central and South America; Brazil and Mexico having the highest numbers.
Figure 1 shows the comparison of the latest annual murder rates for each continent (adjusted to reflect the differences in population sizes between continents).
Of the 317 murder victims, 102 had their professions recorded. About half of these were sex workers; a notoriously dangerous line of work.
In contrast to places like Brazil it is much safer to be transgender in European countries including the UK. There were only 11 transgender murders recorded in 2016 for the whole of Europe. This represents only 3.5% of annual murders worldwide (despite Europe making up 10% of the world population). Italy, Turkey and Spain are the highest risk countries in Europe for the transgender community (see figure 2)
The UK is one of the safest European countries to live. In fact there were no reported transgender murders in the UK at all in 2016. Since the start of the Trans Murder Monitoring project in 2008 there has been on average just under 1 transgender person murdered in the UK each year.
In England and Wales there has been on average 585 homicides each year reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS, data from 2008-2016). The term “homicide” covers the offences of murder, manslaughter and infanticide. This works out on average that 1 person is murdered for every 100,000 inhabitants (ONS data here)
The chance of being killed in England and Wales is higher for men compared to women. There are 1.4 men are killed for every 100,000 males. For women the rate is lower at 0.6 killed for every 100,000 females.
The question we can now ask is whether transgender people at a higher risk of being killed than the average person? The data analysis in Figure 3 suggests that they are not.
There are no official figures for the number of transgender people in the UK but a recent estimate has been published by GIRES in 2015 (link to estimates here)
GIRES estimates that 1% of the UK population are gender non-conforming to some degree. Based on this estimate the transgender murder rate is in fact significantly lower than for the average person (for the purposes of this analysis we will assume that murder rates across England and Wales are representative of the UK as a whole). See figure 3; dark green column.
However, it may be argued that only part of the transgender community is at the highest risk; these being the transgender people who have undergone (or wish to undergo) a medical transition of some form. GIRES estimates this population to be 0.2% of the UK. If we only consider this much smaller group then the relative murder rate increases (see Figure 3; light green column).
The error bars represent the standard deviation of the murder rates from 2008-2016. Since the absolute number of transgender murders are small (0, 1 or 2 per year) the variation on this data set is relatively high making precise comparisons difficult. However, even when using the maximum estimated transgender murder rate (0.69 +/- 0.6) it is clear that transgender people are murdered at comparable rates to the average person. There is no evidence within the recorded data from the last 9 years that transgender people are murdered at significantly higher rates than average.
In summary, although worldwide the transgender community experiences unacceptably high murder rates this varies dramatically depending on where someone lives. Fortunately in the UK transgender people are very rarely victims of murder and are at no more risk than the average person living here.