Being the target of “jokes”, “jokes”, pejorative and offensive phrases, in addition to physical aggression and many other forms of social expulsion. Unfortunately these are some of the situations that cross the lives of trans people every day in Brazil. Just to give you an idea, almost the entire trans population (94.8%) claims to have suffered some type of violence motivated by discrimination due to their gender identity, according to the study Murdering of Brazilian Transvestites and Transsexuals, carried out by Antra, in 2020.
Facing these situations every day is very exhausting, hurts and creates a feeling of not belonging and takes our mental health exhausted! So much so that studies on the health of transgender people, from The Lancet magazine, revealed, in 2018, that approximately 60% of the transgender population suffers from depression.
And all this has an impact on suicide rates within the trans and transvestite community, since self-extermination is a multifactorial behavior, that is, it is not just an individual or psychic phenomenon. The different forms of social exclusion can also be a trigger. According to Antra in 2020, 23 cases of suicide were cataloged, with seven (30%) cases of trans/transmale men and 16 (70%) transvestites/trans women.
A survey carried out in 2015 by the Center for Human Rights and LGBT Citizenship and the Department of Anthropology and Archeology at UFMG heard 28 trans men and found that 24 of them, equivalent to 85.7%, had already considered or attempted suicide.
Furthermore, a study by the National Center for Transgender Equality reveals that 40% of trans people have attempted self-extermination. Research from the University of California, Los Angeles, points to the fact that this community thinks about suicide 14 times more than the general population.
I’ve said this in other articles, but it’s always important to reinforce: your lack of empathy, your “little jokes”, transphobic nicknames and your disdain are never innocent attitudes! These actions directly impact the mental health of the trans and transvestite community.
I have the feeling that all the time we need to prove our worth, we need to prove that we exist, that we deserve respect, that we deserve to live.
For many people, we, the trans and transvestite community, cannot even dream of having a family or having a decent job. as if our lives were an open gate, where psychological and physical violence are routine and natural. As if our lives were one big mockery.
And, to make matters worse, unfortunately some people who are LGB cis (lesbian, gay and bisexual cisgender), also end up reproducing transphobic speeches and attitudes. I felt it on my skin several times. I know I can’t and won’t generalize, but sometimes even within the LGBTQIA community, trans people don’t have peace. And this lack of acceptance only harms our mental health even more.
I didn’t know him personally and I didn’t even exchange ideas with Paulo Vaz on social media, but I followed the incredible work he did! The lives of Paulo, Demtrio Campos and so many other trans people and transvestites who are gone are immeasurable losses! These people have a history, name, surname, family, friends, they had dreams, desires and plans. Our lives are not cold numbers, our lives are not entertainment, we are not exotic beings. We are human beings, and it is very tiring and painful to have to “remind” society of this daily.
Yesterday was the International Day of Trans Visibility, and in light of everything I’ve presented here, it’s clear that we still have a long way to go. I wish that Paulo Vaz’s family and friends are comforted and that he rests in peace.