Tips to Keep the Trans Women in Your Life Safe

Another transgender woman was found dead in Detroit. The 35-year-old victim died from a gunshot wound, and police are investigating.

It’s so easy to lose heart right here—because the news is the same as yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. In any city, any town, any country. Some of the times, these murders are hate crimes against transgender women, hate crimes against women, hate crimes against sex workers, hate crimes against black or Latina or indigenous women. Other times, they’re just the brand of generic hate that results in murder—gang warfare, drugs, assault, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No matter what the cause, it’s heartbreaking. I don’t like focusing on the macabre news and hardcore politics. I want to talk about good news, transgender stars and senators and mountain climbers and dancers.

But sometimes it’s a good idea to take a moment of silence for another fallen transgender woman, and think about staying safe in our circles. We feel helpless to do anything about the violence, but let’s consider ways we can all help trans women be safer.

Provide transgender people with good jobs.

If you’re a business owner or in human resources, hiring trans people can help more than you know. Encourage your workplace to support transgender people by giving them jobs.

Transgender women are discriminated against in the workplace and have a tough time getting a job. This is a major factor in the depression that contributes towards risky behavior like drug use, and certainly towards trans women in the sex industry, where they are at great risk from men who have difficulty accepting their own attractions.

Lots of trans women choose sex work, but let’s help them with options to make sure all TS girls working in the biz are doing so by choice.

Get help for your trans friends who are addicted to drugs or involved in dangerous circles.

Drug addiction is widespread in all populations, and drug use itself has plenty of dangers and risks, but other demographics—cis male athletes, executive alcoholics—aren’t necessarily in danger from the people they are around because of their addiction.

Trans women sometimes end up in abusive relationships or paying off drug loans to sketchy dealers. If they are walking the streets looking for their needed high, they are vulnerable at late hours to gangs and crime.

Be supportive when she asks to date in public until you are better acquainted.

Encourage your t-girl to meet you in a busy restaurant, and get her home in a licensed taxi. When men are willing to consider a woman’s safety, she understands she doesn’t have to date those who aren’t.

Gift her self-defense lessons for Christmas or a birthday or anytime.

If your sister, cousin, bestie, or lover is a transgender woman—or a cis woman for that matter—why not contribute by giving her the gift of a self-defense course?

You don’t have to be a ninja or black belt to learn tips that can really help to get away from danger fast. Even a few basic techniques can save her life.

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