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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