As the title suggests, everything on this blog concerns violence against trans women.
The Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project is a trans feminist project addressing issues of systematic, institutional and interpersonal violence and oppression experienced by trans women (those who were coercively assigned male at birth and identify or are identified as women/female) across multiple identities (e.g., race, class, dis/ability, citizen-status, nationality, sexuality, age, HIV status, and form, status, or age of transition, etc.)
Ida Hammer is a writer and social justice communicator. She organizes the Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project. She presents workshops and trainings on cis privilege and being a trans ally. She's also involved in organizing against sexualized violence. She's a proud dyke-identified trans woman and an organizer of the New York City Dyke March.
Fernanda Milan was raped after being placed in the men’s dormitory; now she faces deportation to Guatemala
More than 200 people attended a rally on Saturday protesting the decision to deport a transgender asylum seeker. The trans-woman, Fernanda Milan, is due to be sent back to Guatemala on September 17 after her application for asylum was rejected.
While in Denmark, Milan was raped in Sandholm Asylum Centre, a facility operated by the Danish Red Cross.
“I was very touched by how supportive the crowd was, telling me how brave I was,” Milan told The Copenhagen Post. “It was also impressive to see a lot of non-LGBT people as well. People do really care, they came to protest and are very angry about it.”
In Guatemala, Milan had been campaigning on television and in the press to highlight the grave treatment transgender people are subjected to in her country. After becoming a very public activist in a nation dominated by Catholicism and conservative views, she was forced to flee her country in 2009.
After arriving in this country via Switzerland, she made contact with LGBT Denmark, which supported her asylum request.
Under Danish law, Milan is classified as a man so authorities placed her in the male section of Sandholm. Despite being given a separate dormitory, other detainees were able to break in to her room and rape her.
“I wasn’t raped by just one man but by many,” she told Politiken newspaper earlier this month.
Milan was due to share the room with another trans-woman in Sandholm, but the latter refused to be placed amongst men and instead slept in a car.
After the attack at Sandholm, Milan fled the centre and was trafficked into prostitution for two years. Police discovered her during a raid on a brothel in Jutland.
“There is a lot of ignorance and a lack of information within the system about treatment of trans-people,” she told The Copenhagen Post. “This was a surprise from what I had heard about Denmark.”
Born a man, Milan had been receiving hormone treatment since she was 14-years-old. Because she was unable to receive the treatment after leaving Guatemala, she was no longer consider transgender by the Danish medical definition. She continues to live and self-identify as a woman, but that wasn’t enough to earn her a spot in the women’s dormitory in Sandholm.
“A transgender woman is likely to be placed in a male dormitory but in a single room,” Anne La Cour, head of the Danish Red Cross asylum department, told Politiken. “But we would not place her in a women’s dormitory because that is exclusively for women and we cannot permit ourselves to place a man.”
Milan, however, rejected La Cour’s explanation, saying that she has been living and sharing facilities with other women in a Copenhagen shelter run by Reden International, an anti-trafficking organisation, without any problems or complaints for a year and a half.
Denmark does grant asylum to LGBT refugees but bases decisions on secondary and protection issues. After her application rejection, Milan fears what will happen when returned to Guatemala.
“It’s very dangerous. I could be kidnapped, tortured or even murdered. I am panicking and I’m extremely scared.”
An online petition calling for the decision to be reversed has attracted over 1,800 signatures from around the world.
LGBT Denmark conceded that the petition will have no influence on the decision to reject her asylum application as it is nearly impossible to get a case reopened.
“The decision of an asylum case concerns the position of the asylum seeker in the country of origin,” Søren Laursen, a spokesperson from the organisation, told The Copenhagen Post. “The petition may send a signal to the politicians, but of course they do not influence the court either.”
Acknowledging a European wide problem, Laursen added, “Denmark is rejecting some of the most vulnerable and persecuted refugees and that one reason for this is a lack of understanding of trans-persons and gender identity.”
LGBT Denmark is currently working with the Danish Red Cross to help them better understand the special needs of transgender asylum seekers.
(Dominic Summers, The Copenhagen Post)
Model/Drag Queen, Carmen Carrera from RuPaul’s Drag Race, appeared on the show, Cake Boss, in a prank to lure one of the employees, Anthony, into flirting with her. She spoke with producers about the terminology she wanted to be used and how to use her appearance to further transgender awareness. This was all ignored according to her and she wrote on her Facebook page last night:
LET ME MAKE THIS VERY CLEAR! LISTEN UP PEOPLE! I signed on to do this episode of “Cake Boss” to promote EQUALITY. Transgender women are just as beautiful as biological woman and should be respected for that. The “reveal” was never meant to be a “Jerry Springer, ‘THATS A MAN’…” kind of thing. I was promised that it wasn’t going to be that way. I was lied to. I dont promote misleading someone or putting down the trans community. I am a beautiful transgendered woman and if a guy hits on me at a bar, ITS OK! That was the message. Hearing things like “You’ll never be a real woman” or “I hope you burn in hell for changing your gender” or “You will always be a man” is the EXACT TYPE OF IGNORANCE THAT THIS SHOW HELPED TO PROMOTE. This is why Im so upset. If men find me attractive and treat me as lady, why do some of you people think its wrong??? Why are some of you trying to take that away from me like I dont deserve to be treated with respect and admiration? Ignorance, thats why. STOP THE HATE AND PASS THIS ON.
For their part some of the sensitive, sensitive souls at Cake Boss then thought it would be funny to continue to shame Carmen after the episode aired. When someone mocked Anthony, for kissing a man, Anthony had this to say: “hahaha nah I didn’t. It give me a kiss on the cheek.”
“It” gave him a kiss on the cheek. What an amazing guy that Anthony must be.
Carmen’s fans (and fans of treating people like human beings) jumped into action last night, creating a Change.org petition demanding TLC and Cake Boss publicly apologize to the transgender community.
(J. Wolffe, Lez Get Real)
Several years into my transtion about a decade ago, I thought seriously about killing myself. Life was really hard. I wasn’t passing as my true female self very well. I often was called a man as I walked down the street. I didn’t think I would ever be accepted as the woman I always knew I was, and I wanted to end it. In the note I was going to write to accompany my death, I was going to have explicit instructions about the pronouns that should be used to refer to me in death. I was going to write that I shouldn’t be referred to by the name on my birth certificate but by the name that reflects my female identity — that is, my legal name, the name I took after I dropped my old first name. (“Laverne” was my middle name, and “Cox” was my last name at birth.) I basically didn’t want to be disrespected and misgendered in my death, as all too often happens to transgender folks in news reports on our deaths.
I was reminded of that this weekend when I read the unfortunate New York Times article about the death of Lorena Escalera, a woman who died in a Brooklyn fire. The reporters were careful to use the correct pronouns when referring to Escalera but were sure to quote someone who did not use the correct pronoun to refer to her: “”For a man, he was gorgeous,’ Mr. Hernandez said, noting Ms. Escalera’s flowing hair and ‘hourglass figure.’” This is just one of many passages in the article that sexualize and objectify her. Autumn Sandeen calls attention to this in her piece on Pam’s House Blend.
In a speech I made in Albany last week, I talked about violence against transgender women of color and how our lives are not valued. This Times article is a great example of that. I didn’t personally know Lorena, but we were Facebook friends. After reading about her death, I went to her Facebook page and saw all the messages from friends of Lorena’s, friends who were devastated by the news of her death, friends who talked about her beautiful spirit and how many lives she touched. Lorena’s life mattered. Transgender lives matter.
In a HuffPost blog I wrote last month, I noted how a news outlet reporting on the brutal murder of trans woman Coko Williams showed a photo of trash to accompany the story. The Times article follows this sad paradigm: It reads, “A debris pile outside the apartment, which is above a funeral home, contained many colorful items. Among them were wigs, women’s shoes, coins from around the world, makeup, hair spray, handbags, a shopping bag from Spandex House, a red feather boa and a pamphlet on how to quit smoking.”
Reporting on trash in articles about the deaths of transgender women enrages me in ways I can’t even explain. When I wanted to kill myself, I felt so utterly dehumanized and demoralized by living in a world that was not having me. I have struggled and continue to struggle to not only have dignity and to carve out a place in the world for myself but to treat myself as if my life matters. My life matters. Transgender lives matter. Lorena Escalera’s life mattered. Rest in peace, Lorena.
male-to-femaletransgender woman was found fatally shot in the head in the West Garfield Park neighborhood Monday morning on the city’s West Side, according to information obtained from police in a report by CBS Chicago.
The victim’s body was found in an alley in the 4500 block of West Jackson Boulevard with a gunshot wound to the forehead.
Police told CBS that a woman called authorities after finding the body behind her home.
Chicago Police News Affairs officer Veejay Zala could not confirm that the victim is transgender to Chicago Phoenix and referred to them as a “male.”
Community leaders, including Modesto Tico Valle, CEO at Center on Halsted say they are saddened and disturbed by the news.
“Though we do not have all the details, this news is extremely disturbing, especially as severe violence against transgender women is all too common,” Valle said in a statement Tuesday. “Transgender women face some of the highest rates of violence and abuse in our nation. This is the third reported murder of a transgender woman in the U.S. in April alone.
The community must work together to create safety in for all people, especially those most targeted, Valle said.
Center on Halsted is a founding member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP). Their most recent report indicated that of the murders identified as hate crimes against LGBTQ people and those impacted by HIV in 2010, 44% were against transgender women, according to the release.
As of Monday night, nobody was in custody, said Zala.
Area North detectives are investigating.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court won’t consider reinstating a Wisconsin law banning publicly-funded hormone therapy for inmates who identify as transgender women.
The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from state officials, who have been trying to get the 2005 law reinstated since it was blocked by a federal judge weeks after its passage.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that the law violates a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment because it denies medical treatment. Some of the plaintiffs had been on hormones for years before the law was passed.
Wisconsin state officials passed the law after an inmate who had received hormone therapy filed a lawsuit to try to force the prison to pay for [her] sex change.
Good news is that the Supreme Court isn’t even entertaining the possibility of allowing Wisconsin to deny incarcerated trans women access to hormone therapy. The bad news is that the Associated Press can’t even get a woman’s pronouns right when the AP’s own Stylebook clearly says to use the pronouns preferred by the individual being reported on.
Crime scene investigators dusted for fingerprints late into the night at a grisly crime scene inside an apartment at 545 Michigan Avenue in Miami Beach.
The silence coming from Apt. 7 was too much for close friends to bear. They hadn’t seen or heard from the person they knew as Rosita since Tuesday. Friends described Rosita as a social butterfly who would always wave hello and stop to chat with them on the street.
Worried for Rosita’s safety, they called police on Thursday. The owner of the property let police into the apartment.
“The police department went inside. They opened up the door. As soon as they opened it, they closed it again. There was a [pool] full of blood all over the apartment,” said Hector Serna, a close friend of the victim.
The victim was found with multiple stab wounds, Miami Beach Police said.
The police case report lists the victim as a “white male.” Friends say Rosita … identified as a transsexual woman.
“Somebody had the nerve to stab her, cut her neck and put something in her mouth so she wouldn’t scream,” Serna said.
The report claims a person close to the victim told police Rosita “had multiple partners” and had not been seen since Tuesday afternoon.
Friends and neighbors describe her as a good person with a big heart.
“I feel very bad. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. Because I lived here seven years. Seven years. She’s a really good neighbor,” said Taslima Akter, who owns the grocery store on the corner.
“It’s not fair what they did to her. She was very well-loved around here. I loved her. She was a very good friend of mine, and she doesn’t deserve it,” Serna said.
Miami Beach Police have not released the victim’s name, as they are trying to alert her next of kin, her elderly parents in Cuba. The investigation continues.
Bianca Feliciano has learned as a transgender woman to brush off sideways glances at the grocery and ignore the crude comments strangers lob at her in the street.
But those experiences didn’t prepare Feliciano for an encounter last year with two Cicero police officers who harassed her because of her gender identity as she walked to a restaurant with a friend, she said. The insults continued at the police station, where she was arrested for possessing tobacco as a minor, according to a lawsuit she filed against the department.”It was the worst day of my life,” said Feliciano, who is now 18. “I felt like I would have been better off not being born.” Feliciano sued the town of Cicero and the two officers in federal court last month, accusing them of violating her civil rights. According to the suit, police verbally abused her, accusing her of being a prostitute because she is a transgender woman. They also refused to accept her state-issued ID, which identified her as a woman, the suit says.
“One of the defendant officers threatened to punch Ms. Feliciano, take her to jail and lock her up for fraud because her ID said she is female,” the lawsuit states. The officers “repeatedly ridiculed and denied Ms. Feliciano’s gender identity by stating that she was a man, referring to her with male pronouns and calling her by her former name.”
Advocates say Feliciano’s case underscores the growing debate surrounding the treatment of transgender people by police. Although the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has made strides in recent years with the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy and the expansion of hate crimes laws to include attacks on gender identity, transgender individuals such as Feliciano continue to suffer discrimination and abuse at the hands of police, they say.
As metropolitan police departments confront the issue, some have adopted policies on how officers should treat transgender people when they are arrested or become crime victims.
At the urging of advocates in Chicago, Ald. Proco “Joe” Morenois expected to introduce an ordinance this month that would set up aChicago Police Department commission on transgender issues. Under discussion are policies on how police should address transgender people, as well as how such individuals should be searched and detained.
“It’s a human rights issue,” Moreno said. “No one in our community should be discriminated against.”
Chicago police declined to comment on the proposed ordinance, but a spokeswoman said in an email that the department is “committed to observing, upholding and enforcing all laws relating to the individual rights of all persons.”
Cicero officials declined to comment on Feliciano’s lawsuit.
The community, said spokesman Ray Hanania, doesn’t “like to see discrimination of any kind.”
Violence against transgender people by police officers is a significant problem all over the country, said Lisa Mottet, a lawyer with the Washington-based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
According to a study released by the task force and the Washington-based National Center for Transgender Equality in 2011, about 1 in 5 who completed surveys and reported interactions with police said they had experienced harassment or abuse.
About 60 percent of African-American, Latino and other transgender women of color reported such abuse. In addition, almost half of the 6,450 people participating in the survey said they did not feel comfortable seeking help from police, the study said.
Feliciano’s case is strikingly similar to others, said her lawyer, Joey Mogul.
“Her experience rings so true,” said Mogul, an attorney from the People’s Law Office.
When she was arrested on the evening of Feb. 6, 2011, Feliciano was walking with a transgender friend in the 1400 block of Cicero Avenue. Prostitutes reportedly are a common sight there, according to the lawsuit.
Feliciano and her companion intended to get dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant when an unmarked police car pulled into her path, she said.
WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) —- Police say a transgender woman who was found stabbed in Northeast Washington Thursday evening has died.
METRO Transit Police tell 9NewsNow that the stabbing happened at about eight o’clock in the 4900 block of East Capitol Street, at a bus stop. The transgender victim apparently had an altercation with another individual, a black male in his forties, wearing a striped hat and a black coat.
That suspect allegedly stabbed the victim in the head. She fell to the ground. Passersby flagged down a passing Metro Transit Police officer who administered aid until ambulance workers took over and took the victim to Prince George’s County Hospital Center. It was not until she was on the operating table in grave condition that doctors determined that she was transgender.
Friday morning, police said that the victim had died and now the incident is being investigated as a homicide.
Earlier Thursday, Russell Brock-Smith was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attacking a transgender woman in broad daylight in Northwest Washington last summer. Police say the 26 year old tried to steal the victim’s purse but, when she refused to give up the purse, he pulled her hair, punched her in the head, and tried to pull her into a nearby alley.
A jury convicted him of assault with intent to rob.
This is an updated report by 9NewsNow. An earlier report by the station misidentified the victim as “a man who was dressed as a woman,” as well as referred to her by the wrong pronouns. The video included on the linked page (as well as the URL) is from the original misgendering report. Special thanks to DC trans advocates who are working to see that erroneous and inappropriate reports like the original broadcast are corrected.