TLDEF Statement On Verdict In Lateisha Green Court Trial

New York, NY, July 17, 2009 — The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) today hailed the verdict in the court trial of Lateisha Green, a 22-year-old African American transgender women who was shot and killed on November 14, 2008 in Syracuse, NY. A 12-member jury found 20-year-old Dwight DeLee guilty of manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.

“Today, justice has been delivered for Lateisha Green with DeLee’s conviction for committing a hateful act of violence,” said TLDEF Executive Director and attorney Michael Silverman. “The jury’s verdict provides Teish’s family with the closure that they deserve and need, and sends a clear message that hate violence targeted at transgender people will not be tolerated.”

Today’s verdict is the first hate crime conviction for the slaying of a transgender person in New York State. It is only the second such conviction in the United States.

TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman has been working with the family since Lateisha’s death in November. Silverman was on the ground in Syracuse, NY throughout this week’s court trial working closely with the family. TLDEF collaborated with its sister organizations including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Empire State Pride Agenda and the Rainbow Alliance of Central New York.

“Despite this legal victory, transgender New Yorkers still face a serious risk of violence and discrimination,” added Silverman. “New York State law does not include gender identity or expression in its hate crime law and that sends a dangerous message that it is acceptable to leave part of our community vulnerable to hateful acts of violence simply because of who they are. We call upon the New York State Senate and the United States Senate to pass transgender-inclusive legislation that will protect everyone regardless of gender identity and gender expression.”

TLDEF will also be attending DeLee’s sentencing on August 18th at the Onondaga County Courthouse in Syracuse, NY.

Following the verdict, Lateisha Green’s family released this statement:

“Teish, a beautiful girl. A wonderful daughter. A brave soul. Teish was all of these things despite the adversity that regularly tried to weigh her down and overshadow her love of life. She was taken away from us too soon. All it took was one bullet.

“A bullet from a rifle that pierced her lungs and heart. And it took this one mere bullet to end Teish’s life because she happened to be a transgender woman. We have spent months waiting for this day to come.

“8 long months that have kept our family captive to our fears, sadness and anger. Afraid to leave our homes, sad to have lost Teish and angry that we couldn’t prevent this from happening to our little girl. But today, the jury delivered a verdict that will end most of the horrors experienced by our family and friends.

“The jury convicted Dwight DeLee of killing Teish in cold blood. They found him guilty of targeting Teish simply because of her difference. And the jury has made it clear that any loss of life in our city and county because of anti-gay and anti-transgender bias is unacceptable and wrong. Justice has been done.

“But we will never get to see Teish ever again. She will forever live in our hearts and minds. And it is our duty to share her story so that Teish’s memory will be kept alive. We do this so this series of painful events will never happen again to any other person because they are different.

“Our family and friends will continue to talk about Teish so others may know the love and support that every child deserves regardless of their differences. We want to thank everyone who stood behind us and gave our family strength during such difficult times. The overwhelming amount of support has meant so much to us. We want to close by saying life is precious. Teish knew that and that’s why she would tell everyone here to be brave. To be authentic and true to yourself. And Teish would give a beautiful and bright smile to everyone here. Thank you.”

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Lateisha Green’s Killer Dwight DeLee Convicted of Manslaughter as a Hate Crime

From Feministe

Posted by: Cara in Crime, GLBTQ, Law, Trans

justice for teishThere is a verdict in the trial of Dwight DeLee for the death of Lateisha Green.  Green was a trans woman who died from gunshot wounds in November; DeLee was originally charged with murder in the second degree as a hate crime.

Just minutes ago, the verdict came back and was announced on Twitter (the AP also has a blurb).  A jury convicted Dwight DeLee of manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime.

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund provided this description of the various potential charges in a blog post from yesterday:

Continue reading on Feministe

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/07/17/lateisha-greens-killer-dwight-delee-convicted-of-manslaughter-as-a-hate-crime/

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Lubing Up the Social War: Bash Back! Being Sued by the Alliance Defense Fund

From Infoshop:

http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20090716161617925

Thursday, July 16 2009 @ 04:22 PM CDT

Contributed by: Anonymous


In the fall of 2008, the Lansing, Michigan chapter of national queer and trans anarchist group Bash Back! descended upon anti-queer mega church Mount Hope in two strategically placed groups of disruptionists. The first of these groups diverted the attention of security, pink and black blocked up and waving sings which read such things as “Dykes of the Damned” and “Satanic Trannys 666″. Inside, others waited patiently in their best Sunday drag until at once they rose, interrupting the service with cries of “Jesus was a homo!”, a banner drop from the balcony that said “It’s Okay to Be Gay! Bash Back!”, queer kiss ins, over a thousand strewn fliers with queer positive content aimed to console potentially queer youth of the church, and pulled fire alarms. Afterwards, a communique was written proclaiming “So long as bigots kill us in the streets this pack of wolves will continue to BASH BACK!”

Lubing Up the Social War: Bash Back! Being Sued by the Alliance Defense Fund, the Time to Fundraise is Now!

by an alleyway tranarchist…

(This was originally written for the queer issue of Maximum Rock N Roll and is intended for an audience that hasn’t heard of BB! before…)

In the fall of 2008, the Lansing, Michigan chapter of national queer and trans anarchist group Bash Back! descended upon anti-queer mega church Mount Hope in two strategically placed groups of disruptionists. The first of these groups diverted the attention of security, pink and black blocked up and waving sings which read such things as “Dykes of the Damned” and “Satanic Trannys 666″. Inside, others waited patiently in their best Sunday drag until at once they rose, interrupting the service with cries of “Jesus was a homo!”, a banner drop from the balcony that said “It’s Okay to Be Gay! Bash Back!”, queer kiss ins, over a thousand strewn fliers with queer positive content aimed to console potentially queer youth of the church, and pulled fire alarms. Afterwards, a communique was written proclaiming “So long as bigots kill us in the streets this pack of wolves will continue to BASH BACK!”

Cross country chapters and cells of Bash Back! have since emerged at a rapid and steady pace. Several churches have been attacked, spray painted and glued shut, transphobes have been beat down, the officer responsible for the brutal beating of trans womyn Duanna Johnson who was shot and killed in the process of suing the Memphis Police Department has been sent caskets and death threats, corporate pride events have been stormed, a queer and trans squat has been opened in response to the disproportionate rate of queer and trans homelessness, dance parties have spilled out of convergences transforming the trains of Chicago into queer fucking, crowd surfing and graffiti writing modes of public transportation, which then spilled into the streets along with a couple trashcans and newsstands leading to four arrests and several unarrests. And to top it off they state that they “know you call us terrorists because our very existence terrorizes you. This makes us proud but you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Yet as the queerest hours of the night are lit by the fuchsia flames of insurrection and liberation, and as the candle lit vigils of the soon to be past erupt into wild infernos which reach urgently into the sky, we must not forget that there are also sirens wailing in the not so distant background.

Bash Back! has received the attention of endless right wing wingnuts, the Ku Klux Klan, disapproving assimilationist gays, the FBI, Bill O Reily and the Alliance Defense Fund, who are a right wing rights group that is currently in the process of suing over 20 subpeonaed, alleged Bash Back! members in connection to the action at Mount Hope Church. Bash Back!’s response? “Bash Back! and radical transfolk/queers cannot and will not be intimidated. Some of us face life and death on a daily basis. This lawsuit ain’t shit.”

Even so, with resistance comes repression. And while there is such an overwhelming, immediate need to bring the entire atrocity known as the prison industrial complex to it’s heartless fucking knees, their is also an urgency in keeping gender variant populations free and out of the transphobic, gender binary segregated cages of the state. So let’s get fucking organized! Solidarity means attack. It also means fundraise! Legal expenses are unreal, but networks of support and creativity can warm hearts and give queers in kourt a fighting chance. Organize a benefit show! Play one! Distro! Have a bake sale! A secret cafe! Donate online by searching Bash Back Legal Defense Fund at fundable.com.

Let us join the wolf pack, have each other’s backs. Sing our howling warcries to the moon, and continue to make clear that queer and trans oppression is part of a system of oppression, and that no part of that system will be spared the fierceness of our fury!

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Compromises

My calling upon my WBT sisters and MBT brothers to support the building of social support systems for pre-op TS and TG people doesn’t mean I am surrendering to the “We are all part of the transgender umbrella” paradigm of the late 1990s and early 21st century.

I still think people with transsexualism are inherently different from people with transgenderism.  Just as I believe that lesbians are different on many many levels from gay men and that saying both are homosexual (one element of their being) therefore gay should be the umbrella term lead to a nearly 10 year conflict in the 1970s that resulted in a compromise that led to what had been the “Gay Community” now being called the “Gay and Lesbian Community”, a compromise that would ease the working together of TS and TG people would be the acknowledging of our differences.

I have already started to notice greater proper usage of the label transsexual to people who identify as TS and not TG.  I also occasionally see LGBT/T or GLBTT.  It’s a start.

When I started this blog the first thing that happened is that a few people made snide remarks about Andrea James and Lynn Conway.  They wanted me to embrace things like “HBS” and “Classic Transsexual”.  I probably disappointed a number of folks when I embraced neither.

I actually like the term “Transsexual” for the name of what I was born.  Not so much as an identity but it gives clarity to the oppression I endured as a transkid and it doesn’t hide the reality of my life journey behind a bunch of jargon aimed at obscuring.

As for “classic transsexual”  I recognize it for what it is, a post-moderning term for heterosexual transsexual.  as such I tend to see it as both homophobic and as a slam against sisters who come out later in life.  It goes against my theories that the root cause of transsexualism is the same for almost all transsexuals and the truth can be found in the narrative.  Reading biography after biography leads me to this conclusion that actual people with TS knew as early as their first conscious memories.

The rest is a matter of existential circumstance.  I trust the veracity of our narratives more than the theories of the misogynistic psych establishment.

As for the homophobia.  I claimed bisexuality even before I came out.  I never hid being bisexual during the process yet it seemed like all my heterosexual sisters in the program I went through were surprised I was a lesbian when I came out after SRS.  Then many wanted me to provide them with their lesbian experience and I became a 1970s version of  The L-Word‘s Shane.  But some asked the snotty question, “Does this mean you are going back to being a guy?”

So even within WBT there is a lot of fighting over who is transsexual in the correct way.

As a lesbian WBT I pretty much have to be down with feminism, as well as those issues special to the LGBT/TQ communities anyhow because straights have this bad history of throwing all of us under the bus

In the late 1970s Anitia Bryant and the rabid right wing religious fanatics caused gay and lesbian people to shake hands and agree on respecting both and calling the result the “Gay and Lesbian Community” or communities if you are a grammar cop. Crisis brought unity, the AIDS crisis cemented that bond.

A similar compromise would be Transsexual and Transgender Communities.  LGBT/T  or TS/TG and putting those into usage.

This probably isn’t going to satisfy the straight CDs nor will it satisfy the straight WBTs but they locate their lives outside of the alphabet city of the non-straight minorities.  We are the ones who should work on working it out.

We have already worked together on an inclusive ENDA and Hate Crimes Bills.

I also realize there are ideologues on the “Transgender as Umbrella” side of this equasion who will be totally unwilling to compromise on this either but the continuing petty fighting among the various oppressed groups only divides us and means we accomplish nothing.

Senate votes big expansion of federal hate crimes

Google News

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hmxKiiSIsM-k7nX2yECb7kGw1qhwD99FUN7G0

By JIM ABRAMS (AP) – 12 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved the most sweeping expansion of federal hate crimes law since Congress responded four decades ago to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The legislation, backed by President Barack Obama, would extend federal protections granted under the 1968 hate crimes law to cover those physically attacked because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

“This bill simply recognizes that there is a difference between assaulting someone to steal his money, or doing so because he is gay, or disabled, or Latino or Muslim,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

Voice vote passage came immediately after supporters cleared a 60-vote procedural hurdle imposed by Republicans trying to block consideration of the legislation. That vote was 63-28.

The hate crimes bill was offered as an amendment to a must-pass defense spending bill that the Senate is expected to finish some time next week. Several Republican amendments to the hate crimes legislation still could be considered on Monday, but Thursday’s vote determined that it will be part of the defense bill when it passes.

The 1968 hate crimes act covers violence related to a person’s race, color, religion or national origin. Federal involvement is confined to a narrow range of circumstances, such as when the victim is using a public facility or attending a public school, serving on a jury or participating in a government program.

The proposed legislation, in addition to expanding the categories covered, ends the “federally protected activities” requirement.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., now being treated for cancer and unable to be on hand for the debate, first proposed the bill in 1997. While coming close on several occasions, he has never been able to overcome opposition from those who contend it infringes on states’ rights and First Amendment rights to free speech. Former President George W. Bush said he would veto the bill if it reached his desk.

This time, however, pro-bill Democrats control both houses of Congress and Obama is a strong supporter. Attorney General Eric Holder has urged Congress to give his department authority to prosecute cases of violence based on sexual orientation, gender or disability.

The measure still has a way to go. Obama has told Congress he will veto the defense bill if it includes more money for an F-22 fighter program he is trying to terminate. The House in April passed a similar hate crimes bill, but did it as independent legislation not tied to a larger bill.

The Senate bill, also sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., only authorizes federal prosecutions of hate crimes when the state or local authorities are unwilling or unable to do so. It provides $5 million in grants to state and local law enforcement officials who have trouble meeting the costs of investigating and prosecuting these crimes.

Reid, D-Nev., recalled that Laramie, Wyo., was overwhelmed by the costs of pursuing the case against Matthew Shepard, the gay college student killed in 1998 whose name is attached to the bill. “When this bill becomes law, that will never happen again in Laramie, Wyo., or anyplace else in the country.”

Supporters also emphasized that prosecutions under the bill can occur only when bodily injury is involved, and no minister or protester could be targeted for expressing opposition to homosexuality, even if their statements are followed by another person committing a violent action.

To emphasize the point, the Senate passed provisions restating that the bill does not prohibit constitutionally protected speech and that free speech is guaranteed unless it is intended to plan or prepare for an act of violence.

The Traditional Values Coalition had expressed concern in a letter to senators that a pastor could be prosecuted for “conspiracy to commit a hate crime” if a sermon resulted in a person acting aggressively against someone based on sexual orientation.

Another opponent, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said it was “patently offensive” that violence against one class of victims would be considered worse than violence against others. “We cannot have a colorblind society if we continue to write color-conscious laws,” he said. “It violates all the principles of equal justice under the law.”

Some 45 states have hate crimes statutes on their books, and about half the states have laws covering crimes based on sexual orientation.

The FBI receives reports of nearly 8,000 hate crimes every year. Of those, about 15 percent are linked to sexual orientation, which ranks third after those involving race and religion.

The Senate hate crimes bill is S. 909.

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