The Gender Beat: US LGBT Community Fears Backlash After Trump Victory; Tinder Adds 37 New Gender Identity Options

A round-up of what’s happening in the worlds of gender and sexuality.

Transgenders in US fear a reversal of civil rights gains under Trump administration

Murders of transgender people hit an all-time high in the US in 2016, campaigners said on Thursday, amid fears of a backlash against the LGBT community following the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election.

Sebastien Malo of the Thomson Reuters Foundation writes that GLAAD, an advocacy group that tracks transgender murders in the US, said 24 transgender people had been killed this year, exceeding last year’s tally of 22.

The announcement comes as transgender advocates in the country fear a reversal of their civil rights gains under the new government of president-elect Trump, who in his election campaign had said that he embraced the LGBT community. However, his move to promise to nominate a conservative justice to fill a vacancy in the Supreme Court has raised fears that an expansion of transgender rights under President Barack Obama is now under threat, Reuters reports.

Following Trump’s victory, crisis hotlines in the country saw a massive surge in calls and texts from distressed lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

Malo writes that three major crisis and suicide prevention hotlines in the US told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that they had been flooded with calls and text messages from the LGBTQ community, which had even forced the groups to bring in extra staff to meet unexpected demand.

“We know there is [a correlation with Donald Trump’s victory] because more than 95% of the people who called us last week mentioned their fears about the election,” said Steve Mendelsohn of The Trevor Project, a Los Angeles-based suicide prevention program for LGBTQ youth.

Kevin Nadal, executive director of the Centre for LGBTQ Studies at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York, told Reuters that he feared there could “definitely be an increase in hate crimes against trans and queer people” under a Trump government. “When candidates who demonstrate hate are elected, they give similarly-minded people the permission to act on that hate.”

Case registered against 100 transgenders in Chennai after protest against death of trans-woman

A case was registered against 100 transgender people by the police last week for staging a protest and for damaging vehicles in Chennai.

According to a Times of India report, the transgender people gathered near Kilpauk police station in Chennai to demand action against the personnel of Pondy Bazaar police station for abetting the suicide of Tara, a 28-year-old trans-woman.

Last week, the trans-woman immolated herself in front of the station allegedly due to police harassment and later succumbed to her injuries at Kilpauk Medical College hospital.

The Kilpauk police registered a case against those protesting under IPC Sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting with weapon) and Tamil Nadu (Prevention) of Public and Private Property Damaging Act.

A group of transgender people, on the other hand, have submitted a complaint demanding that the police personnel concerned be booked for abetting Tara’s suicide.

Tinder introduces 37 new gender identity options

Online dating app Tinder on Tuesday announced its decision to eliminate binary gender options for its users. Trans and non-comforming users of the dating app – which boasts over 20 billion “matches” – will now be able to choose from dozens more auto-fill options.

The additional 37 gender options include transgender female, transsexual male, agender, genderqueer, along with an option to fill in your own term.

According to a USA Today report, Sean Rad, the CEO of Tinder, is hopeful that the update will work towards addressing the problems transgender app users have faced in the past.

“Six months ago we discovered that the transgender community on Tinder was experiencing some harassment on the platform. When we initially heard about it, we were very angry,” Rad explained.

Carly Mallenbaum of USA Today writes that the dating app will continue to evolve the update, because according to Rad, “gender is a complex conversation – it’s an ongoing dialogue.”

Ten arrested in Pakistan for flogging transgender woman

On Monday, the Pakistan police arrested ten alleged members of a criminal gang accused of flogging a transgender woman and posting a video of the same on social media, the Indian Express reports.

According to officials, the arrest was made in the eastern city of Sialkot after the video was shared on social media. Police chief Abid Khan said five of those arrested had been charged with torture and extortion, while the other five were under investigation.


Transgender people in Pakistan are considered social outcasts. Credit: YouTube

According to Indian Express, TransAction, a local transgender rights group, posted a video interview with another transgender woman who said she was present when the gang members barged into a house where several transgender women were living and tortured one of them for several hours and shaved the heads of others.

Transgender people in Pakistan are social outcasts who are often forced into begging, dancing and prostitution to earn money, according to an Asian Age report. Fearing attacks, most either change their names or use only one name.

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