anonymous asked:

i know you meant well when you said 30 isnt ancient, but im nb so my life expectancy is actually 30 :(

Hey anon, I’m so sorry that that’s a fear you’ve had to live with. I know that trans people are at greater risk of violence and suicide, and I’ve heard people say many times that the life expectancy of trans people (or trans women, or trans women of color, depending on who you ask) is anywhere from 23 to 35. Your ask troubled me, so I’ve dug deep looking for solid evidence of any of these, and I don’t believe that these statistics are true.

A trans woman, Helen, looked into the “23 years” claim and traced it back to someone’s notes on two workshops at a 2007 conference, which stated that trans people’s life expectancy is “believed to be around 23” (emphasis mine) but cites no actual source. This claim has been presented as fact in many news articles since then, but as far as I can tell, no one seems to know where this figure came from.

Another claim is often sourced to an Argentine psychologist quoted in this NPR article

Psychologist Graciela Balestra, who works closely with the transgender community, says it’s an especially vulnerable population.

“Transgender people have an average life expectancy of about 30 to 32 years,” Balestra says. “They don’t live any longer; I think that statistic alone says so much.”

But again, the article gives no source for this figure

I found an article claiming that a 2014 report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) “concludes the average life expectancy of trans people in the Western Hemisphere is between 30-35 years.” However, when I tracked down the report, An Overview of Violence Against LGBTI Persons (pdf), its only reference to this is (emphasis mine): “[T]he IACHR has received information that the life expectancy of trans women in the Americas is between 30 and 35 years of age.” Again, this is no source.

Someone said on my post that these statistics may have come from the NCTE/NGLTF report Injustice at Every Turn (pdf), but I can’t find any reference to any such claim in the report.

Thinking about these claims, they seem unlikely for some basic reasons. Consider that we simply don’t have a long enough span of data on trans people, and that what data we do have is extremely limited because we can’t always know who is trans and who isn’t. Consider also that, although obviously the murder rates for trans people are extremely high, the number of deaths of 20-something trans people would have to be ENORMOUS to offset the existence of older trans people and bring the average down to 30. Especially since, unlike with racial groups for example, the data on trans people would likely include almost no childhood deaths, simply because it would be much more difficult (and in many cases impossible) to identify these children as trans. And since we know that trans women of color are extremely disproportionately affected by violence, statistics that include white people and/or trans men would be especially unlikely to be so low.

And as to your specific situation anon, again given that trans women of color are most at risk, I don’t think we have reason to believe that being non-binary specifically puts a person at anywhere near this level of increased risk of dying young.

I don’t say any of this to question anyone’s experiences or to deny the state of emergency that trans women face with regard to violence. That is very real. But I think it can be harmful, even dangerous to trans people to spread claims like this around, especially without evidence. Expecting to die by 30 would take an extreme emotional toll on anyone, and trans people deserve better.

But don’t take my word for it: FORGE, a national transgender anti-violence organization that works with trans survivors of sexual assault, wrote the following in its 2016 publication “First Do No Harm: 8 Tips for Addressing Violence Against Transgender and Gender Non-Binary People” (pdf) (I have moved two footnotes into the main text and provided links to some endnote sources; italicized emphasis is theirs while bold is mine.): 

Promote Hope for the Future

It certainly is not the same as a murder, but publicizing a low “life expectancy” rate for transwomen of color is another way to steal away their future, a “crime” that has been committed repeatedly by trans, LGBQ, and mainstream press. Think about the people you know or have heard of who have been diagnosed with a fatal illness and given a short time to live: how many of them have enrolled in college, undertaken lengthy training for a new occupation, had a new child, or tried to establish a new non-profit? A few do, certainly, but many more focus on their bucket list, arrange for their good-byes, or simply give up entirely, essentially relinquishing whatever time they have left to depression and regrets. When we tell transwomen of color they cannot expect to live very long, we rob them of hope. We rob them of any motivation to invest in themselves, their relationships, and their communities. We rob them, in short, of their lives even while they are still living. (This statement in no way negates the need to systemically work to improve and increase the life expectancy of trans people through working to end transphobia, racism, poverty, pervasive violence, and health and healthcare inequities, and more.)

One trans woman of color was trying to come to grips with an estimated lifespan figure more than ten years shorter than the one that has been published most often. (We are not repeating any of the (incorrect) estimated lifetime figures that are circulating, to avoid even inadvertent reinforcement.) Faced with the report of yet another attack on another trans woman, she wrote:

These days, I look at the latest reports of stabbed, shot, beaten trans women, search myself for tears, and I cannot find a thing. I want to mourn and rage. I want to honor all of our sisters — the hundreds each year who are ripped, namelessly and without fanfare, from this life — who are taken so young before their time. But the grief and anger — even empathy — do not come. I don’t feel anything but numbness and fatigue, and somewhere far below that, fear.

The terrible irony of the life expectancy “fact” is that it is based on an impossibility. The only ways to determine a given population’s life expectancy are to: examine decades or more of death certificates or census data containing the information being studied, or follow a specific set of individuals for around 100 years and record every single death. There is not and never has been a census of transgender people. Our death certificates do not mark us as transgender. There has been no 100-year-long study of a representative group of trans people. So where are the estimated lifespan figures coming from?

FORGE tracked the most commonly-cited figure back to what was most likely the 2014 Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference, where a workshop presenter gave the figure and explained she had calculated it by averaging the age of death for all of those listed on the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) website. This means the figure is actually the average age of those trans people who were both murdered and came to the attention of someone who added them to the TDOR list. Interestingly, this average is very close to the average age of everyone who is murdered in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Justice statistics. [I’m not seeing an average age given in the cited source but you can see on page 5 of this Bureau of Justice Statistics report (pdf) that the average age of homicide victims in the U.S. was between 30 and 35 from 1980 to 2008.]

But not everyone is murdered.

Despite how many there may appear to be, only a tiny, tiny fraction of transpeople are killed by other people. Most of us, transwomen of color included, live average lifespans and die of the most common U.S. killers — heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and unintentional injuries (accidents).

Please don’t add to fear and hopelessness by spreading inaccurate and profoundly disempowering data.

Since I can’t respond to everyone directly, I’m @ing some people who’ve brought this up on my post and may be interested: (urls removed after posting for their privacy). I appreciate your thoughtfulness in bringing this to my attention. If you or anyone else has a source on any of these figures that can provide specific methodology, I’d be very grateful to see that.

In closing, here are some resources that provide a more hopeful view of trans aging. They are well known but I hope they will be helpful to someone.


Big progress on Balla. Now he’s finally in the beginning stages of inhabiting of some kind of environment. I’m still not sure what to put in the rest of the un-attended-to areas, but the columns suggest some sort of fancy building. Considering that Balla is an important dude, maybe he’s on the steps of a palace?


International Cooking Series
Beautiful Quisqueya: Ayiti & La República Dominicana - Part 2

1. Diri ak djon djon 🇭🇹

2. Tres Leche 🇩🇴

3. Griot 🇭🇹

4. Flan de auyama 🇩🇴

5. Pâté 🇭🇹

6. Asopao de pollo 🇩🇴

7. Macaroni au gratin 🇭🇹

8. Pica Pollo 🇩🇴    

9. Pikliz 🇭🇹

10. Plátanos al caldero 🇩🇴

The first Italian article about #LimitlessAfricans was just published, talking about the project and the Kickstarter campaign. Thank you The Griot! There are 11 days left in the Kickstarter campaign and we still have a ways to go to hit the goal.

Please share and contribute to the Kickstarter to bring Limit (less) to Europe. I need your help to get there and make this possible! Thank you! 👐🏾❤Link below! ❤👐🏾


First time playing with the Urban Decay Jean-Michel Basquiat collection! To be honest, feel like the shadows had faded a bit by the time I took these pics, so I’m still deciding how I feel about the formula, but either way I love these palettes. They’re super gorgeous and I’m so glad to have them in my collection!

On my eyes I’m wearing Levitation and Not For Sale from the Gold Griot palette, Exu and Les from the Tenant palette, and Whiskey from the Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette because neither of the Basquiat palettes had a matte brown. On my waterline I’m wearing the Basquiat 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Anatomy (love this color!), my liner is Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper, and my mascara is Too Faced Better Than Sex.

On my face I have Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation mixed with Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation, Rimmel Stay Matte Powder, Jane Iredale blush in Copper Wind, and the Elf Contour Palette. Brows are TheBalm Brow Pow and Benefit Gimme Brow.


@fremione sorry for the shitty quality but here is what I can do before class - tenant has way less fallout/way smoother application, packaging is gorgeous, a ton of fallout on the sparkly shades in gold griot


Second look using the Jean-Michel Basquiat collection! Wore this a few days ago.

I’m wearing Levitation (Urban Decay x Jean-Michel Basquiat Gold Griot palette), Tease (UD Naked2 palette), Makeup Geek Faux Fur and Vintage, and Neo (UD x Basquiat Tenant palette… sorry to say this shade performed terribly, definitely the worst purple I’ve ever used. Despite it being patchy and powdery and awful to blend, it also still managed to stain my eyelids. I’m actually surprised it photographed as well as it did). I highlighted my inner corners first with Bootycall (UD Naked2), then I applied Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter liner in Distortion on top. My liner is Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper and my mascara is Too Faced Better Than Sex. 

On my face I’m wearing TheBalm Instain Blush in Argyle, L'Oreal Tru Match Lumi Powder highlighter in Rose, and the Elf Contour palette. My lipstick is Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Noble.

I liked how this look came out in the end, but ultimately the purple shade (Neo) was so bad that it would definitely deter me from using it again in the future. I’d rather just create the same look using the purple row in the Tarte Tartelette palette, even though those shades are slightly less vibrant. Very disappointed in Urban Decay on this one (haven’t used the rest of the shades so I can’t speak to the whole palette). I feel they could have made a really decent purple and for such an expensive palette, and one that’s supposed to honor an artist, there shouldn’t be duds like that. There’s a mini review for y’all, but I hope you like the look anyway!

Watch on

“Haiti, Haitian, Griot, Creole, Jeremie all mention on a show on Disney?With the vast amount of talented Haitian producers and actors in Hollywood it was just a matter of time before the door was open to us, and thanks to Haitian-Jamaican writer and director Daheli Hall who created the new Disney show “The Exchange,” families and classrooms from all over the world can sit with their children and learn more about Haiti’s rich history and culture.What makes the news of this new show even better is the fact that anyone can watch it from anywhere. 

The Exchange Short:

“When their study abroad program is canceled, a teen girl suggests her classmates spend a week at each other’s houses.” While Haitian student Bridgette spent a week at her classmate Jeremy’s, Jeremy spent a week at Bridgette’s learning about Haiti, the languages, the food, the culture and even some riddles.”