Transgender Woman Brutally Beaten in Queens Bias Attack – TLDEF Demands Full Investigation Into Hate Crime

Note After getting burned on the last announcement of what I thought was a brutal hate crime I have been less  into posting these reports.  This one is reliably sourced and that is why I am posting it

We’re sad to bring you the news of another brutal attack on a transgender woman, this one coming during the height of LGBT Pride month.  On June 19, 2009, at approximately 2:30 am, Leslie Mora was walking home from a nightclub on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens when she was accosted by two men who brutally beat her with a belt.  They stopped only when a passing motorist threatened to call the police.  Throughout the attack, Leslie’s assailants called her a “faggot” in Spanish.  The attack left Leslie with multiple injuries, including bruises all over her body, and stitches in her scalp.  Police called to the scene found Leslie nearly naked and bleeding on the sidewalk.  They also recovered a belt buckle from the assailants that was covered in blood.

The Queens County District Attorney Must Investigate this Brutal Attack as a Hate Crime

We’ve demanded that the Queens County District Attorney investigate this brutal attack as a hate crime.  Leslie was beaten with a belt while her assailants called her a ‘faggot.’  While Leslie is a transgender woman, her attackers perceived her to be gay.  State law currently classifies it as a hate crime for an individual to target and attack a victim because of the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation.  Leslie’s assault is a hate crime because her attackers perceived her to be gay and targeted her for violence because of that perception.  This is as clear a case for prosecution as a hate crime as any we have seen.

Her assailants, Trinidad Tapia, 19, and Gilberto Ortiz, 32, fled the scene but were arrested by police soon after the attack.  Both were charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon, a felony, and released on their own recognizance.  The Queens County District Attorney has declined to investigate the attack as a hate crime.

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A Truly Queer History Tommi Avicolli Mecca draws together witnesses from an age of liberation

Gay City News
New York City
Friday, June 16, 2009

A Truly Queer History

Tommi Avicolli Mecca draws together witnesses from an age of liberation


Myth has it that the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village were the first open queer rebellion against discrimination. Not so. In 1965, the first queer sit-ins on record took place at a late-night Philadelphia coffee shop and lunch counter called Dewey´s, which was a popular hangout for young gays and lesbians, and particularly drag queens and others with gender-variant attire. The establishment had begun refusing service to this LGBT clientele.

As an April 25 protest rally took place outside Dewey´s, more than 150 patrons were turned away by management. But four teens resisted efforts to force them out and were arrested, later convicted on charges of disorderly conduct. In the ensuing weeks, Dewey´s patrons and others from Philadelphia´s gay community set up an informational picket line protesting the lunch counter´s treatment of gender-variant youth. On May 2, activists staged another sit-in, and the police were again called, but this time made no arrests. The restaurant backed down, and promised “an immediate cessation of all indiscriminate denials of service.”

In August 1966, there was a riot at Compton´s Cafeteria, a 24-hour San Francisco eatery popular with drag queens and other gender-benders (this was long before the word “transgendered” was in use), hustlers (many of them members of Vanguard, the first organization for queer youth on record, founded some months earlier), runaway teens, and cruising gays. The Compton´s management had begun calling police to roust this non-conformist clientele, and one night a drag queen precipitated the riot by throwing a cup of coffee into the face of a cop who was trying to drag her away. Plates, trays, cups, and silverware were soon hurtling through the air, police paddy wagons arrived, and street fighting broke out.. Some of the 60 or so rioting drag queens hit the cops with their heavy purses, a police car was vandalized, and a newspaper stand was burned down. The Compton´s Riot eventually led to the appointment of the first police liaison to the gay community, and the establishment of the first known transsexual support group in the US.

These are just two of the many nuggets of little-known or forgotten queer history to be found in “Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation,” the new anthology edited by Tommi Avicolli Mecca, himself a veteran of the earliest gay liberation struggles, and today an activist, gender-bending performance artist, and writer well-known to San Francisco queers.

By the time of the Stonewall riots in June 1969, rebellion and radicalism were in the air. The country had been riven in two by the mass agitation against the war in Vietnam. The multiracial civil rights movement was being replaced by the Black Power movement, the Black Panthers had been born four years earlier, and America´s cities had exploded in urban riots by the black underclass. Feminists had begun to articulate their own liberationist ideology and burn their bras. Stonewall and the militant gay liberation movement to which it gave birth arose out of this ´60s turbulence, and cannot be properly understood separated from this context.

Continue reading at:

http://www.gaycityn /2009/06/ 27/gay_city_ news/arts/ doc4a43d0fdbc87b 662881033. txt

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Canada – Sex reassignment surgery deserves full coverage across Canada…



June 29, 2009

Bill Siksay: Sex reassignment surgery deserves full coverage across Canada

By Bill Siksay

What are the limits of medicare coverage? Does prejudice against an identifiable minority affect decisions about who gets covered? Does “medically necessity” not apply to minority communities?

These questions are raised when members of the transsexual and transgender community are denied medical coverage for sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and related therapies, including hormone therapy, hair removal, and breast augmentation.

Transsexual and transgender folks have a different experience of gender than many Canadians. Some trans folks experience their gender opposite to their physical sexual characteristics, a feeling of being in the wrong body. To correct this, they look to SRS. Others experience their gender in ways that are different to the accepted binary theory of gender that says you are either male or female. These folks find their gender on a continuum between or beyond male and female. Some trans folks feel no need to change their physical sex, and may live out their lives as neither traditionally male or female.

Members of the trans community face discrimination as any conversation with them will definitively establish. Trans Canadians experience increased violence because of their gender identity and its expression. Job discrimination is far too common. Often trans folks are passed over when trying to rent an apartment. Obtaining appropriate identity documents can be a frustrating hurdle, exacerbated by misunderstanding. Many trans youth are thrown out of their family homes, ending up homeless and on the street. And getting appropriate health care is sometimes impossible.

We need explicit legal protection for trans Canadians. That means adding gender identity and expression to the list of grounds on which discrimination is prohibited in the Canadian Human Rights Act. It also means adding gender identity and expression to the hate crimes and sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada, so hate crimes against trans people can be considered by police, prosecutors, and judges.

Protections are in place allowing successful human-rights complaints to be made by trans folks using the “sex” and “disability” categories of existing law. Specifically adding gender identity and expression to the law would make it absolutely clear that such discrimination is wrong in a society that seeks equality and fairness. Changing the law will also raise awareness about the life experience and situation of trans Canadians.

Medical coverage varies across Canada. Some provinces fully cover SRS. Some provinces don’t. Some offer only partial coverage. Some provinces cover related therapies. Some don’t. This is unacceptable. The Canada Health Act was meant to ensure that individuals are not burdened with the cost of medically necessary procedures. It is also supposed to ensure medical treatment is accessible and comprehensive. Forcing individuals to pay out of their own pockets for medically necessary treatment is wrong. Canadians decided some time ago to share the expense of medical care so we all get the care we need and don’t go bankrupt obtaining it.

SRS is not a frill. It’s not cosmetic. It’s not elective. It’s a necessary procedure that some trans people pursue in consultation with their doctors. It’s necessary medical treatment which helps some trans people lead healthy, happy, productive lives.

The federal government does not make decisions about which specific services are covered by medicare. Those decisions are up to provincial governments. But the federal government does fund medicare and set the standards which govern it. Those standards must recognize the medical necessities of trans Canadians’ medical requirements that must be funded collectively through our tax dollars. Decisions must be based in fact, not determined by prejudice.

For all these reasons, I’ve tabled a private member’s bill, Bill C-389, in the House of Commons to add gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act, ensuring full protection for transsexual and transgender Canadians. My bill is likely to be debated and voted on this fall. And I’ve put a motion < > before the House to call on the federal government to ensure appropriate health care is accessible across Canada to transsexual and transgender people. Anything less than explicit, full, and comprehensive protection of trans Canadians diminishes Canada’s commitment to equality and diversity. And the failure to fully cover SRS within medicare diminishes the fundamental Canadian vision of public health care.

Bill Siksay is the member of Parliament for Burnaby-Douglas and the federal New Democrat critic for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and transsexual issues.

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When a Queen dies

The first girl I fell head over heels in love with was a Cuban American queen named Stephanie.

We met in 1973 one night at a really scummy drag bar on Cahuenga Ave called the Speak.  Upon meeting me she told me that the Speak was a drag bar for queens not women.  I told her I was a sex change and she wanted to see.

We took a quick trip to one of the skankiest ladies rooms I’ve ever been in where we got to know each other  by her hand balling me and making out standing in a stall .

Alas… she had so many problems..

Parents who paid her to stay away and a huge drug problem.

She was a downtown girl Quaalude, Placidil, Seconal Tuinol.  Right from the start she was dancing with death.  I joined a circle of friend some were support and other with nearly as big drug problems were enablers.

Too much pain and the in ability to say that it doesn’t mean shit.

Like Michael Jackson had more doctors than I could imagine having.  I had a couple of Doctor Feelgoods I could count on to help me stay skinny and on the bounce as well as able to crash but maybe I had a better sense of where the borders were or some greater purpose in life.

Stephanie over dosed on Valentine’s Day 1974.  Over the years I saw the pattern repeat itself so many times I learned to avoid sisters with downer addictions.

I wasn’t surprised to see the CSI people coming out with bags of scripts.

I wasn’t surprised to hear he weighed 112 pounds.  Anorexia, bulimia and obesity are common partners of the pill abuse as is cutting.

Sometimes when I hear the horror stories about all the murders I shake my head because in my circle of friend death by ‘accidental” overdose was more common.

As I’ve gotten older other friend some of whom have cleaned up are still dying because of the after effects and continued dabbling.

I’m 20 years drug free and over 8 alcohol free.

I’m not saying Michael Jackson was transgender or transsexual just that he showed some similar problems including disconnect from the real world and withdrawl into Neverland.

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The catholic church comes out against transsexual and transgender rights.

Andrea B
The catholic church comes out against transsexual and transgender rights.

Articles by the catholic church on transsexualism

The catholic church trying to stop transsexual and transgender people being covered by anti-discrimination legislation.

Analysis of the opinion of the catholic church on transsexualism

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Fort Worth Police celebrate Stonewall’s 40th by Raiding Gay Bar

We used to call them pigs.  Maybe it is time to resurrect that term of disrespect.

The police in this nation have become an out of control army of jack booted thugs who tazer elderly people and haul chldren off to jail for petty  issue while ignoring the theft of billions by white collared bankers and brokers.

From Daily Kos  Read more at:

Breaking: Raid on Fort Worth Gay Bar (Update x6)

by lostboyjim

The posts on the Dallas voice page are verified to be from a reporter from the Voice, so while they may be a bit “first person-ish”, they are from a reporter.

Sun Jun 28, 2009 at 12:45:03 PM PDT

A blog post this morning on the Dallas Voice Blog page on the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. People were arrested for “Public Intoxication”.

This story is now breaking on facebook, with an apparent protest planned for today (location and time still not clearly determined).  I have had a brief IM with a reporter who is working on the story, so the event did occur.

Information as I can compile it below the fold.

This information was just culled from the Dallas Voice blog page.  The only reply I see so far on that blog says in part:

I don’t know what went down once the police got inside, I was lucky that I was leaving at the exact moment that the first agent was walking in the door, but they already had the outside door person up against the wall in cuffs, and the building surrounded with cars.

Arresting people in a bar for Public Intoxication seems strange, and doing it on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall seems like they are trying to spark another Stonewall.

This is the only site I have been able to find any news about this raid.  I will be updating this; this may be a misunderstanding or a setup.  As I find out more news today I will be updating this dairy.

I am keeping this a draft for now until I get at least 1 confirmation on the story, or until the Dallas Voice moves it from a blog entry to their “breaking” page.

There is now a Facebook Group* discussing the raid (* I don’t know if non-facebook users can read that link). The summary of the group:

Last night around 1 a.m., on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the Fort Worth Police Department raided the Rainbow Lounge and began randomly handcuffing and arresting patrons and shoving anyone who dared to ask why. It was a sobering reminder that on this pinnacle date in the history of gay rights, we still have a very long way to go. I created this group to give folks a chance to discuss it, share stories, pictures, etc.

Pictures of police arresting people at the Lounge are posted there. There are rumors of a protest being organized for today.  However at this time the location and time are fuzzy (the facebook page says both the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, and the Crossroads in Oaklawn (the Crossroads is the middle of the Dallas gay area), and times from 3:00 to 5:00 pm today (CDT).  If I hear of a firm location and time I will update here.

This is very frustrating to me.  The idea of raiding a bar to handcuff people for PI is startling, the fact that they hit a gay bar on the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall is chilling.

Comments posted by a dancer at the bar.  Again, this is from a post on the Dallas Voice blog page. I am still trying to get stronger confirmation from a verifiable source than blog postings and responses.

I was one of the dance entertainers last night at Rainbow Lounge. I was dancing on a box in the VIP lounge and was looking right at the first guy that was arrested. The male patron was standing at the bar doing nothing but having a having a drink and a fun time (like people do in bars) when an officer entered that section of the club and made a beeline straight towards him. The officer forcefully spun the man around, shoved him against the bar and placed plastic restraints on his wrists. The officer then marched the man out the club. The guy was stunned and obviously really scared.
I then noticed another officer in the VIP section and several other officers filtering into the club. I made the decision at that point to go ahead and get dressed in case they were going to start arresting everyone in the entire place.
When I got inside the dressing room there were other dancers already in there getting dressed. They were panicing and saying that this is not something they have ever had to deal dancing in Dallas.
I got dressed and walked out the door and saw that several more officers had made their way into the club. I went into sort of a surreal haze at that moment. I was so disturbed and saddened because it occured to me in that moment that being after midnight, it was actually the exact same day as the Stonewall Riots. I just couldn’t believe what was happening.
I was still standing near the entrance to the VIP lounge with a friend when an officer approached a man standing there. The man had water in his hand. The officer asked him how much he had had to drink and the man said that he didn’t have to answer that. The officer then said that he was going to arrest him for public intoxication. The man said,”You can’t do that I am just standing here right now drinking water.” At the time the officer shoved the man over towards the wall near the dressing room and then back to the rear wall near the men’s restroom, then down onto the floor. Several other officers, made their way back there to hold that ONE MAN down on the ground as they placed restraints on him. At the time I noticed that all of them did not have FWPD uniforms on. Some of them were actually State Police.

Health Reform? Women Say It’s About Work, Wages

From Women’s E-News

Run Date: 06/26/09 By Molly M. Ginty
WeNews correspondent As Congress debates at least 10 health care proposals, prominent women’s advocates say work and wage issues make the single-payer model the best deal for women. So far, it’s mustering little support from lawmakers.

(WOMENSENEWS)–As the battle to reform U.S. health care heats up, Cindy Pearson is staying focused.

“This push is our No. 1 priority now,” says Pearson, executive director of the Washington-based National Women’s Health Network. “It’s an important time because Obama is voicing his concerns about health care and because both houses of Congress are developing legislative language on the issue that women’s advocates will have a chance to discuss, review–and possibly change–before it comes up for a vote in the fall of 2009.”

Pearson says that her group is encouraging women to educate themselves about health care reform, attend local and national events and lobby representatives for the proposals they want.

She cites women’s involvement in shaping other health care legislation–including the Family Medical Leave Act and the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, both passed in 1993, as proof that they should get involved now. “Women have affected public health policy in the past and the only way we can do so now is by making our voices heard,” she said.

Ten health care proposals are now before Congress.

Most Popular Proposals

The three most popular proposals all require that Medicaid be expanded; that most people continue to get insurance coverage through their employers; and that every citizen have health insurance, with government subsidies available to individuals and families to help make that coverage more affordable.

After these common elements, the proposals diverge in some key ways.

The first proposal, which emerged from the May hearings led by Senate Finance Committee Chair Montana Sen. Max Baucus, would create an insurance exchange (an organized market for the purchase of health insurance) through which individuals and small businesses could buy coverage.

The second, introduced June 9 by the Committee on Health, Labor, Exchange and Pensions, which is chaired by Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, would include the exchange as well. However, it would make subsidies available to more Americans than the Baucus plan, covering more of the nation’s 45 million uninsured.

The third plan, drafted by the Obama administration and the House leadership, was unveiled June 19 with the endorsement of three House committees: Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor. It does not include the type of insurance exchange recommended in the Baucus and Kennedy proposals and is not as wide-reaching as the Kennedy plan.

The Obama “Tri-Committee” plan does require employers to either cover workers or contribute to a government fund. And it fulfills Obama’s campaign promise to create a government-sponsored health plan that rivals private plans. “If the private insurance companies have to compete with a public option, it will keep them honest and it will help keep their prices down,” Obama said at a June 11 town hall meeting on health reform in Green Bay, Wisc.

One of the ten proposals up for consideration is a single-payer model, in which a publicly financed entity (a “single payer”) reimburses providers for their services (instead of private insurers).

Single-Payer Model Best Serves Women

Though single-payer legislation is not being considered in the Senate, the House is weighing it in the form of the U.S. National Health Care Act (HR 676), which was introduced January 26 by Michigan Rep. John Conyers, Jr.

Prominent advocates for women’s health say the lagging single-payer model would serve women best. The National Women’s Health Network, for instance, has endorsed this model since 1978.

“Most of the leading health care proposals on the table would tie insurance coverage to employment in a way that is problematic for women,” said Judy Norsigian, executive director of the Boston-based Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Dr. Susan Hasti, a spokesperson for the Chicago-based Physicians for a National Health Program, agrees. “Women are more likely than men to have inadequate coverage because they are self-employed, work part time, have low-paying, no-benefit jobs, rely on their spouses for coverage or lose their insurance when they change jobs,” she said.

Reproductive services, including abortion, would likely be covered by single-payer legislation and are also likely to be covered by an 11th plan not yet on the table: the U.S. Universal Health Service Act (HR 3000), which California Rep. Barbara Lee plans to reintroduce during this legislative session. According to Norsigian, none of the other proposals under consideration would cover reproductive services as comprehensively.

As Lee’s plan and others come before Congress, the Washington-based Raising Women’s Voices, a coalition of social reform groups based in Washington and New York, is encouraging voters to organize “Women’s Speak-Outs for Health Reform” in their communities.

National grassroots campaigns are also underway. One became visible on June 25, when thousands of women descended on the U.S. Capitol for a mobilization and rally for affordable, quality health care for all. The rally was sponsored the Washington-based Health Care for America Now.

Norsigian says a single-payer system would save up to $400 billion annually in health care administrative expenses and would help eliminate medical debt, which is 30 percent more common among women than men.

Molly M. Ginty is a freelance writer based in New York City.

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