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.
Family, friends and the House of Xtravaganza mourn the loss of Lorena Escalera with vigil outside her home.
Within hours of CeCe McDoanld’s plea bargain with Minneapolis prosecutors to second degree manslaughter, members of her local support committee were gearing up for another round of media and an evening visit at the local jail. McDonald is a black transgender woman who was charged with second degree murder after a fight in June of 2011 at an area bar left one man, Dean Schmitz, dead. She and her supporters have argued that the case is one of self defense after Schwartz and his friends began attacking McDonald with racist and homophobic slurs. Sentencing is set to take place next month, but the plea deal stipulates that McDonald will spend 41 months — just over three and a half years — in prison.
McDonald’s case has sparked a national outcry in part because it’s so familiar. For many, the case is eerily familiar to that of the New Jersey 4, in which four black lesbians were charged with attempted murder and sent to prison after protecting themselves from a a group of white men who’d threatened to “fuck them straight.” Time and again, people of color whose gender identities fall outside of societal norms fall prey to a deeply flawed criminal justice system. When they’re feared, they become victims. When they fight back, they become criminals.
On her blog, McDonald’s written candidly about the need to tackle hate. “No matter where you go, or community you live in, people will continue to discriminate,” McDonald wrote. “And as long as we do not stand up for our equality, we allow them to have the upper hand against us. I feel that is our duty to give these people the awareness and education about whom we truly are, and not whom they assume we are.”
Outside of the courtroom last night, McDonald’s supporters criticized the prosecution.
“[Hennepin County Attorney Michael] Freeman’s aggressive prosecution of CeCe was a continuation of the racist, transphobic assault that led to her being charged and resulted in the tragic death of one of the assailants,” said Kris Gebhard of the CeCe McDonald Support Committee. “We’ve been proud to stand with CeCe as she fought this unjust prosecution and will continue to stand with her as she fights for justice as a trans woman of color within the prison system.”
To bring that point home, Katie Burgess of the Trans Youth Support Network told a crowd of supporters outside the courthouse, “With the whole world watching, Freeman’s office consistently chose not to take the opportunity to stand up against racism and transphobia. Freeman himself said, and I quote, ‘The criminal justice system is not built for, nor is it necessarily good at, solving a lot of society’s problems.’”
I spoke with Billy Navarro of the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition. Navarro’s been an active member of the Support CeCe Coalition, which has been working to spread the word about McDonald’s case and offer support to CeCe throughout her incarceration.
What has this case meant for Minneapolis’s LGBT community?
I think it’s definitely galvanized us in a certain way — for those of us who were paying attention to it. I’m not gonna front like everyone was paying attention to it. I think we saw the division lines between trans folks and queer folks on one side, and gays and lesbians on another side. It took a lot for us to get local, mainstream GLBT organizations and media outlets to pay attention to CeCe’s story. A lot of it was the push from the trans and queer community. If anything, it kind of brought some of those divisions to light and made the rest of us really, really come together.
The Support Committee is a bunch of different people who’ve never worked together and came from different parts of life and very different communities who came together for CeCe. So I think there are are some really big positives in that manner.
I’m just really excited about all the different people who came together to work with CeCe.
What kinds of local and national support has CeCe gotten?
I think she’s gotten a lot of national support from a lot of different organizations. Gay and lesbian and transgender; POC and white. There are labor unions that are not even part of queer or GLBT organizing that are behind it. Lawyer’s organizations — the National Lawyer’s Guild — put in a support letter a couple days ago. The support nationally and internationally has been super diverse amongst many, many different communities. Again, they’re coming together because they see this as an injustice.
One of the things that makes this case so sad is that it’s so familiar. For instance, there’s also the case of the New Jersey 4. What push are you making to confront institutional change?
I think a lot of what we’ve seen is that this work is seen as a reaction to what happened to CeCe. I think CeCe’s seen it as a bigger picture thing. It’s put a spotlight on what it’s like for trans women of color here in all these different systems — whether it’s the shelter system [PDF] or the prison industrial complex [PDF].
I think exposing that and talking about it and bringing into the mainstream media helps at least start the conversation to change those systems.
What happens now? What kinds of support are you planning for CeCe while she’s in prison?
We’re gonna continue support, and we’ve always said that from the beginning. Whatever CeCe needs from us, that’s what we’re here for. However CeCe wanted us to be supportive of her, that’s what we’re here for. We have visitation with her this evening, so we’ll talk about what she wants us to do. But we’re ready. Ride or die, whatever she wants. We’re in this for the long haul, so if it’s visiting her in jail, or needing to get stories out about her — whatever she wants, whatever she needs. For as long as she needs it.
A social worker at Taskforce Prevention and Community Services, is organizing a community event to call for answers in the murder of Paige Clay, a transgender woman who was killed on the city’s West Side on Monday morning.
Brian Turner, the organizer, said the motivation for this event is also due to the dissatisfaction over the police investigation.
“My main reason for doing this is because it seems like it is in the process of being swept under the mat,” he said.
Clay, who was 23, was found with a gunshot wound to her forehead early Monday morning in an alley behind the 4500 block of West Jackson Boulevard. Area North detectives are investigation the case and no suspects are in custody. Initial information obtained from police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office could not confirm her gender identity.
Turner, who runs a program for transgender women called Women of Many Voices of which Clay was a member, has taken it upon himself to be a voice for the now silenced Clay.
This silence is also coming from investigators and Cook County officials, according to Turner. He said he has contacted numerous officials and investigators and has not been contacted in return. Turner was also turned away from identifying Clay’s body because he was not considered immediate family.
Turner describes Clay as an adopted member of his family via his aunt, Denise Turner, who was a foster mother to Clay.
“Why should it matter if I’m not immediate family if my aunt was her foster mother? This is the woman that raised her, who took her into her own home,” he said.
Cook County has given Turner 90 days to wait to see if any biological family makes a claim, something he finds frustrating and confusing.
“She has people who love her who were not her immediate family, but they were family.”
Turner knows what it is like to be a “ward of the state” and was one himself until his grandmother took him in, he said. Clay never had that advantage of a loving mother father home, but that she did have a community and a life, he explained.
Clay was well known in the ball community and held down several part-time jobs in the area.
“She was a human being just like anyone else and she was trying to do better,” Turner said.
The event, Justice for Paige, will be held at Taskforce, located at 9 N. Cicero Ave. Tuesday, May 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. More details will be updated on posted on that page.
The event is intended to bring the community together to share useful information about the murder. The event is also meant to heal the community wounded by this event.
“[We want to] do what we can do to bring this person into custody and do what we can do as a community to get us back on track,” Turner said. “Comfort one another and ensure that this does not happen to another trans girl.”
Turner is calling for the police investigating to release what leads they have and to really become involved with the community.
When trans women are under attack, what do we do?
Here are some suggestions for starters:
Here’s a list of ways I’ve come up with for trans people to deal with attacks by radfems.
1. Let some trans people who are being attacked (or, if you’re the one being attacked, then any trans friends you have, especially trans women) know that you appreciate them/their work, that you think they are awesome and lovely, and that you support them, and that you’re glad that they are part of your life.
2. Build community! The cure to poisonous community is not to try to save that community, but to build new, stronger, healthier community. Create events, blogs, youtube videos, art, or whatever you want that will draw in likeminded people and make a safer space for people who are awesome. Or even just have a few trans friends over for dinner (maybe make it a regular thing, or turn it into a bookclub or sex party). Eventually, most of the jerks will give up being jerks and come to the cool side of things that you’ve created.
I was coaxed into writing one more article about the term “tranny.” This time, it’s more of an emotional appeal than an argumentative one. Check it out.
“I want to be clear I have no investment in policing anyone’s language, if for no other reason than that’s a full time job and I’ve got better things to be doing. I’m not going to start any boycotts. I’m not going to nag and lecture. I’m not going to leave angry comments on your Facebook page. I just think that trans men and other female assigned trans folks should be aware of the impact of using that word and the alienating effect it has on many trans women. I give performances, and if I was ever alienating a lot of folks, I would want to know, especially if I was alienating people along lines of oppression.”
Gendercast Episode 21: Transmisogyny: Interview with Tobi Hill-Meyer
Join Gendercast for our interview with Tobi Hill-Meyer as she so eloquently discusses transmisogyny, language about gender, analyses on the word *transmasculine and creates new meaning(s), pronouns, and her experiences at both Michfest and the Butch Voices national conference as a trans woman. She’ll tell us all about her unique narrative, being raised by second-wave feminist parents, and expands categories beyond the limits of a binary narrative of being socialiazed according to one’s sex assigned at birth. Also, there’s a nice smutty treat for you at the end of the episode, compliments of BB Rydell.
Tobi also talks about some of her projects, including:
her film, Genderfellator
the Brazen safe sex guide for Trans women Tobi mentions
the No More Apologies: Queer Trans and Cis Women Coming/Cumming Together! conference Tobi tell us about (this fb event for the conference in is the past, but has all the info)
Julia Serano’s book The Whipping Girl
If you liked his closing piece, also check out BB Rydell’s film Robin Hood is So Gay