PSA: A call for action on trans rights in Tennessee

by matttbastard

Via The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition:

For Immediate Release: Dated December 27, 2008

Another Transgender Woman Shot in Memphis

On Christmas Eve, a Memphis television station reported the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards in Memphis. She becomes the third transgender woman shot in Memphis in just six months. At last report, Leeneshia is in critical condition. We extend our hopes and prayers to Leenashia for a speedy recovery.

We also ask for anyone with any information about this latest crime to call Memphis Crimes Stoppers at (901)528-CASH.

The shooting of Leeneshia Edwards helps shed light on a disturbing trend in Memphis. Transgender women who work in the sex industry in order to survive are now being targeted by a pervasive culture of violence.

The indifferent attitude of law enforcement towards the February 16, 2006, murder of Tiffany Berry, and the February 12, 2008, beating of Duanna Johnson by Memphis Police Department officers, has sent a message that the lives of transgender people are not important. This has fed the culture of violence that has permeated the second half of 2008, and is exemplified by the July 1 murder of Ebony Whitaker, the July 28 murder of Dre-Ona Blake, a two year old girl who was killed by the man who had previously been charged with the murder of Tiffany Berry, but was allowed to walk free for two and a half years, the November 9 murder of Duanna Johnson, and now the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards.

This open season on transgender people in Memphis and elsewhere, regardless of whether or not they engage in sex work, must come to an end right now.

We call on business people who refuse to hire transgender people to open their doors immediately to transgender workers so there are alternatives to working on the streets.

We call on shelters that routinely turn away transgender people who are seeking help, to open their doors so that transgender people do not have to live on the streets.

We call on religious leaders who preach intolerance towards crossdressers and transsexuals from the pulpit to cease immediately and begin preaching messages of love and acceptance of diversity.

We call on political leaders of all parties to stop campaigning against transgender people and start supporting fully inclusive employment non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation to show that the lives of transgender people have value.

Marisa Richmond
President

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
http://ttgpac.com
TTGPAC@aol.com
(615)293-6199
(615)353-1834 fax

h/t Cara by way of Queen Em.

Related: More on Leeneshia Edwards from Em and Monica Roberts

Update: Renee, bumped from comments:

What bothers me most about this is the way in which these acts of violence and murders are ignored. When I wrote about this issue I focused on the race aspect. Trans women of color are being targeted. At remembering our dead over 65% of the women listed are of color. I want to know where the hell the NAACP is. I want to know where the hell NOW is. When are we going to decide that these women matter?

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Motes and Planks, Holiday Edition

by matttbastard

Oh noez! Teh Pope iz gunna eatz me!

The Emperor Pope seriously needs to be checked for an irony deficiancy:

“Let us think of those children who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse, and thus are traumatised to the depths of their soul.”

Benedict said Catholics had to ”do everything in our power to put an end to the suffering of these children.”

Sez Pam Spaulding:

Everything in his power? Can he not afford a plane ticket to send Cardinal Law back stateside to face the music? Or what about [allowing] those children without a home to be adopted by loving, qualified same-sex couples? Just asking.

Now now — we should be grateful Ratzi didn’t blame it all on the gender-destroyers.

Small favours.

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“These trans women make easy, almost socially sanctioned, scapegoats for a litany of issues that they are largely unconnected to and not responsible for.”

by matttbastard

Wendy Babcock, Morgan Page, and Rebecca Hammond have an article in this months issue of FAB Magazine on the Homewood-Maitland Safety Association and its controversial efforts to force transgender sex workers out of the neighbourhood.  Although the article isn’t available online, Babcock has posted the text at her blog, the Prostitution in Canada Journal.

A sample:

Homewood and Maitland isn’t the first stroll in Toronto to come under pressure as a consequence of gentrification – so what’s the big deal if this is a sad, but seemingly routine, social process? Homewood and Maitland is unique in that it has historically been known as the trans stroll, making it one of the few safer spots for trans sex workers. Johns here know what they are getting, as one sex worker explained, “in other neighbourhoods the johns don’t know what they’re getting, and they are likely to freak out and assault us.” As working conditions deteriorate thanks to the HMSA, trans women have started working untested areas where they are likely subject to increasing violent attacks.

These trans women make easy, almost socially sanctioned, scapegoats for a litany of issues that they are largely unconnected to and not responsible for. The streets are quiet, save for a few rowdy drunk college kids and the sounds of traffic wafting down from Wellesley. You know, the kind of night soundscape one comes to expect in downtown Toronto. Other residents of the neighbourhood have expressed their dismay to us. “Just tell me what I can do to help the sex workers,” one man said to us. The HMSA is quick to dismiss these other neighbours as unimportant, either because they live on the higher floors of the condos or their opinion goes against HMSA morals.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

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PSA: Protest against transphobia and sex worker oppression

by matttbastard

Via Shameless:

The Maitland Homewood Safety Association [of Toronto] is waging a campaign to rid their neighbourhood of trans sex workers. Every Friday and Saturday starting at 11pm the Association goes out armed with flashlights to [harass] the women working in the neighbourhood. There have been some reports that the members of the Association have physically assaulted transwomen.

If you care about the rights of trans and sex working women to be free of harassment and nimbyism (which you should) and are free this Friday, then join us Friday August 15th at 11pm at Homewood and Maitland to show our support to the women in the neighbourhood, as well as to send a clear message to the Homewood-Maitland Safety Association that violence and harassment against trans women will not be tolerated.

PLEASE NOTE: Organizers of this event are being targeted by this group, we need as many people there as possible to ensure our safety. For more info on the [Association’s] transphobia please check out http://splinterjete.livejournal.com/78658.html
and
http://spocgirl.braveblog.com/entry/27765

Facebook event listing here, more on the MHSA here.

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On Bleeding Language of All Meaning

by matttbastard

If this:

[Alan Ray] Andrade met [Angie] Zapata on a social networking site, Mocospace, and the two arranged to meet July 15. Zapata picked Andrade up in Thornton where he lived and the pair returned to Zapata’s Greeley apartment together. Andrade told police Zapata performed a sexual act on him. The following day, the affidavit explains, Andrade started to look at photos in the apartment and questioned Zapata’s sex. That night, Andrade questioned Zapata directly, according to the affidavit, and Andrade says Zapata responded, ‘I’m all woman.’ Andrade told police he grabbed Zapata in her genital area and felt a penis. He became angry and hit Zapata with his fist before grabbing a fire extinguisher and hitting her in the head twice, according to the affidavit. Andrade explained to police that he thought he ‘killed it,’ referring to Zapata but when she made gurgling noises and started to sit up, he hit her with the extinguisher again. He also admitted to police that he stole Zapata’s car and drove away.”

isn’t a “classic hate crime”, then what the fuck is?

Go (right now, go!) to Lisa’s place for a massive round-up of reactions to this heinous crime perpetuated against a trans woman of colour.

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Catch of the Day

by Isabel

Trannycat Doll lead singer(?), Nicole Scherzinger, has taken the first step in dispelling all the rumors that everyone in this group has cocks by getting out of a car at Villa in Hollywood. Despite what my ex-girlfriend tells you, I’ve seen a lot of vaginas up close, so I’m comfortable saying this chick has one. I guess this is good news. She also looks like Pocahontas, so if you’re thinking about raping her, you can say it was just for a history project.

Wow. Just woowwww.

Update (matttbastard): Liss breaks out the teaspoon and serves up some stats on rape and Indigenous women. Also see this video, Sexual Violence Against Indigenous Women.  Oh, and fuck you and your transphobia, too, Todd.

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PSA: Transgender Day Of Remembrance

by matttbastard

Feminist Daily News:

Today marks the 9th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. The event was founded to honor Rita Hester, whose 1998 murder led to a candlelight vigil in San Francisco, CA, as well as the beginning of the Remembering Our Dead web project, which memorializes those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

The goals of the Day of Remembrance are to both raise public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people and to publicly mourn and honor the lives of those killed. According to the event website, more than one person per month has died over the past decade due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. The murder [of] Rita Haster, which led to the creation of Transgender Day of Remembrance, remains unsolved.

The incomparable Lisa Harney has links galore over at her superlative site, Questioning Transphobia, including an amazing post @ Feministing by Julia Serano, There’s Something About Deception:

Much of the violence that is directed at trans people is predicated on the myth of deception. For example, straight men who become attracted to trans women sometimes erupt into homophobic/transphobic rage and violence upon discovering that the woman in question was born male. Perhaps the most well known of such cases is that of Gwen Araujo, who was bludgeoned to death by a four men, two of whom she had been sexually intimate with. Despite the fact that the men plotted her murder a week in advance, defense lawyers insisted that the murder was merely manslaughter because the defendants were victims of Gwen’s “sexual deceit.”

[…]

Few attempts to blame the victim are more blatant than when trans people are accused of “sexual deceit” or “sexual assault” simply because other people have chosen to express their attraction toward us. In reality, it is they who are guilty of cissexual/cisgender assumption (when one presumes that every person they meet is nontrans by default). Trans people simply exist, we are everywhere, and the rest of the world has to start recognizing and accepting that.

Also see Julia Serano again and Transgender Day of Remembrance Comics Project. Make sure to also check out quench zine (h/t Jessica Valenti) and to visit the Transgender Day of Remembrance website. And, of course, never forget, 24/7/365.

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