In a recent Huffington Post article, Toni Newman puts a spotlight on transgender people and domestic violence—and the failure of the legal system to respond to cases of intimate partner abuse as experienced by transgender individuals. She also cites Leigh Goodmark, author of A Troubled Marriage, in the excerpt below.
Leigh Goodmark, a law professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and an expert in family law and domestic violence, wrote a riveting paper in February 2012 called “Transgender People, Intimate Partner Abuse, and the Legal System,” which detailed the abuse that many transgender people suffer at the hands of their lovers, often ending in their deaths. In many instances the LGBT community forgets the “T” when fighting for legal and civil rights, because the transgender population is small in comparison to the lesbian, gay and bisexual population.
Goodmark writes in her paper:
Whether characterized as hate crimes or as assaults or other crimes … violence against trans people is disturbingly common. Surveys of trans people document the disproportionately high rates of violence they experience. A 2001 survey found that over their lifetimes, almost 60% of trans people experienced either violence or harassment: over half of trans people experienced verbal abuse, 23% were stalked, almost 20% were assaulted without a weapon, 10% were assaulted with a weapon, and almost 14% experienced rape or sexual abuse. Other surveys have found similarly high rates of violence against trans people. In its most recent survey of hate violence in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities in the United States, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) found that trans people were twice as likely to be assaulted or discriminated against and 1.5 times more likely to experience intimidation than cisgender white people.
Trans women are particularly likely to be marked for violence. The 2010 NCAVP survey found that 44% of the murder victims in their study were trans women, but trans women made up only 11% of their sample; in the 2009 report, half of the murders reported were of trans women. Surveys of the trans community have found that 98% of violence in the trans community was targeted at trans women, and that trans women of color accounted for 70% of the murders of trans people reported internationally in 2003.