Archiving the Eighty-Four Percent
“hi Raven staying on the topic I just wanted to say I believe transgender people were getting murdered before but we didn’t have no way to put it all together back then in my day we had to pick up the telephone and call each other and say girl did you know so-and-so passed away I’m very overwhelmed how many of our sisters are pulling up out of here and it’s very scary to me it’s almost in a way and this is my own personal opinion like they’re trying to make everybody go back into the closet and not be there so I think that we all need to band together and fight back and pray and quit bringing me home that are really not in your corner it’s a lot of Two-face of men out there you better look at both phases before you bring them home thank you so much for everything you are doing I hope you keep up the good work without you we wouldn’t have all the latest news that you’re giving out and I truly appreciate being a sister I hope your 2016 is everything you want”.
- Comment from Anne Moore on Raven Ovah's video Transgenders did you know so many Transgenders was being murdered before the internet, 2017
Youtuber Raven Ovah provides a platform in which she openly addresses issues facing the transgender community, whether it’s through weekly news updates, updates when someone is killed or general vlogs on her experience. Raven has been posting on the site for just over nine years, she has 8,266 subscribers and 3,367,695 views collectively. Her videos are under her control, they will be on Youtube, they will be on the internet for however long she deems necessary. Should she never delete them, these videos will be accessible for the rest of time, or at least indefinitely.
The idea of uploading an experience or feeling, whether it is through video sharing sites, blogs or social media seems to suggest its own archival process. I became interested in this method with regards the duality of 2015: the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the US - the record high of violence against transgender women worldwide. I recall June 2015 being a sea of slightly opaque pride flags over the faces of my Facebook ‘friends’ but there was no mention of any other experience, the experiences which affected those under the same umbrella (term).
Of course, what we view on social media is dependent of varying factors: our ‘friends’, search habits and set language and location to name a few. In many cases, unless articles are translated to our native tongue, we broaden our ‘friends’ group or actively search, we are made unaware of a particular narrative.
Now this should be the part where I collate the archive, gather the articles and images relating to each and every woman killed that year in an act of protest, reflecting the archives purpose to make “historical information, often lost or displaced, physically present”. But trans data is not lost nor displaced, it often does not exist. In fact, of the 271 recorded transgender deaths in 2015, only 16% of information exists online, rendering the stories of 228 of these individuals hidden.
The search engine acts as the library’s archive platform, searching articles by keywords, images by size and colour.
Died 24 March 2015
I place the name into Google: no result. I continued to enter the phrase ‘Patricia Ferraz Piracicaba Brazil’: no result. I added ‘Transgender’ at the end for good measure: no result.
Died 20 June 2015
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Beaten to death by policemen
Phrase searched: Laura Vermont
News Articles: Yes
Social Media Coverage: Yes
Died 15 February 2015
Phrase Searched: Estrada Sotelo Morales Mexico Transgenero
News Articles: No
Social Media Coverage: No