Murder underscores anti-transgender violence in D.C.

As I have been saying for a while now the murders of people with either transsexualism or transgenderism are disproportionately suffered by people in the lumpen prole class and more often by people of color than by white people.  Also with for the most part these crimes are suffered by our sisters and not by our brothers.

As unpopular as Monica Roberts is with some of us she has spoken the truth about how more attention is paid to the murders of sisters further up the economic chain who are also either white or Latina.

Damn I hate it when I have to give credit where credit is due to some one who has so pissed me off in the past.  But Ms. Roberts has been doing some powerful speaking truth to power lately.

From The Edge Boston
by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Wednesday Sep 16, 2009

Tyli’a "Na Na Boo" Mack’s murder late last month highlighted the problem of anti-transgender violence in the District of Columbia.

Tyli’a “Na Na Boo” Mack’s murder late last month highlighted the problem of anti-transgender violence in the District of Columbia.    (Source:Metropolitan Police Department)

As local police to investigate Tyli’a “Na Na Boo” Mack’s murder, transgender activists and others in the District of Columbia continue to demand an end to anti-trans violence in the city.

An unknown assailant stabbed Mack to death and critically injured a friend on Q Street, NW, on Aug. 26. Mack’s mother joined members of Transgender Health Empowerment, Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, DC Councilmember David Catania [I-At Large,] Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence co-chair Chris Farris, DC Center executive director David Mariner and more than 200 others at a vigil two days later at the spot where the two women were attacked.

The Metropolitan Police Department continues to offer a reward of up to $25,000, but Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told EDGE she feels Mack’s death underscores the fact anti-trans violence remains a serious problem in the District.

“It is really, really clear to me, it’s really bad here,” Keisling said.

The MPD does not compile statistics of crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity, but the Web site Remembering Our Dead indicates at least half a dozen trans Washingtonians have been murdered over the last decade. These include Stephanie Thomas and Ukea Davis, who were shot to death on Aug. 12, 2002, while they sat in their car in a Southeast intersection. Antoine Jacobs shot and killed popular entertainer Bella Evangelista on Aug. 16, 2003. And an unknown assailant bludgeoned Tyra Henderson to death in Northwest in April, 2000.

Acting Lt. Brett Parsons, the MPD’s LGBT liaison, told EDGE the department has not seen an increase in anti-trans violence in the city, but he conceded transgender Washingtonians “tend to be a community at risk for victimization all the time-and that’s a sad statement.” There have been 96 murders in the District so far this year. This statistic represents a 26.7 percent decline in homicides compared to 2008, but Keisling maintains race and class remain a motivating factor behind the majority of anti-trans murders in Washington and elsewhere.

“The kind of trans people getting murdered are not white, middle-aged transsexual women like me,” she said. “It’s almost always lower income, trans-women of color. If you’re any of those things in the United States, you’re at the greatest risk of violence. It’s horrible.”

Ethan St. Pierre, a long-time trans activist who sits on the International Foundation for Gender Education’s Board of Directors, agreed. He noted he feels violence is one of the many forms of discrimination trans people of color in particular continue to face.

“If you are a trans person of color, you’re in deep shit,” St. Pierre said. “It’s not going to be easy to get a job. Racism is horrible. It still exists in society.”

He further categorized Mack’s death as horrific. St. Pierre added he feels educating trans people and others about the prevalence of anti-trans violence is one of what he described as many necessary steps to prevent it.

“Education is always so important, but there are just people out there who hate so much they don’t care,” he said. “If I knew the answer, believe me I would be shouting from the rooftops.”

Michael K. Lavers has written for the Advocate, the Fire Island News, the Village Voice, WNYC and other media outlets. He has also provided commentary on LGBT and other issues to the BBC and the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. He blogs at Boy in Bushwick []

Transsexuality in the late 20th Century: What it was and what it wasn’t

$3.99 on Amazon

By Sarah Seton MD, MA

A short book, actually an extended pamphlet in the traditional usage extends the argument for the innateness of transsexualism.

Sarah Seton is the pen name of Rachel Tortolini yet another example of a person with extraordinary gifts and a multitude of scholarly interests. A woman who by simply being extends the argument that many of us who manage to navigate our life passages through the obstacle course society sets out for those born some where in the gray area between the ideological black and white of sex and gender are by nature gifted.

As I said it is a short book, a feel positive about ourselves sort of work that does mention that some of have it much easier than other due to being really pretty.

I’m glad I added it to a recent Amazon new book purchase.

Legislators seek repeal of federal marriage law

Legislators seek repeal of federal marriage law

From SF Gate:

Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

(09-16) 04:00 PDT Washington – — Impatient with the piecemeal approach to gay rights adopted by Democratic leaders, 90 House liberals, including Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee, introduced a bill Tuesday to repeal the central federal law governing same-sex couples.

The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act denies federal marriage benefits to such couples, including Social Security, estate and other tax laws and spousal immigration rights.

Leading the effort is Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who said that when the law was signed by former President Bill Clinton 13 years ago, same-sex marriage was hypothetical, but today tens of thousands of gay and lesbian couples are legally married under the laws of four states.

The repeal, called the Respect for Marriage Act, would affect 18,000 same-sex couples married in California last year before voters approved Proposition 8, which overrode a state Supreme Court decision granting them marriage rights.

“Discrimination against committed couples and stable families is terrible federal policy,” Nadler said.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont now marry same-sex couples, and New Hampshire will begin doing so in January. Voters in Maine will decide in November whether to allow same-sex marriage there.

The Respect for Marriage Act would allow all legally married same-sex couples access to what advocates say are more than 1,000 marital benefits under federal law.

The law was passed during an election year when Clinton and many Democrats in Congress feared a voter backlash. Clinton issued a statement Tuesday saying, “the fabric of our country has changed, and so should this policy.”

President Obama has said he would sign a law repealing the act, but many activists have been disappointed that he has not moved to revoke the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays in the military, allowing gays and lesbians to be dismissed on his watch.

Notably absent from the repeal bill’s sponsors is Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., an openly gay member of Congress who usually takes the lead on gay rights legislation. Frank and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco prefer a more incremental approach that they believe has a better chance of enactment, including a hate crimes bill that passed the House in April and a bill to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The repeal would not impose same-sex marriage on any state. But it would allow couples living in states that do not recognize their marriages access to federal benefits. Nadler said repeal would simply return jurisdiction over marriage law to the states where it has traditionally resided.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said the speaker wants the law repealed but is “focused on legislative items that we can enact into law now.”

In California, gay activists are split about whether to mount another ballot-box challenge to Prop. 8 in next year’s elections for governor and Congress, or in 2012, the next presidential election.

Chronicle staff writer Joe Garofoli contributed to this report. E-mail Carolyn Lochhead at

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Ohio House Passes Non-discrimination Bill

Posted on September 16, 2009

A bill to protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment and housing passed the Democratic-controlled house on Tuesday, but it faces a steeper climb in the GOP-controlled senate.

By Julie Bolcer

A bill to protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment and housing passed the Ohio house on Tuesday, although its prospects in the senate appear far from certain.

Five Republicans joined all Democrats to pass the bill by a vote of 53-39, reports the Columbus Dispatch .

The long-stalled bill finally moved toward a vote after Democrats captured the Ohio house last November. However, the bill appears to face an uphill battle in the senate, where Republicans retain control.

“But the bill could hit a wall in the GOP-controlled Senate,” according to the Columbus Dispatch, “where President Bill M. Harris, R-Ashland, has said repeatedly that although it will get a hearing, he doesn’t see a need for the legislation.”

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