US: For Transgender Women, an Extra Dose of Fear

Abbie Paige began transitioning from male to female seven years ago. Since then, she has had electrolysis, hormone therapy, a neck lift and breast augmentation.

In April, she had an orchiectomy or the removal of her testes, which stops the production of testosterone, which makes hormone management easier and curbs the growth of body and facial hair. She also had a vaginoplasty, changing her genitalia from male to female

The surgeries were important for both her psychological well-being and physical safety, she said.

“The political climate is a catalyst to our danger,” said Ms. Paige, 58, who lives in Lake Worth, Fla., and is a buyer for a company that manufactures ventilation systems for ships. “Generally, people want to see you as male or female. Nothing in-between seems to be acceptable.”

Her partner Eveline Carr, also a transgender woman, feels similarly. “All it takes is one guy to be attracted to you, and feel embarrassed because of it, and you can be assaulted or killed for ‘tricking’ him,” said Ms. Carr, 59, a tech writer in Lake Worth, Fla. “I can’t deny that presenting female is important to my safety.”

In an era in which protections allowing transgender students to use the restrooms they prefer have been rescinded and 14 transgender people have been murdered so far this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an L.G.B.T. rights advocacy group, many transgender people say they feel increasingly unsafe, and that “passing” is necessary for survival.

So far, 19 states and the District of Columbia have put strong nondiscrimination policies in place for transgender people. But “now we’re seeing this pushback,” said Jaclyn White Hughto, a research fellow at the Yale School of Public Health who specializes in transgender health. “It’s the belief that the violence is a response to the more progressive agenda to protect transgender people.”

A 2015 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality that surveyed nearly 28,000 transgender adults from across the United States found that one in 10 reported being physically or sexually assaulted, and 46 percent had been verbally harassed in the past year.

“These experiences are not just restricted to transgender individuals living in more conservative areas of the U.S.,” Ms. Hughto said.

In 2016, advocates tracked at least 22 murders of transgender people in the United States, the highest number ever recorded, though numbers on transgender violence tend to be unreliable since many cases go unrecorded. Read more via New York Times