Trans Activist Julie Berman Murdered in Toronto

From The Advocate:

A 29-year-old man has been arrested for Berman’s killing.

By Neal Broverman
December 27 2019

Julie Berman, a woman long active in Toronto trans community, was found murdered on Sunday, The Globe and Mail reports.

Berman, suffering from head injuries, was discovered by Toronto police and brought to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. A 29-year-old man named Colin Harnack has been charged with second-degree murder.

Employed as a hairdresser, Berman has been active in the trans rights group The 519 for over three decades, according to the newspaper. Berman memorably delivered a speech at an event held for 2017’s Trans Day of Remembrance, where she spoke of the injustice of transphobia and the murder of one of her friends, who was trans.

“It’s really heartbreaking … the same thing that she was trying to be vocal about happened to her,” Davina Hader, a friend of the victim and a member of The 519, told The Globe and Mail.

Three trans people in Toronto have died from violence in the past couple years, according to the paper. There is an epidemic of anti-trans violence in the U.S., with at least 20 Black trans women murdered just this year.

See Also:

Activist who raised awareness about transphobia murdered in Toronto

Trans activist who tirelessly campaigned against transphobia found murdered in Canada

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Peter, Paul and Mary “Light One Candle” (25th Anniversary Concert)

It has been one really fucked up year.  For Tina and me and for the country and world in general.  Tonight at Shabbos services on JBS they played the Peter, Paul and Mary song.  “Light one Candle”

I remember when we were better people, when we were kinder and stood against injustice.  Hopefully we can rid ourselves of the degenerate moral monster in the White House come next November and take both the House and Senate.

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Rep. Pramila Jayapal wants transgender people in Congress

From LGBTQ Nation:

She hopes there will be trans people in Congress soon, but for now “our role is always to bring the voices of those who are not in the room to the table.”

Monday, December 2, 2019

Earlier this year, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the landmark Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under existing federal civil rights laws. At the hearing, several Republicans tried to claim that they favored rights for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people but drew the line at trans rights.

Anti-trans activist Julia Beck, the Republican witness at the hearing, threw out a parade of alleged horribles that would transpire should trans people – particularly trans women – became protected under the law.

But midway through the hearing Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) revealed that her child had recently come out to her as non-binary. Through tears, she brought a personal and emotional appeal to debate over the bill before it was advanced out of the committee on a party line vote.

Jayapal is co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus and has taken a leadership role in pushing for progressive legislation like Medicare for All.

She sat down recently with LGBTQ Nation to talk about the current state of LGBTQ rights and the value of having queer people and allies in government.

LGBTQ Nation: I was particularly moved by your speech during the committee hearing for the Equality Act hearing. Given that there’s no openly trans members of Congress, how can you give voice to trans people as an ally and a parent of a non-binary child?

Rep. Pramila Jayapal: First of all, I hope that changes soon. I was so excited to see [Delegate] Danica Roem elected in Virginia and you know, I believe that we’re going to have more of that across the country and hopefully in Congress. But I think our role is always to bring the voices of those who are not in the room to the table, and to bring those individuals to the table as witnesses, as testifiers, to hear those stories.

That’s the role I see for myself as an ally, is first of all to make sure I fully understand the broad scope of the issues that people are facing, to bring them up constantly, to invite trans members and non-binary members to testify in front of us, which I did with the Immigration Bill. And then, when I came out, I guess it is, as the mother of a non-binary child, which I had to ask them, I had to ask my kid if that was okay in the middle of the hearing and they were so generous and said, “If it’s going to help people then yes.”

But I think it’s important for people to see, I think I’m the only member who has at least openly said that I have a gender nonconforming child. I don’t know if I’m the only member that has one, but I’m the only one who has proudly claimed that label. But it gives me an opportunity to make this not just about the issue and how important it is to everybody, but also to put a personal point on it, and to proudly declare my support as a mother.

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Happy Hanukkah

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Slain Brooklyn Woman Believed to Be Transgender

From Gay City News:

Police have yet to confirm victim’s gender identity, but other evidence tells the story

BY Matt Tracy
December 20, 2019

A woman who was shot to death at her home in Brooklyn on December 19 appears to have been a transgender woman, according to records, police accounts, social media posts, and news reports emerging in the hours since she was killed.

Police said they arrived at 178 Rockaway Parkway in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn at 4:20 p.m. and found a 33-year-old woman with gunshot wounds to the chest. Medics pronounced her dead at the scene. Meanwhile, cops said they found a 39-year-old man outside the back of the building who had suffered leg injuries after he likely jumped from the building. Authorities took him into custody and questioned him but did not make any arrests.

Police would not confirm whether or not the woman they found was transgender, though they did not dispute that, and officers said in an email on December 19 that they were still trying to notify the victim’s family. Neighbors told News 12 Brooklyn that the victim was transgender.

Shortly after the police report emerged, a handful of social media posts surfaced on both Instagram and Facebook in which individuals stated that Yahira Nesby, a black trans woman who lived in Brooklyn, had died. In yet another sign that Nesby was the victim, online records show that her address was 178 Rockaway Parkway — the same place where cops discovered the body. Calls to phone numbers associated with Nesby at that address were not answered.

“Black transwoman murdered in Brooklyn last evening, R.I.P yahira nesby aka yaya,” Instagram user @ttimenetwork wrote in a post early in the morning on December 20.

On Facebook, Icon Devine wrote, “Damn not another 1… sis Yahira Nesby I love u,” while another person, Chloe Kalis, wrote, “Life is so unfair… I can not believe this neicey! Free from this hectic world and any pain that you may have endured here on earth. A beautiful spirit, a beautiful woman Yahira Nesby.”

Darrielle Anderson also posted, writing, “I’m so tired of writing R.I.P! You will truly be missed auntie. Yahira Nesby.”

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Brianna Hill, A Black Transgender Woman, Found Shot To Death In Kansas City – Breaking News

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False Idol — Why the Christian Right Worships Donald Trump

From Rolling Stone:

December 2, 2019

On  the morning of September 29th, six weeks before the 2016 election, Donald Trump was in a conference room at Trump Tower in New York talking to leaders of the religious right about sex-reassignment surgery. In a way, he was bringing about his own transformation. Having quashed the idea that his run for president was a lark or a publicity stunt, having come from behind to take the Republican nomination, and having fought his way up the polls to the extent that he was within striking distance of Hillary Clinton, Trump was now trying to seal the deal. And that involved something he would soon become much more known for: a discussion of other people’s genitalia.

“With the operation or without the operation?” Trump asked the conservative Christian leaders gathered specifically to ascertain whether to grant him their support. In other words, would HB2 — North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill — apply to transgender people who had not undergone surgery to alter their sex?

“Without the operation,” Christian radio talk-show host Frank Turek confirmed, according to a tape of the meeting exclusively obtained by Rolling Stone. “If you’re a man but you feel like a woman that day, if you’re Shania Twain, you can go into a woman’s bathroom, and no one can say a word about it.”

Trump seemed to ponder this deeply. For much of his political run, the thrice-married, swindling, profane, materialistic, self-styled playboy had appealed mainly to the more fringe elements of Christianity, a ragtag group of prosperity gospelers (like his “spiritual adviser” Paula White, a televangelist who promises her donors their own personal angel), Christian dominionists (who believe that America’s laws should be founded explicitly on biblical ones — including stoning homosexuals), and charismatic or Pentecostal outliers (like Frank Amedia, the Trump campaign’s “liaison for Christian policy,” who once claimed to have raised an ant from the dead). Considering their extreme views, these folks had an alarming number of followers, but certainly nothing of voting-bloc magnitude.

And without the evangelical voting bloc, no Republican candidate could hope to have a path to the presidency. Evangelicals — a term that today refers to people who believe that Jesus died for their sins, that the Bible is the word of God, that every believer has a “born again” or salvation moment, and that the good news of Jesus should be widely disseminated — make up as much as a quarter of the country, or close to 80 million people. Around 60 percent vote, more than any other demographic, and among white evangelical voters, more than three-quarters tend to go to Republicans, thanks to wedge issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender rights.

Trump was exactly the type of character you would expect “values voters” to summarily reject — even before the famed “grab ’em by the pussy” tape, the optics weren’t great. He never gained a majority of Christian votes in the primary. Even after he secured the nomination and named Mike Pence to be his VP, a survey of Protestant pastors conducted by Christian polling group LifeWay Research that summer found that only 39 percent of evangelical pastors planned to vote for him.

The meeting on September 29th, 2016, was one of the ways he tried to move the needle, to convince the religious right that their vision for America was one he shared. Robert Jeffress, the head of 14,000-member megachurch First Baptist Dallas, a contributor to Fox News, and one of the earliest evangelical leaders to support Trump, presided over the meeting. “I usually stand when he comes in the room as a way of showing respect — he doesn’t ask that, but that’s just something that I’ve normally done,” Jeffress explained to the assembled, who included Wayne Grudem, a well-known theologian and co-founder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood; Eric Metaxas, a bestselling Christian author and radio host; Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation; Jay Richards, a philosopher and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank that campaigns against teaching evolution in school; and Ivanka Trump, who popped in momentarily to say hello.

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