Note from the Board: You may have noticed that we as an organization have recently been less visible in social media and media coverage than we have been in previous months and years. This is due to targeted harassment and attacks both professional and personal, and health and safety concerns of our team, which is already very small; we can count our number of staff members on one hand. We are still here, and we are continuing our mission.
Happy Trans Day of Visibility, although it feels strange to call it happy when the Trans community is currently facing an incredible amount of hatred and legislative attacks on our existence. The Trans Doe Task Force is an organization whose entire board is Trans. We believe that our visibility is important, and vital to our community and our work, especially as it is increasingly unsafe for others to be out and visible. We have chosen to focus our post today on issues surrounding missing Trans kids, who are already the most vulnerable population that we serve, and are even more persecuted at this time.
Right now, there are bills criminalizing Trans life in multiple ways that affect our work. For example, in Florida, SB254 seeks to remove Trans children from their supportive parents, and stop any gender affirming healthcare from being provided to Trans children who are currently in CPS custody, as well as interfering in custody agreements from other states if a non-supportive parent lives there, essentially giving that parent the ability to legally kidnap their Trans child and force them to de-transition. Last year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family Protective Services to begin investigating parents with transgender teens, seeking to remove them from their families and put them into foster care. This is not in any way an exhaustive list. There have already been 434 anti Trans bills introduced by lawmakers this year alone, and nearly two dozen have been made into law. In contrast, 315 anti-Trans bills were introduced throughout the entirety of 2022. The escalation is staggering, and clearly extremely dangerous to our community, especially our youth.
This means that we, as an organization, cannot publish information regarding Trans kids who go missing without the chance of considerable harm to them and supportive family members. This means that missing persons organizations who continue practices which publicly out Trans children are directly increasing the amount of harm those already incredibly vulnerable children face. There are ways to fix the issues those organizations have, but to date, all our attempts to discuss the situation have been entirely ignored. Not being able to share information about missing Trans children reduces the chances that these children will be found safely.
Missing Trans people cases, even of adults, already face significant challenges. Trans people are more likely to be estranged from their families of origin, and chosen family is often not permitted to file missing persons reports for them or to receive information about their cases. Trans missing persons cases are less likely to get traditional media coverage. Trans missing persons cases shared on social media are regularly subjected to transphobic comments which are largely not moderated, and can include everything from slurs, to inappropriate discussions of their genitalia, to even harassment of the friends and family of the person who is missing. This often results in the comments sections being shut down, which reduces the missing persons case information’s visibility due to the algorithms of various social media sites. People are also less likely to share cases of missing Trans people to begin with, but even supportive people may avoid sharing posts in which the comments are filled with abuse, or media which includes deadnaming and misgendering. This reduces our ability to help missing Trans people be found safe. We continue to track these cases privately via our LAMMP database. If you are an investigator working to locate missing people, please contact us to receive access and support on your search.
Today, Trans children are so worried about being removed from their loving homes by the government, that recently they started posting their personal information on Tiktok with the tag “If I go Missing”. They are creating information sheets on themselves and giving them to trusted people in the event that they just seemingly disappear. Visibility is a double edged sword here, in that by making themselves visible, they are risking the chance that they will attract the eye of people who will harm them. Without being visible, if they go missing, it could be like they never even existed.
This is heartbreaking to us as Trans people, and as the parents of Trans children, which we also are. If any of our children are to go missing, many resources available to cis children are entirely unsafe for us to access. It doesn’t have to be like this, and it shouldn’t be.
We will continue to find and track Trans children who go missing, and may reach out to local community based organizations for help, but we will not publish their information unless we have strong reason to believe they are deceased because of the circumstances involved. As always, we will take care of us.
On this Trans day of Visibility, we reassert that we will not ever be erased. None of these legislative attacks will stop Trans people from existing. The hatred our community faces will not stop us from existing. Our work to fix and help the problems and failures of our existing missing and unidentified persons systems will continue. We will continue to identify LGBTQ+ people who are unidentified and ensure they are returned to the people who loved them in life. We will continue to help identify the murderers of LGBTQ+ people. We will continue to protect Trans kids.
We won’t be erased.
#wontbeerased #tdov #transdayofvisibility #protecttranskids #ifigomissing #missingpersons