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"We already been purged": violence against black transgender women in Allegheny County

Riley, Noah (2015) "We already been purged": violence against black transgender women in Allegheny County. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Transgender people across the nation are unnecessarily burdened by harassment and violence, ranging from verbal harassment, physical and sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and systemic violence. Some of the most brutally and frequently victimized within the population are transgender women, particularly black transgender women, and are at great risk for downstream health outcomes.
Both the Institute of Medicine and Healthy People 2020 have prioritized improving health equity for transgender people and acknowledge the influence of violence on health outcomes. Given this public health significance, this cultural shift in Public Health has given researchers the opportunity to build a foundation of evidence about violence against transgender people.
A localized study was proposed to investigate the context in which black transgender women experience violence, related health outcomes, protective factors, and resources utilized as a result of violence. Analysis of focus group data conducted in Allegheny County demonstrated locally: common context and motivations for violence, the impact of violence on personal mental health, as well as protective measures used to prevent violence. Within both groups, a complex definition of violence evolved which include micro-aggressions like mis-naming and mis-gendering, to verbal, physical, and sexual assault. Violent experiences were common in many social spheres such as: on the streets, on public transit, with family, in sex work, by law enforcement, in jail or prison, with intimate partners, and within sexual and gender minority communities. Outing via mis-gendering and mis-naming were frequent pre-cursors to physical violence as well as a component of physical violence itself. Stigma against transgender women was underlying many experiences of violence, and occasionally intertwined with racism.
Women in the groups relied on a number of individual level factors to protect themselves from violence like: hypervigilance, avoidance, educating, ignoring, self-defense, and retaliation. Some of these tactics such as avoidance and ignoring resulted in social isolation and loneliness and may also contribute to downstream mental health issues discussed like: depression, anxiety, and suicidality. This study concluded that structural level changes to reduce stigma locally and broadly are necessary to ameliorate the impact of violence against black transgender women.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHerrick, Amyalh75@pitt.eduALH75
Committee MemberHawk, Marymeh96@pitt.eduMEH96
Committee MemberFriedman, Mackey R.mrf9@pitt.eduMRF9
Date: 13 July 2015
Date Type: Submission
Defense Date: 13 June 2015
Approval Date: 28 September 2015
Submission Date: 14 July 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 99
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Black Transgender Women; Violence; Allegheny County
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2015 17:31
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2019 23:52


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