On Monday, July 10th, a trans woman by the name of Anna Ivankova was found brutally murdered in her apartment in Agios Panteleimon, Athens. The intersections of Anna’s identity – trans gender and refugee – made her vulnerable to discrimination. A performer in clubs such as Koukles and active figure in the Athens LGBT+ scene, she came to Greece from Cuba for a better quality of life. Tragically, this life has been cut short. To make matters worse, some media outlets even went as far as to misgender Anna. This is deeply disrespectful to her memory. It’s important to remember Anna as she was: a woman.
Trans Women: A Group Susceptible to Violence
Violence against trans women is all too common. Transgender people are over 4 times as likely to experience violence than their cisgender counterparts (Flores et al., 2021). Sabrina Houston and Cristina Blackstar are two more examples of migrant trans women with similar stories to Anna. The Trans Murder Monitoring report by TGEU gives statistics on trans murders each year. In 2022, 327 trans people were reported murdered with 65% being part of a racialised group and 95% being trans women or femmes. A high number of victims were also sex workers. This shows how having intersections of marginalised identities can lead to higher rates of victimization. The data from the TMM also does not give the full picture. Most of the data is from countries that have LGBT+ organisations who are willing to monitor the situation. Consequently, in countries without these organisations, violence oftentimes goes completely unreported.
A major reaction from the LGBT+ community in Greece was sparked with demonstrations taking place across the country. We at Thessaloniki Pride felt the need to remember Anna and protest this violence also. This is why, on July 12th, a demonstration was held in the city centre. Starting at Kamara, we marched to the main government building while chanting various slogans in a show of solidarity with the trans community. Lastly, at the government house, we observed a minute of silence in remembrance of Anna.
The Rise of Far-Right Ideology
While the motivations for Anna’s murder are still unknown, the political climate across Europe is becoming more hostile towards marginalized people. With far-right beliefs gaining traction in countries such as Italy, France, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Finland and Greece, it is no wonder that hateful ideology is manifesting in real world consequences for those that are most at risk. To this day, trans people are among some of the most vulnerable in our community. This is why Trans Day of Remembrance takes place annually on November 20th – to pay respects to all the trans people lost via senseless violence and hatred. While it is easy to become complacent and think that hateful ideologies are a thing of the past, recent trends in Europe and beyond show that it is still a very real threat.
Anna’s death has been a devastating reminder of the reality we find ourselves in. So long as this is allowed to continue, the LGBT+ community across Greece will raise awareness about these issues. We can only hope that Anna’s case is thoroughly investigated and justice is rightfully served.