Archive for June, 2010
Coming the day after many trans people around the world have celebrated LGBT Pride, it’s sobering to remember that even the small gains in civil rights and social justice for which many have fought are still brutally denied to others of our community. Via email from the Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide monitoring and research project comes this disturbing news from Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia about the situation for our sisters there:
Transgender Europe’s “Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide” research project receives a lot of information on the situation of trans people worldwide. At the moment we are particularly concerned about the situation in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.
LGBT people in general have to live under extreme conditions and at the moment especially the transwomen of Ulaanbaatar are subject to physical violence, gang rapes, abductions, and death threats. They are being told that they will be killed if they continue to be who they are. The perpetrators belong to a well-organized ultranationalist group, which is protected by the police. We received all this information from the Mongolian LGBT Centre, the only group that cares for LGBT people and especially for the transwomen in Mongolia. They managed to get two transwomen out of the country after they received death threats. In February they produced a really shocking documentary.
Here is the documentary, called The Lies of Liberty, broken into three parts on YouTube, with English subtitles:
The transwoman appearing in the documentary has received a death threat after the documentary was shown. The Mongolian LGBT Centre managed to get her out of the country.
The Mongolian LGBT Centre has no funding and its activists are working voluntarily and under extreme conditions as they are threatened by the ultranationalist group, too. They already tried to abduct an activist.
I think it is absolutely important and urgent that we support them, exchange with them and include them in our networking and movement.
At present the Mongolian LGBT Centre is leading the development of non-discrimination legislation. This will be a long-term process, but it is a much-needed step forward in terms of the protection of human rights in Mongolia. Last weekend they started filming an awareness campaign for LGBT rights, using high-profile people from a range of different fields, which will be broadcasted over a series of months with accompanying informational and promotional material.
If you have any means to support them (financially, knowledge-wise, contacts etc), please do so and contact them at:
Thank you very much for your support!
Curtsey to Carla at Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide for the heads-up
Idaho GOP move to define marriage to exclude transgenders
Measure: Bond is between ‘naturally born’ man and woman
Idaho doesn’t recognize gay or lesbian marriage, but some Republicans want the state to go a step further.
A panel of GOP delegates at the state party’s convention passed a measure Friday to define marriage as a bond between a “naturally born” man and woman, effectively barring transgenders.
Bannock County delegate Ralph Lilling says his amendment to the state party’s platform will help further protect the traditional family unit.
But Donna Montgomery, a delegate from Kootenai County, argued that the additional language was unnecessary because people from Idaho understand man is a man and a woman is a woman.
The measure still has to go before the full convention for approval.
Words fail me. So here’s some music instead.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a cis man’s violent street harassment of a woman who was waiting at a Seattle bus stop, minding her own business. Now, via KOMO News I see the case has reached the courts (minor edits for clarity):
A man charged with a hate crime for the bus stop beating of a transgender woman pleaded not guilty to the charge on Thursday.
Daniel Patrick Woodward is charged with malicious harassment in connection with the incident at the bus stop at NW Market St. and 15th Ave. NW on May 30.
According to charging documents, Woodward approached the victim, who was dressed as a woman and identifies as one, punched and kicked [her], called [her] a derogatory term for homosexual and said, “You ought to die and go to hell!”
A witness also heard disparaging comments related to the victim’s gender or sexual orientation and told police it was clear Woodward was attacking the victim because she was transgender, charging documents say.
Woodward appeared intoxicated at the time of arrest, according to police. He currently is being held on $250,000 bail at the King County Jail.
At the time of his arrest, Woodward had a no-bail felony warrant for escape. He has had numerous prior convictions, including for malicious harassment, assault, and reckless endangerment.
Via WPATH’s website:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2010
The Board of Directors of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), in the interest of the health and well-being of transgender and transsexual people world-wide, issued today, 16 June 2010, the following identity recognition statement:
No person should have to undergo surgery or accept sterilization as a condition of identity recognition. If a sex marker is required on an identity document, that marker could recognize the person’s lived gender, regardless of reproductive capacity. The WPATH Board of Directors urges governments and other authoritative bodies to move to eliminate requirements for identity recognition that require surgical procedures.
Via Associated Press:
A special committee to investigate hate crimes has been created in Puerto Rico, where advocates say gay and transgender people are the victims of an “epidemic” of violence.
The announcement by the attorney general was cheered Saturday by activists who complain the government has yet to invoke 2002 legislation establishing harsher penalties for crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“I think this is a step in the right direction to start to collect statistics that are vital to curb the crisis of violence against the gay community in Puerto Rico,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, a native of the U.S. territory and spokesman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Serrano said 25 slayings of gay and transgender people in the past eight years may have been motivated by bias [...]
The new government committee involves agencies including the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Juan, police officials and the island’s civil rights commission, according to a statement release by the attorney general late Friday.
“With the creation of this committee, we will document the extent of hate crimes,” said Attorney General Guillermo Somoza Colombani, who added that the data will help develop policies to attend to the victims.
A recent string of high-profile slayings, however, has put pressure on the government. Some of the cases have received broad local news media coverage, including the April killing of a 31-year-old transgender beauty salon owner.
“It’s sort of an epidemic,” Serrano said. “It’s too much to be ignored.”
Surgery not required to change gender on passports
Transgender travelers no longer will need surgery in order to change their stated genders on U.S. passports, the State Department said Wednesday.
Beginning Thursday, a transgender person applying for a U.S. passport will just need to show a physician’s certification that the applicant has “undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition” to declare a new gender on a passport, the department said.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said appropriate treatment could mean surgery for some patients and non-surgical care for others.
The State Department said there are guidelines detailing what the certification must include, but no other medical records are required. The government also said it’s possible to obtain a temporary passport if a physician’s statement shows that an applicant is in the process of gender transition.
Under previous rules, the State Department would only change the sex on passports if travelers had completed sexual reassignment surgeries, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.
But Keisling said that policy put some transgender people in jeopardy when they traveled through countries where changing genders is dangerous.
The State Department says the new policy is based on standards and recommendations from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
“Sexual reassignment surgery is no longer a prerequisite for passport issuance,” [the State Department] said in a statement.
From June 10, “when a passport applicant presents a certification from an attending medical physician that the applicant has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition, the passport will reflect the new gender,” the statement said.
“As with all passport applicants, passport issuing officers at embassies and consulates abroad and domestic passport agencies and centers will only ask appropriate questions to obtain information necessary to determine citizenship and identity.”
The State Department said the new rules mean “it is also possible to obtain a limited-validity passport if the physician’s statement shows the applicant is in the process of gender transition. No additional medical records are required.”
Definitions of “appropriate”, anyone (“appropriate clinical treatment“, and “appropriate questions“)?
Edited to add: The State Department’s press release announcing the new policy is here.
The official document containing the full details of the policy (including details of the criteria to be met; the list of required documents; model letters, etc) is available for download from the State Department’s website – here’s a direct link to the 8-page PDF – or I’ve saved a copy locally here on QT.
A man has been found guilty of murdering a woman he visited for sex and setting fire to her Brighton flat.
Neil McMillan, 42, applied “unremitting pressure” to Andrea Waddell’s neck at her flat in Upper Lewes Road on 15 October last year.
Addressing McMillan, of Bennett Road, Brighton, after the verdict, Judge Michael Lawson QC said : “What you did that night brought to an end a life which in many views was one of relentless difficulty faced with extreme courage.”
“The person you killed was a person who always sought to overcome difficulties.”
“On the other hand, faced with a difficulty in that flat, whatever that was, you chose to take it out on her.
“You strangled her, with relentless pressure for over 20 seconds. There was the distinction between you and her.”
And he added: “Once you lost control, for whatever reason and which cannot be regarded as justified, you formed the intention to destroy her, to kill her.”
“It wasn’t an accident and you continued to hold her round her neck, crushing the neck structures until she was dead.”
“Having done that you then dragged her back into the bedroom and set fire to her and set fire to the bed on which together you had laid.”
“The reason was that you were frightened that there would be some trace of your presence in that flat to prove that in fact you were the last person to have seen her.”
A man was charged Thursday with malicious harassment — the state’s hate crime statute — after police said he yelled a derogatory slur at a transgender woman and assaulted her.
Court documents allege the suspect, 51-year-old Daniel Patrick Woodward, told the victim she “ought to die and go to hell” after yelling the slur. [Via Seattle PI]
“The victim was waiting minding her own business when the suspect approached her and without provocation began assaulting her,” said Renee Witt, Seattle Police spokesperson. “Apparently he punched her in the face a number of times, threw her to the ground and kicked her.” [Via King5]
The Ballard victim told police she was fearful for her life and wanted to have medical attention for face and neck pain. She was taken to Ballard Swedish Hospital.
A witness who reported seeing Woodward yelling at the victim after the assault followed the suspect as he walked into a nearby store. He later pointed out the suspect to officers.
Police say Woodward was found near Northwest 54th Street and 14th Avenue Northwest and arrested for investigation of assault.
“The suspect appeared intoxicated and had a strong odor of intoxicants,” Officer Trung Nguyen wrote in an incident report. “He would not respond to my questions of whether he understood his rights.”
The victim was ashamed that someone would assault her based on gender, according to police. Nguyen photographed the victim’s injuries as evidence, and a witness said she did not fight back. [Via Seattle PI]
There’s also coverage in The Seattle Times but the misgendering by the writer, staff reporter Susan Kelleher, is pretty close to hate speech of itself, in my opinion. I realise that the police report also misgenders the victim, but I’m not convinced that is reason enough to use the kind of language that Ms Kelleher does – especially when “a police spokeswoman clarified that the victim identifies herself as a woman” [Via].
Curtsey to Stefani for the heads-up
Thankfully, it seems that the fears about the meaning of Tiwonge’s earlier disappearance have been allayed with the news that she and Steven held a short press conference late on Wednesday.
Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, and Steven Monjeza, 26, gave a brief news conference in the administrative capital Lilongwe late Wednesday, their first public appearance together since Saturday’s pardon from the sentence of 14 years’ hard labour imposed after they held a symbolic wedding.
The couple asked the media and the general public to respect their privacy.
“So much has been said and written about us, both positive and negative. We think this is the time for us to be given an opportunity to enjoy our freedom,” they said.
They called their ordeal “the most stressful period in our lives.”
Chimbalanga told AFP in a phone interview that he was in Lilongwe to “have a breather”, while his partner had returned to his village.
Gift Trapence, director of the underground gay movement Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), which paid the couple’s legal fees, said the group was trying to find jobs for Chimbalanga and Monjeza.