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.
“The Office of Human Rights transgender and gender identity non-discrimination campaign will appear throughout DC in Fall and Winter of 2012. The campaign will feature five transgender or gender non-conforming people in a series of five ads. The campaign aims to increase understanding of the community, reduce discriminatory incidents in DC and increase reporting of discrimination when it happens.”
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A decade ago, voters in Buffalo approved a local law that provided full civil rights protections to transgender residents.
But New York State, despite its proud, progressive history, has fallen behind its second-largest city — and 16 states — in protecting the essential civil rights of hundreds of thousands of transgender and gender non-conforming residents.
For these New Yorkers, the simplest and most fundamental parts of their identity — their clothing, their appearance, their name—expose them to hostility, exclusion and sometimes even violence.
People who are transgender or whose appearance does not conform to gender stereotypes often suffer persistent discrimination and harassment. They face challenges earning a living, finding housing and enjoying life’s necessities and simple pleasures.
But there is no state law that explicitly prohibits discrimination against transgender or gender non-conforming people. The Gender Expression Non- Discrimination Act, or GENDA, will remedy this injustice. Passed on April 30 by the Assembly, GENDA has the broad support of legislators, law enforcement and advocacy groups that seek to guarantee civil-rights protections and safety — for everyone.
Like all New Yorkers, transgender and gender non-conforming people deserve freedom from harassment, mistreatment and exclusion. Everyone deserves equal access to housing, employment, education and public facilities, like restaurants, stores and doctor’s offices.
New Yorker Kym Dorsey lived the first half of her life as Kenny before transitioning to life as a woman. “We are all human,” Dorsey observed.
“We bleed the same. We are taxpayers — we have sisters, mothers, brothers, uncles. Who decides who’s better, who’s more deserving of humanity?”
We can’t afford to look the other way when the rights of any New Yorkers are violated. Ending institutionally approved discrimination is a matter of essential civil and human rights.
It is a nonpartisan issue that merits the support of every elected leader in the state — and members of the New York State Senate in particular.
Enacting GENDA is not a radical departure from long-held values. Many of New York’s towns, cities and counties have, like Buffalo, enacted laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender expression and gender identity.
But all New Yorkers deserve the same protection. The right to live free from discrimination should not depend on a person’s ZIP code.
Adults who want sex-change surgery or hormone therapy in Argentina will be able to get it as part of their public or private health care plans under a gender rights law approved Wednesday.
The measure also gives people the right to specify how their gender is listed at the civil registry when their physical characteristics don’t match how they see themselves.
Senators approved the Gender Identity law by a vote of 55-0, with one abstention and more than a dozen senators declaring themselves absent — the same margin that approved a “death with dignity” law earlier in the day.
President Cristina Fernandez threw her support behind the law and is expected to sign it. She has often said how proud she is that Argentina became Latin America’s first nation to legalize gay marriage two years ago, enabling thousands of same-sex couples to wed and enjoy the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples.
For many, gender rights were the next step.
Any adult will now be able to officially change his or her gender, image and birth name without having to get approval from doctors or judges — and without having to undergo physical changes beforehand, as many U.S. jurisdictions require.
“It’s saying you can change your gender legally without having to change your body at all. That’s unheard of,” said Katrina Karkazis, a Stanford University medical anthropologist and bioethicst who wrote a book, “Fixing Sex,” about the medical and legal treatment of people whose physical characteristics don’t fully match their gender identity.
“There’s a whole set of medical criteria that people have to meet to change their gender in the U.S., and meanwhile this gives the individual an extraordinary amount of authority for how they want to live. It’s really incredible,” she said.
When Argentines want to change their bodies, health care companies will have to provide them with surgery or hormone therapy on demand. Such treatments will be included in the “Obligatory Medical Plan,” which means both private and public providers will not be able to charge extra for the services.
“This law is going to enable many of us to have light, to come out of the darkness, to appear,” said Sen. Osvaldo Lopez of Tierra del Fuego, the only openly gay national lawmaker in Argentina.
“There are many people in our country who also deserve the power to exist,” Lopez said.
Children also get a voice under the law: Youths under 18 who want to change their genders gain the right to do so with the approval of their legal guardians. But if parents or guardians want a gender identity change and don’t have the child’s consent, then a judge must intervene to ensure the child’s rights are protected.
Argentina need not worry about vast numbers of people demanding sex changes, Karkazis predicted.
“This isn’t going to create a huge demand on the national health system for these procedures. They’re difficult, painful, irreversible. And this is why many people don’t do it,” she said.
But because the law says people can legally change their identities without having to undergo genital surgery or hormone therapy, these changes can be more benign and even reversible, if some day the person’s self-image changes.
Other countries, including neighboring Uruguay, have passed gender rights laws, but Argentina’s “is in the forefront of the world” because of these benefits it guarantees, said Cesar Cigliutti, president of the Homosexual Community of Argentina.
“This is truly a human right: the right to happiness,” Sen. Miguel Pichetto said during the debate.
GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, passed in the New York Assembly on Monday and is now headed to the Senate, where it has failed the previous five times the Assembly passed it. A report issued yesterday by the NYCLU highlights just how essential this piece of legislation is:
"A 2009 national survey that included 531 transgender people in New York found that 74 percent reported harassment or mistreatment on the job and 20 percent lost a job or were denied a promotion. In addition, 53 percent were verbally harassed or denied service at hotels and restaurants and 49 percent reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance. Also, 18 percent had become homeless because of their transgender status and 27 percent were either denied an apartment or were evicted. And 17 percent were refused medical care due to their gender expression, the survey said."
This is literally life or death for people, and Governor Cuomo hasn’t voiced his support for the bill yet. A version of GENDA has been passed in several cities (including NYC) but that won’t cut it—this is about the very most basic civil rights for trans and non-gender-conforming people. It is awesome that gay people can get married, and I appreciate the Governor’s outspoken support for that bill, but if he’s truly an advocate for LGBTQI rights, this right here is the bill to push through.
Without the guarantee of housing and jobs, trans people—trans women especially, and trans women of color especially especially—are at even higher risk for violence and abuse. The statistics are chilling. Trans women are more likely to be targets of violence, less likely to receive proper medical care, more like to be abused by cops, more likely to be raped. In the last month, Paige Clay and Brandy Martell were murdered, and CeCe McDonald is facing jail time for defending herself against a group of attackers screaming epithets and smashing glass in her face. The violence against trans and non-gender-conforming people is so endemic that the community has an annual Day of Remembrance to commemorate people killed because of their gender presentation JUST THAT YEAR.
GENDA is no joke, yet where are the celebrities leaning on legislators to pass it? Where is the news coverage? Where is Governor Cuomo? What’s Occupy Wall Street doing? This is the very most basic civil right stuff: the right to equal employment consideration, the right to housing, the right to medical care, the right to protection from police and (optimistically) by police. NYCLU’s Melissa Goodman:
“‘New York is really falling behind on transgender rights,’ Goodman said. ‘We were a leader in the marriage fairness fight. It’s really time for New York to be the same kind of leader in the transgender equality fight.’”
C’mon everybody. Let’s pass this thing.
In an unprecedented move for the organization, Chicago House has unveiled a new nine-bedroom facility to house transgender people on Chicago’s North Side.
The organization opened up the building for tours at a special meeting of Chicago’s Transgender Coalition April 18.
"We plan for this to be a safe haven and residential facility for transgender persons," said Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House.
Nine transgender people will live in the four-story house before year’s end.
Chicago House formerly used the building for hospice services, but as HIV-related deaths have slowed, the need for the site diminished. What has not diminished, said Sloan, is the need for affirming housing and support for transgender people. The location of the building is not being made public, due to concerns that doing so might make it a target for anti-trans violence.
The building will house transgender people regardless of their HIV status and connect them to case management, job training, healthcare, workshops and other services. Dr. Robert Garofalo, an HIV expert at Children’s Memorial Hospital, and others from his department will administer health services at the site weekly.
The announcement represents an expansion of services and cultural competency for Chicago House, an organization that has served HIV-positive for more than 25 years. According to Sloan, all Chicago House staff members have received a day-long transgender training.
The idea for the project was inspired by Trisha Holloway, a young transgender woman who was kicked out her house at age 18 when she came out as trans. At age 21, Holloway got connected with Chicago House and began working at Sweet Miss Giving’s, the organization’s transitional job bakery.
Sloan said that Holloway said she felt unsupported as a trans person at the bakery.
"She educated us more than we educated her," said Sloan.
Chicago House staff also reported that many transgender people arrive for Chicago House services dressed as their birth-assigned gender because they are afraid to be out. The organization is hoping to curb some of that fear in directly taking up transgender issues.
In addition to launching the housing project, Chicago House will begin a job placement and training program for transgender people similar to its iFour program for people with HIV (iFour stands for Increase Individual Income and Independence).
Sloan said that program as a 40 percent success rate of placing people with HIV into jobs. That number jumps to 70 percent for Chicago House clients in supportive housing, he added.
Job workshops will deal specifically with issues facing transgender people, such as when to come out as trans to an employer and what rights trans employees have. Clients will also be paired with mentors in the community who will help train them in specific careers.
Finally, Chicago House will do outreach and education to employers about transgender people in an effort combat the job discrimination that faces trans people at alarming rates.
Chicago House will also be hiring transgender people to staff the new house and programs, Sloan said.
Sloan emphasized the role of other organizations in making the project happen. Chicago House will be teaming up with agencies like Center on Halsted to make the project a reality. Pete Subkoviak of AIDS Foundation of Chicago has also been instrumental in the process, Sloan said.
All told, the new housing will cost an estimated $250,000 a year. Sloan hopes to get that money through a grant. The building is ready for occupancy, he said, and the program can launch almost immediately after the funds are secured.
Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal and other LGBT advocacy organizations are dropping support for a police transgender protections ordinance introduced in City Council last month due to compromises made to the language, which they say, damaged the effectiveness of the policy.
In its current form, the ordinance provisions would be overseen by existing City Council committees. Specifically, police would have to report to the Human Relations and Public Relations committees, instead of a new, transgender issues committee or commission. Several iterations of the bill were drafted before it was introduced by Moreno, who told Chicago Phoenix at the time of introduction, that the bill introduced was “strong” and was a “good compromise” with police.
“The ordinance in its current form is not strong enough because key provisions like training and enforcement that we think are important are missing,” Clark said. “Passing something weaker and then strengthening it later is not always the best way to go. You might not be there later.”
Read the full article here.
Less than a week after Maryland lawmakers approved same-sex marriage, a state legislative committee has turned its attention to another contentious issue: whether to forbid discrimination against transgender people.
The Senate Judicial Proceedings committee heard testimony this week on a bill that would prohibit discrimination in public accommodations, housing and employment based on “gender identity,” which would take its place alongside race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation and disability.
Unlike same-sex marriage, the transgender discrimination ban is not part of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D) agenda. But last May, following a nationally publicized beating of a transgender woman in Baltimore County, O’Malley released a statement saying “more must be done to protect the rights and dignity” of transgender people.
At least 13 states, the District and more than 100 counties and cities nationwidehave laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. Four local governments in Maryland have approved such measures: Baltimore and Montgomery, Howard and Baltimore counties.
“Now we need statewide protections for the kids across Maryland who are not so lucky,” Catherine Hyde of Howard County, who has an 18-year-old transgender daughter, said in her testimony to state senators.
“The degree of discrimination that transgender people suffer is exceptionally severe,” said Eva Hersh, a Baltimore physician who said she treats many transgender patients. “Many people question the right of transgender individuals to exist at all,” she said.
At a lengthy hearing on Tuesday, transgender residents of Maryland told senators of being fired, harassed or denied promotions because of their gender identity. Baltimore resident Jenna Fischetti said she lost her job at a luxury car dealership a few days after a co-worker, who knew Fischetti as a male, saw her dressed as a woman. “There’s no excuse for that. Absolutely none,” Fischetti said.
The Baltimore County Council passed its transgender discrimination ban only last week, on a 5-2 vote, almost a year after Chrissy Lee Polis, a 22-year-old transgender woman, was attacked as she tried to use the bathroom at a Rosedale McDonald’s restaurant. A video of the incident, taken by a McDonald’s employee and circulated on YouTube, sparked national controversy.
The debate surrounding the Baltimore County bill centered largely on bathrooms, with many detractors claiming the protections regarding public accommodations would lead to women being sexually assaulted by men pretending to be women.
Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery), the bill’s lead sponsor, said he considered playing the McDonald’s beating video during Tuesday’s hearing, but he “didn’t want to play to people’s fears about bathrooms.”
One committee member, Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County), voiced such a concern, saying a statewide anti-discrimination law could be seen by some men as a license to enter a female bathroom. “I’m worried about someone who wakes up one day and says, look what the state of Maryland just did. I feel like a woman today,” he said.
Supporters of the bill said such incidents have not occurred in states and municipalities that have passed transgender protections.
Several Maryland women testified in opposition to the bill, citing bathroom safety concerns. In addition, a handful of religious advocacy groups filed letters opposing the bill. The Maryland Catholic Conference argued giving explicit protection to transgender people would be a “fundamental violation of our society’s basic understanding of the human person.”
Last year, the House of Delegates passed a bill that would have provided greater anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in the areas of housing, employment and lending. That bill died in the Senate, however. In 2010, a similar bill had hearings in both chambers but received no further action.
Representative Kelly Cassidy has filed a bill in the Illinois House of Representatives that would amend the Criminal Code of 1961 to include “gender identity, military status and immigration status” with regards to hate crimes. The bill was authored by The Civil Rights Agenda.
TCRA executive director Anthony Martinez stated
“This is an extremely important bill for the transgender community, and we are very grateful to Representative Cassidy for sponsoring legislation that will advance transgender rights in Illinois. Transgender individuals face pervasive discrimination in every aspect of their lives, and we work with an unconscionable number of transgender individuals who have experienced violence simply because they are transgender.
“A report released last July by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAPV) shows that transgender women make up 44 percent of all LGBT murder victims. The study also reported a troubling 13 percent rise in anti-LGBT hate crimes in 2010, and, unfortunately, there is constant violence that goes unreported. Many of the transgender folks who come to us, especially transgender women, say that they don’t feel comfortable reporting an assault because they think they are either going to face police harassment, or they are not going to be seen as a victim but as the person who brought on the attack. The NCAPV study found that over half of survivors did not report the event to the police. Of those who did go to the police, over 60 percent said authorities were ‘indifferent, abusive or deterrent.’ This response was most common among transgender people of color–those most likely to be victim to a crime.”
TCRA political and policy director Lowell Jaffe stated “As a member organization of the LGBTQ Immigration Coalition, and as an organization that works with many transgender individuals that have experienced crimes motivated by hate and discrimination, as well as an organization that fought for the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and is committed to the needs of LGBT service members and veterans, we recognized that hate crime protections in Illinois must be expanded. The federal Hate Crimes Act includes crimes committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but limitations to federal jurisdiction and State’s rights create strict limitations as to when federal agencies can act on a hate crime here in Illinois. This law will allow our state to prosecute these crimes more effectively.”
After a transgender women was brutally stabbed last week in our nation’s capital, it was announced just a day later that she died as the result of the attack. And while we wish we could say this was a rare event, the reality is that all too often those within the transgender and gender queer communities are regularly the victims of violent assaults. In Philly, there are many still open cases involving transgender people – like Nizah Morris, who died of a headwound shortly after being released from police custody in 2002. The case still hasn’t been solved.
The LGBT community has made some important strides in recent years, but it’s not always true for those like Deoni Jones – this latest victim in Washington D.C.
Jones was just 22 years old when she was stabbed at a bus stop on East Capitol Street on Thursday. It was about 8:15 p.m. – and by early Friday morning, the transgender woman was pronounced dead from the injuries sustained by an unknown assailant.
Many within the LGBT community are not only furious about the ongoing violence directed at the transgender community, but also the way in which the mainstream press reports it. In this case, a few D.C. news outlets failed to refer to Jones transgender, and instead, said she was a man who lived as a woman.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the transphobic language deployed by several media outlets last night and this morning,” said Jason Terry of the D.C. Transgender Coalition. “While we certainly agree that the general public needs to be aware of trans community’s losses and successes, it is imperative that members of the press refer to trans people in a way that respects each person’s gender identity or expression.”
Here in Philly, we want to remind you that there are also resources available from the Transgender Health Action Coalition, including a 24-hour hotline: 215-732-1207.
The coalition has also published a helpful safety guide that, quite frankly, is worth reading no matter what your gender or sexual orientation may be. You can access it by clicking here.
For transgender and gender non-conforming people (TGNC), using the bathroom matching our gender identity or presentation can often be complicated and sometimes dangerous. What rights do we have to use the bathroom of our choice? How can we safety plan for spaces in which this right is not recognized?
Join AVP and community allies on February 9th from 7-9PM for a discussion on bathroom access. We will share our experiences with accessing the bathrooms of our choice, discuss how to safety plan around potential incidents, and identify key areas for further organizing on this issue.
Snacks and refreshments will be served!
Metrocards will also be available.
DIRECTIONS TO OUR OFFICE:
240 West 35th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues
(take A/C/E/2/3/1/N/R/Q/F/D/B to 34th Street)
RSVP here or to Joyce Choi Li, Local Organizer, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Jakata Globe reports that Yulianus Rettoblaut, known as Mami Yuli (Mother Yuli) announced on Friday that she wanted to represent Indonesia’s waria (transgender) community in the country’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komnnas-Ham).
Speaking outside the Komnas-Ham in Central Jakarta after she submitted her application, Yuli said: ‘Human rights cases implicating transgendered people have never been resolved. I hope that I can fill the position to solve those problems.’ She cited education and caring for elderly transgender people who were often homeless as her priorities.
The National Commission on Human Rights was set up in Indonesia in 1993 and is an independent state agency charged with monitoring and mediation of human rights issues. Yuli, who is head of the Communication Forum of Indonesia Transgender and holds a law degree, will have to be selected by the commission’s leadership to gain a place.
Indonesia has a significant transgender population but they face discrimination at school, when they seek employment and over who they can marry.