Archive for the ‘racism’ tag
Ceridwen Troy posted this about prop 8 on Livejournal today:
The situation with Prop 8 in California has really brought to a head something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. The Gay Rights Movement, such as it is, is dying, and the ugliness we’ve been seeing, both around the passing of Prop 8 and a year ago with the battle over a non-inclusive ENDA, are its very violent death throes.
It’s a movement that I think deserves to die. In its race to mainstream gay and lesbian identity, it has recreated all of the problems that mainstream society already has. We’re seeing its racism in a violent way right now, and over the years we’ve seen its racism, its classism, its sexism, its transphobia, its biphobia, and really, its homophobia played out again and again and again.
The displays of racist hate going on right now in the gay community are sickening, but even worse is the amount of shock and appall coming from white anti-racist gays. You’d think this came out of nowhere, the way so many people are reacting, that gays were never racist until Prop 8, and now that wave of mysteriously sudden racism needs to be condemned so we can go back to being not racist at all. People are literally blind to this, either due to their privilege or due to a willful refusal to see it, they are blind to the fact that this has been going on for as long as there has been a gay rights movement.
Over the past week, a lot of noise has been made about how “No on 8″ needed to reach out to communities of color for their support. But seriously, by the time Prop 8 came up, it was already far too late. futurebird said it: “You can’t wait until something like a vote comes up to build a coalition.” The Gay Rights Movement is an overwhelmingly white one; just as a local example, the agency I work for prides itself on being “at the head of the Gay Rights Movement in Rochester for over thirty-five years.” In those thirty-five years, they hired their first person of color within the last two. Their first full-time staff member who is a person of color didn’t come on board until last month. And yet, people are surprised at the open racism being spouted now. It’s been with us all along, folks, and shit, I’m just an ignorant little white girl. I am so not the first or the only person saying this.
We saw, and continue to see, the transphobia and cissexism of the movement last year surrounding the ENDA bill. Yes, the United ENDA Coalition was a wonderful show of support, but that didn’t change the fact that the largest gay and lesbian rights organization in the country refused to stand with it. That didn’t change the fact that many of the organizations that supported the United ENDA bill could only do so because they realized that gender non-conforming gays and lesbians would be at risk without it; it wasn’t worth their time when they only thought it protected trans folk. That didn’t change the voices of individual gays and lesbians that at best spoke ignorance and at worst shouted hate speech so loudly it’s still ringing in my ears.
And there too, many people thought we were already united, that we were “LGBT” for a reason. The transphobia within the community took many people completely by surprise, when it was there all along. It was there in the way the movement has rewritten history, it was there in the way the movement barred trans folk from its numbers over the decades, it is there today in the way the movement takes legal action against trans folk who stand up for themselves.
In the race to gain equality for their families, the Gay Rights Movement has been all too eager to ignore the needs of others’ families. Single parent families, polyamorous groups, non-married couples; all of these deserve those “more than a thousand rights and privileges” that come with a legally recognized family, and yet the Gay Rights Movement is so single-minded that they will go so far as to assure legislators that they don’t want rights for these families, just for their own.
The situation with Prop 8 has also exposed a disgusting amount of anti-religious sentiment. In the fight to stop people from blaming people of color for its passing, there’s been a wave of “Blame the Catholics and the Mormons!”
They forget, of course, that queer people can have faith as well, and can find a place for that faith within religion. In the movements rabid lust to blame religion for its ills, it forgets the religions that have not shunned us, that have welcomed us, embraced us, loved us. Those places can’t just be a footnote (“Oh yeah, not all churches are bad.”) they need to be the model. People need something to cling to, especially when they aren’t the wealthy white men leading the Gay Rights Movement. For the movement to spout hate of religious groups, pointing their fingers at RELIGION as if it were the monolith keeping them from their “rights,” cuts the movement off from the very heart of many people’s communities.
Of course, the real issue keeping us from our “rights” isn’t religion, it’s homophobia. And what has ultimately doomed the Gay Rights Movement is that the Gay Rights Movement continues to be steeped in the very homophobia it claims to be fighting. Look at the way “No on 8″ was fought. A rush of campaign ads flooded the airwaves, urging people to vote No on Prop 8. Typical scenarios on these ads was the “Surprise! I’m Gay!” moment, where an upstanding young citizen overhears a friend or co-worker wanting to vote Yes, and says “Well, did you know you’d be voting against the rights of people like me if you do?” (It’s problematic enough that “people like me” here excludes people of color, people without a middle class income, people who are visibly queer, etc. etc.) What you don’t see much of in these ads is what the whole fight was about: queer families. This wasn’t a mistake, people make a lot of money putting ads like this together, and the message that they bought into when doing so was that our opposition is right. Queer families aren’t worth defending, they aren’t good enough to show on television, showing them on television might turn people away from voting for the rights of that fine upstanding citizen.
Similarly, when “Yes on 8″ started telling folks that gay marriage would have to be taught in schools, how did “No on 8″ respond? “No, that’s silly! Gay marriage won’t be taught in schools just because it exists!” That is not the answer a person who’s proud of themselves gives. A person who’s proud of their identity challenges the opposition to give proof of why it would be bad for this to happen, why children shouldn’t be taught about our families, about their families.
And how did “No on 8″ respond when they were told that gay marriage would violate the rights of faith groups? “C’mon, folks, that would never happen! Could you just please vote this down? I promise to go back to being a quiet, upstanding citizen afterwards!” What about the religious groups that do sanction same sex marriages? What about their religious freedoms that are also being attacked at the same time gay marriage is? (Of course, that tactic would never take off, cuz the movement’s too preoccupied in thinking that religion is a monolithic evil boogeyman come to get them.)
The movement deserves to die, because in this fight for “rights,” the movement has forgotten about what’s really at stake here: our humanity, our equality, our personhood. It actively denigrates the personhood of those that inconvenience it on its way to “rights”. It gleefully gobbles down the messages about its own members’ personhood, if that will make the issue more palatable for those who hate us. The movement has compartmentalized and sanitized the issues to a convenient gleam, then offers up our mewling gratitude when our oppressors decide they can tolerate the issue as long as they don’t have to acknowledge us in the process. Personhood and humanity and equality are what we need, what every human being needs, and this movement is more than willing to sacrifice that in a game of “rights”.
And algormortis responded:
a lot of noise has been made about how “No on 8″ needed to reach out to communities of color for their support.
i think my problem is more that there was no outreach compounded with the fact that they’re, um, you know, calling us “niggers” now and telling us to “stay out of West Hollywood.” well, i’m not rich enough to be allowed in anyways, but…
i’ve talked to a couple of friends who live in Bayview-Hunters Point in SF (which is, for now, the “black part of town”, though the gentrification is moving in fast) and they didn’t see anyone from the No on 8 campaign with much any presence in their neighborhood. no leafletting, door-knocking, etc. no public education at all. seriously kinda fucked up if you ask me, but i guess they figured we’d just watch TV and see ads full of white people exhorting us to vote no and we’d follow. yeah.
it’s funny you raise the United ENDA Coalition. over a couple of beers last night i explained to one of my starry-eyed friends how, with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate and a Democratic president, i fully expect to see the HRC throw trans people under the bus again.
i can see i now: the logic will be something about “too soon”, all the House members will go on and on about how they have to get reeeeeeeee-electeeeeeeeeed whine whine whine, and then barney frank and his agenda get a shot at it, and boom, y’all are sitting by the curb wondering where the bus went. as the bus peels out, the HRC asks you for money, telling you that your day will come soon, too. of course there’s no timeline, and in another two years, “well, it’s too soon” will come up again. (“Well, we don’t want to lose the PRESIDENCY, now do we?”) the sad part is that to a group like the HRC, it’s always going to be “too soon”. there’s a place and a time for an incremental approach, and that’s not when you’re messing with peoples’ rights.
Renee at Womanist Musings wrote this post that’s left me a bit breathless in reaction. I’ll quote a bit here, but please read the rest at her blog:
I went to see The Miracle of St. Annas this weekend with my good friend L (and no I am not going to blog about the tofu) Back on topic. I went to see this movie because of the way that Hollywood and history has erased the sacrifices of black soldiers during WWII, while elevating someone like John Wayne who never fought a real battle. I went because I wanted to see these men get honoured and feel the kind of connection that is often lacking with the media.
As I sat through this long movie (to be expected with Spike Lee) only one incident really touched me, and it actually had very little to do with the movie itself. The men went into a little restaurant to get a strawberry float in uniform and were denied service and told to go around back. When they refused to leave they were ordered out at gun point. They left but returned fully armed and demanded service.
We no longer have this kind of obvious segregation in our everyday lives but it still exists to some degree. I found myself really relating to this scene as I recalled the times I have been shown cheaper items, or instructed on the stores layaway policy when asking about certain products. I have been in restaurants with white acquaintances where I have not been given a fork to eat with while everyone else around me was supplied with eating utensils. I have gone into empty restaurants and been seated by the washroom. I have had cashiers refuse to put change in my hand, and even heard waitress argue about not serving me. I have stood in line watched as the white person who arrived after me was served before me.
I talk a lot about how feminism fails trans women here, but trans women aren’t the first, or only, group of women that North American feminism has failed. Renee at Womanist Musings writes about how white feminism ignores racism, or even claims that women of color addressing racism is akin to siding with men against women. Or more generally, how second wave feminism fails to address intersectionality when race is involved.
I often engage in conversations with white women in which I accuse them of not owning their race privilege. Quite often the response is, why are you blaming us, and not white males. I believe that this is an important issue to discuss because despite the sisterhood claims of feminism, there actually exists a lot of animosity between WOC and white women.
White women and black men, both focus on the marginalizatio0n that they face from over privileged white men. Though WOC will acknowledge that there is definitely an issue with how the white male body is encoded with power; they are not our sole oppressors. Unlike white women, white men do not have a history offering friendship that ends in betrayal. The relationship between white men and WOC is quite clear…adversarial. Telling us to focus on white men instead of deconstructing their own unearned privileges is an attempt to deflect responsibility.
Feminism has a history of betraying WOC. As it has been noted on this blog and many others, when it came to activism, white women of middle/upper class standing have repeatedly made the movement about their needs and their desires, while at the same time trying to assert a common sisterhood with WOC. When there is filing, coffee making and general menial tasks to be done, then and only then, do WOC matter in any significant way. As we look at who are considered the heroes of second wave feminism the disparity between white women and WOC speaks volumes. Despite the consciousness raising and the ideology of the personal is political, the personal is only validated when it is the experience of white women. White bodies, and white experiences have been utilized to create the monolithic woman.
The rest of the post here.
As a white woman, words like this make me bitter and angry – not at women like Renee who are speaking the truth, but at the white women who have come before and betrayed women of color. As a trans woman, I certainly sympathize with the experience of repeated betrayals from white cis feminism, as well as dealing with feminists who insist upon attacking me while refusing to deconstruct – or even acknowledge – their own privilege.
And feminists – feminism, as a movement – need to acknowledge these betrayals, need to be held accountable for them. White feminists, as a group need to acknowledge our white privilege and check it, not use it against women of color. WoC live with the intersection of racism and sexism and have no choice but to experience both. Demanding that they privilege one over the other (sex over race, race over sex) is demanding that they pretend that some of their oppression doesn’t exist – and never mind the impossibility of separating the two. White society is not sexist against Black women, Latina women, or Asian women in the same way as it is against white women. This also plays out for Black and Latina trans women, who- for example – are described by J Michael Bailey as “especially suited to prostitution.”
Also, check the comments at Renee’s for a privileged white feminist trying to reenact exactly what Renee’s post is about.
Edit: Also read this followup post.
It seems that no matter where we live or what decade we’re talking about, when the justice system concerns transwomen of color, justice is delayed, denied, and disgraceful.
Back in 1998, William Palmer, the man who killed Chanelle Pickett in Boston was given a 2 1/2 year sentence with 6 months suspended, and 5 years probation. Never mind the fact that Palmer strangled Pickett, then slept for six hours next to Chanelle’s lifeless body lying beside his bed before he turned himself in. The judge presiding over the case commented bitterly to the defendant at the time “Mr. Palmer should kiss the ground the defense counsel walks on.”
On August 12, 2002 Stephanie Thomas and Ukea Davis die in a hail of bullets on the same southeast Washington DC street corner that Tyra Hunter died due to EMT neglect. As of this writing there’s not only been no arrest, but the execution style killings aren’t even classified as a hate crime.
Never mind the fact that rumors in the community persist that the trigger men who executed the grisly crime are guys who picked up the two transwomen on dates and found out their transgender status after the fact.
. . .
Once people begin to realize that we’re human beings with hopes, dreams and lives like them, hopefully we’ll begin to see less cases of justice delayed, denied and disgraceful when it comes to transpeople of color and more cases in which justice is served.
Debi Crow has a post up about the EC approving the fingerprinting of all Roma in Italy:
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Italy’s plan to fingerprint Roma people has received a green light from the European Commission, with Brussels’ experts suggesting that the controversial measures are not discriminatory or in breach of EU standards.
A commission spokesman told journalists on Thursday (4 September) that the practice proposed by Italian authorities earlier this year is only aimed at identifying persons “who cannot be identified in any other way” and excludes the collection of “data relating to ethnic origin or the religion of people.”
The centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi sparked protests from human rights organisations and several in the European Parliament after announcing its plan to fingerprint Roma people – including children – as part of a census of Roma camps.
Some critics of the move compared it to the policies of Benito Mussolini, the country’s fascist leader during the Second World War.
EU justice and security commissioner Jacques Barrot had earlier himself voiced concerns about the legality of the census, asking the Italian government to respond to the criticism by revealing the details of the practice.
But his spokesperson said on Thursday that the report submitted by Italy’s authorities in early August showed that no EU principles of human rights protection or non-discrimination were violated, as due to the “good co-operation” between Brussels and Rome, some “debatable measures” had been changed.
Italy’s interior minister Roberto Maroni from the anti-immigration Northern League party welcomed the evaluation as “highly satisfying,” adding that it is “fair after all the accusations and insults we have received over the past few months,” according to ANSA agency.
The European Parliament is also planning to perform its own research into the controversial practice, with a delegation of MEPs set to visit some camps and seek details on how the census is carried out.
Reacting to the commission’s blessing to the Italian plan, Hungarian Roma liberal MEP Viktoria Mohacsi said: “I find it most strange that, contrary to the commission statement claiming compliance with the EU law, the fingerprinting procedure seemed to be applied exclusively to Roma, which I cannot interpret otherwise than a discriminatory treatment targeting one specific ethnic group.”
Between 90,000 and 110,000 Roma live in Italy, according to the Council of Europe. Many live there without official permission and have set up temporary camps.
Earlier this year, Mr Berlusconi’s government declared a national state of emergency in response a sharp rise in crime blamed mainly on foreign nationals, particularly from Romania, and adopted several laws clamping down on clandestine migrants. The centre-left opposition suggested such a reaction was only further boosting xenophobic sentiment across the country.
A couple of relevant sections of the European Convention on Human Rights:
Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.
I actually don’t know what to say…Berlusconi changes a few “debatable measures” and gets the go ahead for what is obviously a discriminatory practice (on grounds of race), which he has actually already implemented anyway, in order to attempt to rid his country of the nuisance he obviously views the Roma as.
“Earlier this year, Mr Berlusconi’s government declared a national state of emergency in response a sharp rise in crime blamed mainly on foreign nationals, particularly from Romania, and adopted several laws clamping down on clandestine migrants.”
“Foreign nationals, particularly from Romania,” – that’ll be the Roma, then, and yes the rise in crime was blamed on them, because of the prejudice against them already prevalent in Europe, never mind whether they actually were to blame for it or not. So, based on an assumption (and a very common one, based on a stereotype) about the Roma people, Berlusconi is allowed to openly discriminate against them by singling them out for fingerprinting to “prevent crime”. Well, why should anybody bother to find the real culprits and “prevent” real “crime” when the Roma are there in plentiful numbers, a handy scapegoat, and everyone thinks they are thieves anyway! Why, indeed. The European Commission has only achieved a furtherance of the persecution of Roma – that is all. It has said it is okay, and normal, to want to discriminate against them, by naming obviously discriminatory practices as not so.
Thanks to Jess for sending me the link.
Yeah, the next European who tells me racism is an American thing . . . just shut up.
I was going through Gauge’s livejournal posts this evening and found ze’d posted a couple of stories that everyone should be aware of. Specifically, about the possible (unconfirmed) use of Blackwater on US soil for security during the RNC as well as the overwhelming police presence.
I admit that I haven’t covered much with regards to election doings and politics (aside from supporting Obama because McCain is the purest devil), which is probably a flaw due to my focus on dealing with cissexist oppression of trans people.
The one story I am posting here, however, is pretty damning:
We noticed last week that it was awfully peculiar that Colorado’s U.S. Attorney, Troy Eid, had so airily dismissed conspiracy charges against the three white-supremacist tweakers who were caught planning to assassinate Barack Obama at last week’s Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Now it turns out that those suspicions were fully warranted:
KUSA – 9Wants to Know has learned three men in Denver planned to assassinate U.S. Senator Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention in Denver by sneaking into one of his events and shooting him with a gun hidden inside of a camera, according to federal court records.
Nathan Johnson’s girlfriend, whom 9NEWS is not naming because she’s a juvenile, said it would have to be a suicide mission.
The plot is similar to that in the 1992 movie “The Bodyguard” starring actors Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. In the movie, Costner stops an assassination attempt against Houston by spotting a weapon hidden inside a gutted-out TV camera.
Johnson, Shawn Adolf and Tharin Gartrell all thought that Obama had a suite in the third floor of the Hyatt hotel, where they were staying. In fact, the Senator was staying in another Denver Hotel.
The men were doing methamphetamine inside the hotel with two women on Aug. 23 discussing the plot to kill Obama, according to federal records.
Adolf said “it would not matter if he killed Senator Obama because police would simply add a murder charge to his pending charges,” according to the records. There were seven outstanding warrants for Adolf’s arrest.
The underage woman told law enforcement that Adolf also talked about using “a high-powered rifle 22-250 from a high vantage point” to shoot Senator Obama during his acceptance speech at INVESCO Field at Mile High during the DNC.
Even more significant, beyond the details of the plot, was the fact that, as the Colorado Independent notes, the FBI asked for more serious charges to be filed and were turned down. Read the rest of this entry »
The story is here. Trans panic isn’t what saved the killer this time, but the successful defense was based on assassinating Kellie’s character, painting her as some kind of sexual deviant who got off on life-threatening sex games, and this was just one such game gone wrong.
Kellie Telesford worked as a florist and a beautician
A teenager has been cleared of killing a transsexual woman found strangled in her south London home.
Shanniel Hyatt, 18, denied that he killed Kellie Telesford in a rage after discovering she was a pre-operative transgender female who was born a man.
Her body was found after they engaged in sexual activity at her Thornton Heath flat, the Old Bailey heard.
Mr Hyatt, from Norbury, south London, was found not guilty of murder and an alternative count of manslaughter.
The teenager, a father-of-one whose girlfriend was away at the time of the incident, admitted meeting Ms Telesford for a date and going back to her flat.
He was filmed on CCTV leaving Ms Telesford’s home in the early hours of 18 November last year, using her Oyster travel card to board a bus.
Ms Telesford, who worked as a florist and beautician, was found dead at the flat three days later. She had been strangled with a scarf.
Prosecutor Sally O’Neill told the court that Mr Hyatt stole Ms Telesford’s mobile phone and electronic equipment as well as her Oyster card.
The worst part:
Defending, Joanna Greenberg said Mr Hyatt was a “cheap and nasty thief” but that Ms Telesford was “fit and well” when he left her flat.
She suggested that Ms Telesford may have died during a consensual sex game which went wrong, or that she may have inflicted her fatal injuries herself.
Mr Hyatt said he only realised Ms Telesford was born a man shortly before police interviewed him.
Ms Greenberg said there were no signs that Ms Telesford fought Mr Hyatt, even though she had “a man’s strength”.
Mr Hyatt was remanded in custody on separate immigration matters.
“Ms Telesford may have died during a consensual sex game which went wrong, or that she may have inflicted her fatal injuries herself.” . As Helen G points out (having more information than I do about the trial),
ETA: I can’t figure out where this leaves us with regards to knowing how Kellie Telesford died.
Earlier in the trial, the defence barrister wanted us to believe that Kellie died while playing “kinky sex games” – so, what now? – on her own, after Hyatt had left, taking with him her cellphone and travelcard?
And did she strangle herself before or after she covered her body in the white blanket? – Remember that “the scarf was tied so tightly around her neck [the paramedics] could only get the tips of their fingers inside“…
And what of the “potentially partial DNA evidence” on the scarf that may have come from three or even four people?
Later edit: The more I think about this, the more I…
I mean, they even had the guy on CCTV, leaving her flat, using her Oystercard – and he’s not even guilty of identity theft?
Perhaps we should remember that “Mr Hyatt was remanded in custody on separate immigration matters“. Oh right, yes. That’ll help…
Three days Kellie Telesford lay dead on the floor of her flat.
Three frickin days...
…If you call that ‘justice’…
So, this guy is seen leaving Kellie’s flat, steals her Oystercard, steals other items belonging to her. He is the last person to see her alive, but he goes free because his defense successfully introduced the victim-blaming “she probably died during a sex game gone wrong,” and insisted that Kellie was into kinky sex games. She also suggested that since Kellie was born male, she “had a man’s strength,” even though years on estrogen does affect muscle mass.
So, I realize this is another variation on the “It was her fault” victim-blaming lie. “If she hadn’t worn those clothes, she wouldn’t have been raped,” or “if she hadn’t lied about her genitalia, he wouldn’t have killed her.” Or, “if she hadn’t been playing those immoral kinky sex games, they wouldn’t have killed her.”
I can’t help but think that this has something to do with the idea that trans women are sexually obsessed fetishists, that just being who we are is enough to claim we’re interested in dangerous sex games.
As WoC PhD posts:
While Jon Justice continues to enjoy full privileges as a radio host after posting mock rape videos in which he made racist comments about Latinas and immigrants while assaulting a piñata with public defender Isabel Garcia’s face pasted to it (see my original post for more), his efforts to have Garcia dismissed from her job as a public defender in Arizona have gone forward. Garcia is currently under investigation by the AZ state bar for participating in a protest against a book signing for a book that supports active discrimination against immigrants and subversion of their rights. “Justice” and others, have misrepresented the events to say that Garcia’s “toting of a severed piñata head of a police officer” constitutes violation of the bar’s code of conduct. Garcia was actually picking up the head after protesters split the piñata open in traditional form. She and others actively protested the incitement of anti-immigrant sentiment and abuse of immigrants and the Latin@ community in AZ which they felt were being exacerbated by the event and the author. Should the review board decide that Garcia is guilty of violating codes of conduct, she could lose her license to practice law in the state of Arizona and would also lose her job as a public defender.
Coalición de Derechos Humanos asks for help defending Isabel Garcia.
Also, WoC PhD writes:
Anyone who is concerned about sexual violence, racism, and/or the place where these two things intersects needs to take action to support women’s rights in Arizona. You can make your voice heard by joining the write in campaign I mentioned in the previous post AND by doing the following:
- Contact Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry in support of Isabel Garcia. 520.740.8661 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact the Journal Broadcast Group, expressing your opinion of Jon Justice and the tactics of 104.1FM, and your concern that local KGUN 9 would be associated with an outlet that is so obviously NOT an objective media source. Contact Julie Brinks: 520.290.7600 or e-mail: email@example.com
- Contact the Board of Supervisors, voicing your support of Isabel Garcia, who has broken no rule or regulation as a Pima County employee.
Pima County Board of Supervisors
30 West Congress Street, 11th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Receptionist – (520) 740-8126
Fax – (520) 884-1152
Ann Day, District 1
Ramón Valadez, District 2
Sharon Bronson, District 3
Ray Carroll, District 4
Richard Elías, Chairman, District 5
It is beyond outrageous that Jon Justice is able to attack Isabel Garcia personally in such a misogynist and racist manner, but that he is able to do so with impunity while he also tries to destroy her career. Don’t let this happen.
Monica Roberts posted Tyra’s story last year, on the 12th anniversary of her death. Go read it.
Tyra shouldn’t be dead. She had critical injuries, but timely assistance from paramedics and at the emergency room would have saved her life. Everything that happened to her was preventable, including the prejudice that withheld that care.
She was subjected to transphobic statements while her injuries were slowly killing her. During the ensuing court action, experts testified that she had an 84% chance to survive her injuries with proper medical care – but instead, paramedics made jokes at her expense. An emergency room doctor refused to treat her, and she died in the emergency room, neglected.
From Monica Roberts in comments:
Adrian Williams, the EMT involved in Tyra’s inintial non treatment was African-American. What was even more insulting was that Adrian Williams was PROMOTED not long after this incident by the DC Fire Department.
I didn’t mention this because, er, I forgot. No excuses, I just let myself get rushed. I’m sorry about that.
The DC Police, fire, and emergency services have sensitivity training now to prevent what happened to Tyra Hunter from happening again.
Edit: The petition has 3000 signatures. Thank you to anyone who followed the links from here and signed.
From Sylvia at Problem Chylde:
As of this moment, this petition is only 55 signatures away from its goal of 3,000 signatures. Its purpose: asking Congress to launch a full investigation into the mysterious death of Pfc. LaVena Johnson, a 19-year-old Missouri native. For a little over three years, the family of LaVena Johnson has not received answers regarding the circumstances surrounding her death. Danielle at Modern Musings has more information; please digg, stumble, link on del.icio.us, and propagate her post and this petition as far and wide as possible.
Both Branches of the United States Congress and President G.W. Bush
In July 2005, Ms. Johnson was found dead in a military army base in Iraq. The military ruled her death as a suicide. There was evidence found on her body however of a physical struggle consisting of two loose front teeth and a bruised lip which had to be corrected at the funeral home.
Despite her father, Dr. John Johnson’s inquires into her body’s physical condition, the army responded that the case was closed.
More evidence that did not support the military’s ruling of Ms. Johnson’s death was a suicide was revealed by a local Missouri news network. Ms. Johnson’s mental state was quite stable according to reports before her death, there was a trail of blood leading to the barracks where her body was found as well as evidence that a perpetrator attempted to set her body on fire.
Despite years of Mr. John Johnson’s dedicated efforts to have the army reopen the case, they continue to refuse.
Philip Barron, an independent activist, dedicated his effort toward military justice and full disclosure with the website http://www.lavenajohnson.com/ and also started a petition that has recently expired which targeted the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and the House.
There is a renewed interest surrounding the call for justice for LaVena Johnson with more and more people becoming educated of the facts.
Let us utilize this renewed interest and demand our Congress to call for investigations, and full disclosure of the events surrounding the death of such a beautiful soul.
Also see the resources and information provided by Color of Change concerning the ongoing denial from the armed forces to investigate LaVena Johnson’s murder.
I know I’m late on this, but still: Get those 55 signatures out there. Make noise, get the investigation started – this is not acceptable.
If you decide to post about this, link to Sylvia’s or Danielle’s posts, not mine.