In honor of Trans Awareness Week and the Transgender Day of Remembrance, our friends at GLAAD have released this video.
In honor of Trans Awareness Week and the Transgender Day of Remembrance, our friends at GLAAD have released this video.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is being observed today around the world, as we can see in the photo above tweeted by Pepe Julian Onziema in Uganda. The observance in Washington, D.C. is at the Metropolitan Community Church at 474 Ridge St NW. Here's the description from the Facebook event page:
Doors Open at 6:00 PM - Program will start closer to 7:00 PM
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.
According to The Transgender Day of Remembrance Website:
"The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn't perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who've died by anti-transgender violence."
The loss of extraordinary transgender health activist Andrew Cray last week at age 28 has been hard for a lot of us to get our minds around. The August 30 memorial service at St. Thomas Church in Dupont Circle helped, as gatherings of love and respect do. Working through his illness, Andrew played a crucial role in getting the details right for Mayor Gray's historic executive action earlier this year to guarantee transgender people non-discriminatory access to health care. The service was led beautifully by Bishop Gene Robinson, who had worked with Andrew at the Center for American Progress and had officiated at Andrew's wedding to Sarah McBride six days before. The mutual grieving and celebration of Andrew among the CAP staff and local and national LGBT activists at the service was especially poignant in that he had helped so many people in such a short life.
Here is the eulogy given by Sterling Washington, Director of the D.C. Office of GLBT Affairs:
Before Amy reads the condolence letter from Mayor Gray, I wanted to say a few words about Andrew Cray. I admit to struggling with what those words would be, which is a bit unusual for me. This all seemed to happen so fast and I haven't had time to wrap my head around it. And I know that if it is difficult for me, it is unbearably arduous for his family. After all, it was just six days ago that Andy and Sarah were married and now we are eulogizing him.
To say he was an indefatigable activist is an understatement. Andrew Cray did more in his 28 years than so many accomplish in a lifetime. And he did so in service to others. For example, he worked closely with the Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs last September to educate the LGBT community about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the local DC Health Benefits Exchange. But, Andrew's most enduring work with the Office involved his legal research and advice when the District moved to bar discrimination against the transgender community in health insurance. This was no easy task and was a year in the making. As we approached the end of the process, there were several surreptitious calls late at night between my Office and a handful of advocates – Andy Bowen, Kellan Baker, and Andrew. Sometimes, it involved Kellan carrying messages to Andrew, whose health had really begun to deteriorate by that point. You see, Andrew was among a handful of legal experts in the country who understood the verbiage needed to ensure our policy was as inclusive as it could be. To be clear, many activists had begun laying the groundwork for this years ago; however, when it came to shaping and actually writing the policy clarification, Andrew was invaluable. Because of his work and that of a handful of advocates, the District has the most comprehensive policy barring discrimination in health insurance (including Medicaid) on the basis of gender identity of any jurisdiction in the country. We are mourning Andrew today, but the fruits of his labor will live on and help so many get the life-saving procedures they so desperately need. And not just here in DC. On Thursday – the day that Andrew died – the city of Cincinnati decided that it would cover gender reassignment surgeries.
Aside from his work, Andrew's passing leaves a hole in the heart of so many of us here. And that is harder to speak to. His love, energy, and friendship still endures albeit in a different state now. And we will carry with us every day the memory of those and we are indeed changed – in a positive way - because our lives were touched by his.
Mayor Gray's condolence letter was read by GLBT Affairs Deputy Director Amy Loudermilk.News reports at the Blade and Think Progress. Cray wrote an op-ed at Advocate.com in March of this year. May this beautiful young man rest in peace. He has certainly left the world better than he found it.
Justin Snow reports at Metro Weekly:
More than three months after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the White House voiced support for a review of the military’s ban on transgender service, a new report finds the Pentagon could immediately open the armed services to transgender Americans in a way that is consistent with military readiness and core values.
Save the Date: Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014 takes place Thursday, November 20th.
(Hat tip: David Mariner)
A transgender girl was stabbed on a Metro train in Fort Totten yesterday in an apparent hate crime. The suspect has been arrested. WTOP report here.
WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning has been approved to begin receiving hormone replacement therapy while serving her 35-year prison sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the Associated Press reports.
This is the right decision. Denial of healthcare is not an appropriate form of punishment. All prisoners are entitled to proper healthcare, and transgender prisoners are no exception.
HuffPost reports on the murder of trans woman Mia Henderson in Baltimore early Wednesday morning.
The violence keeps happening. Condolences to Mia and her family, and may those responsible be found and brought to justice.
Meanwhile, Transgender Lobby Day was held on Capitol Hill Tuesday by the National Center for Transgender Equality and five other groups. The need for both cultural and political work on behalf of trans equality is all too apparent.
Sierra Mannie is a senior at the University of Mississippi, in whose student newspaper she wrote a strong article that has been picked up by Time. It is titled, "Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture," and here's how it opens:
I need some of you to cut it the hell out. Maybe, for some of you, it’s a presumed mutual appreciation for Beyoncé and weaves that has you thinking that I’m going to be amused by you approaching me in your best “Shanequa from around the way” voice. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t care how well you can quote Madea, who told you that your booty was getting bigger than hers, how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming — you are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. It is not yours. It is not for you.
She then explains. She makes legitimate points. But then I read a response on Tumblr by my friend David Mariner, Executive Director of The DC Center for the LGBT Community. Here are a few excerpts from his thoughtful and eloquent piece:
The second thing I need you to know is that I can’t change who I am. I know you may suggest, as you did in your article, that gay men can simply ‘hide’ who they are. Perhaps I should lower the pitch of my voice artificially? Butch it up? Let me assure you, I tried that for the first twenty years of my life, and it came very close to killing me. I can’t hide who I am, nor should I....
Fourth up, and I really need you to hear this one, many of the expressions, sayings, mannerisms, and culture that you claim white men have appropriated from black women.... well a lot of it never really belonged to to straight women to begin with. It originated from LGBT culture, and predominately the Black and Latino Gay scene. Do a little research and look into Ball Culture. Watch Paris is Burning or Tongues Untied. Learn where all those expressions come from.
I encourage you to read both pieces. In a diverse society, respect and understanding must be reciprocal.
.@GLAADC: "We must b clear: we will NOT tolerate redlining of justice in our city! This is intolerable 4 anyone who loves our city" Cosigned— WashLaw4CR (@WashLaw4CR) July 9, 2014
Our friends at the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs tweeted today during the Judiciary Committee hearing on three bills. I testified for GLAA on two of them, including the bill to repeal Prostitution Free Zones. @WashLaw4CR liked what I had to say, including my statement about redlining during questioning.
Today I testified for GLAA before the D.C. Council Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on Bill 20-760, the Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act of 2014. I filled in for GLAA Secretary Saul Cruz, who was out sick. Below is my reading text. Full written testimony is here.
Good morning, Chairman Wells. I am Saul Cruz, Secretary of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which was founded in 1971.
GLAA strongly supports repeal of Prostitution Free Zones, as we testified in 2012. We therefore thank Councilmembers David Grosso, David Catania, and Mary Cheh for introducing Bill 20-760, the "Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act of 2014."
The use of PFZs facilitates discriminatory profiling of transgender people. As our colleagues in the DC Trans Coalition note:
- The Attorney General has determined that PFZs cannot be defended in court and are likely unconstitutional.
- MPD suspended PFZ implementation and said it was working to rescind its PFZ general order.
- Eliminating PFZs is a step toward reducing violence against sex workers.
- PFZ repeal makes sense from a public health perspective.
In our written testimony we quote extensively from 2005 testimony by Stephen M. Block, then legislative counsel for ACLU of the Nation's Capital. I will not read those passages. I will just note that we include his many case law citations to emphasize that PFZs are not only ineffective and harmful, but unconstitutional.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier posted the following Wednesday night on the MPD-SLU listserv:
I want to take this opportunity to share a recent pattern that has emerged in PSA 608, along the Eastern Avenue corridor and side streets. Between June 10th and June 18th, during the hours of 2:00 am and 6:00 am in the morning, with the exception of one, there have been five robberies in which the victims are all transgender. In each case the victim is approached by one or more suspects and demands are made for their purse. The descriptions of the subjects are not the same. There were guns displayed in at least two of the robberies and verbal threats were used in others. In the most recent robbery, on June 18th at 2:30 am, MPD arrested two juveniles and recovered the property that was stolen from the victim. At this time, we do not believe that these robberies are related as MPD has been provided varying descriptions by the victims.
If any member of the community has information related to these robberies, we are requesting that you contact MPD at 202-727-9099. Additionally anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by test messaging 50411. We have also requested the support of our community advocates to provide outreach to the victims in these cases. The Sixth District is working with both MPD’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLU) and The Prince Georges County Police Department to enhance patrols and investigate these crimes.
Cathy L. Lanier
Chief of Police
Roberta Heather Gills "Bobbie," age 63, of Arlington, VA passed away peacefully on June 7, 2014. Roberta was born in Washington, DC and lived most of her life in Arlington, VA. An avid student and activist, Roberta recently graduated from Northern Virginia Community College with honors. She was a passionate advocate of the fight for human rights and dignity for all people. She is survived by her mother, Clara S. Gills, brother, George W. Gills, sister-in-law, Thu Nyugen, sisters Suzanne J. MacInnis and Janet G. Kimble as well as many close cousins, aunts and friends. The funeral service will be held on Thursday, June 12, at 12 p.m. at Murphy's Funeral Home in Arlington, VA. Visitation will be prior to the service at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Mount Comfort Cemetery, Alexandria, VA. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation or the DC Trans Coalition.
Bobbie was kind, generous, brave, and determined. She exemplified the resilient spirit I have observed, with a certain degree of awe, in so many trans folk I have met. Her example was an inspiration to others. Here is to her memory. I am off to Ballston for her funeral.
The Blade reports:
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier told a transgender community town hall meeting Tuesday night that her department is moving quickly to implement recommendations by an independent task force on ways to improve police response to crimes targeting the transgender community.
Lanier, who was joined by nearly a dozen high-level police officials, including a captain and sergeant in charge of the police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, said the overwhelming majority of officers are sensitive to the needs and concerns of transgender citizens.
Just over a day after transgender Americans won a major victory at the national level, Marylanders fighting for equality won another battle for transgender rights when opponents of a bill signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley failed to obtain enough signatures to force a referendum on the law by midnight Saturday.
Equality Maryland, the state’s largest organization lobbying for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, announced the outcome on their Facebook page just after the clock struck midnight Sunday morning.
Congrats to Maryland.
Think Progress reports:
After many hours of testimony from over 200 speakers, the Houston City Council voted 11-6 to approve the Equal Rights Ordinance, which creates nondiscrimination protections for many classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Houston was one of the only large cities in the country that had no municipal nondiscrimination policy.
During the debate, supporters of the bill spoke to alliances across groups, noting how the ordinance would protect following identity classifications: sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, and pregnancy. Opponents argued that the protections would impose on religious beliefs, forcing individuals to violate their own religious beliefs by serving, as an example, a marrying same-sex couple. They also asked that the ordinance be put to a city-wide vote instead of being approved by the Council.
The ordinance’s protections will extend to employment, housing, and public accommodations.
Congrats to Mayor Annise Parker and all who worked on the bill. Opponents yesterday pounded repeatedly on the notion that transgender protections would promote voyeurs in bathrooms, despite there being no evidence whatsoever of that ever happening. Thank goodness rationality and fairness prevailed. An anti-gay official is threatening a recall effort against Mayor Parker; so stay tuned.
From the United Nations, on the above video:
The United Nations Free & Equal campaign presents a message on this International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). Share your story and change hearts and minds -- we are all the foundation for this movement for equality.
Click here for more information.
President Barack Obama issued the following statement yesterday:
The Blade reports:
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday signed into law a bill that bans discrimination against transgender Marylanders.
“We are closer today to creating an open, respectful, inclusive world that we want for all of our children,” said O’Malley before signing Senate Bill 212 — the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 — into law. “This bill gives us another step closer to that vision and to that reality.”
Congrats to our Maryland colleagues for this achievement.
Please join us this Saturday for Capital Trans Pride. Here's the deal:
The annual TransPride celebration, for members, supporters, family, and friends of the Transgender community. The day will be filled with workshops, presentations, and one-on-one opportunities to network and learn from various vendors, agencies and organizations who provide services and support for the transgender community.
Date: Saturday, May 17th / 10:00-4:00 PM
Location: National City Christian Church / 5 Thomas Circle, NW
Click here for more information and to register.
Transgender activist Ruby Corado was interviewed in Sunday's Washington Post as part of a Mother's Day series that asks, "How is your life different than your mother's?" Here is an excerpt from Ruby on her mother, who died in 2001:
I think I have it harder [than my mother]. She didn’t have to deal with her identity being questioned. Oh, she is just a lovable Latina mother. Sometimes even though people like what I do, there is still a brick wall. The people I am serving come with so much stigma. I work with the immigrants, with the “lowest” of the LGBT, the gender non-conforming and the trans people. Sometimes my work, it gets seen as, “Oh, I’m also supposed to discard these people.” So I know it’s a little harder.
(Photo of Ruby Corado's mother)
For Immediate Release: April 30, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) surprised Mayor Vincent Gray on Wednesday evening by giving him its Distinguished Service Award as he was about to issue a proclamation celebrating the group’s 43rd anniversary. The group held its annual reception, a gathering of LGBT activists and public officials, at Policy Restaurant and Lounge at 1904 14th Street, NW.
GLAA President Rick Rosendall used his introduction of the Mayor as a citation for the previously unannounced award:
Planet Transgender reports:
Just days after Monica Jones was seen in this CBS video (embedded below) protesting the failed religious discriminatory law in Phoenix, she was offered a ride while walking to a bar. The driver turned out to be an undercover police officer who then arrested her for "manifestation of prostitution'.
This law is a vague statue which enables officers to arrest woman for no other reason than asking if they are police. The law is used to feed people to "Project Rose" as the city conducts massive drag nets hauling in dozens of individuals at a time. This profiling of woman by police is contested by the Arizona ACLU which notes that "The difference between 'innocent' and 'criminal' behavior often comes down to how a person looks.
A 2011 study in NYC found that 59% of transgender respondents said that they had been stopped by police. So over half of our sisters in NYC had they lived in Phoenix would have faced the prospect of "Project Rose".
In short, a transgender woman of color is simply assumed to be guilty. This makes things more convenient, except of course for the woman criminalized essentially for existing. The Monica Jones case illustrates why we are not done in our battle for equality and justice. Those of us who do not fit the police profile owe it to our trans sisters of color to stand up against this relentless legal assault on their existence.
On Friday, April 11, I participated in a rally outside the Wilson Building here in D.C. at which we expressed support for Monica Jones and called for repeal of the District's so-called Prostitution Free Zones law, which discriminates against transgender women and solves nothing. GLAA's views on PFZs are expressed here.
Metro Weekly reports. I am quoted at some length in the article.
The D.C. Office of Human Rights announced on April 3:
D.C. Office of Human Rights
“Safe Bathrooms DC” Aims to Increase Gender-Neutral Bathrooms
Innovative reporting method uses Twitter (#safebathroomsDC) to accept complaints
Thursday, April 3, 2014
CONTACT: Elliot Imse, Director of Policy & Communications – 202.481.3773; firstname.lastname@example.org
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Public bathrooms can present many challenges: inevitably long lines, empty paper towel holders, and faucets that manage to spray more water onto your clothes than into your hands. Yet these challenges are trivial when compared to those some transgender and gender non-conforming people face when using gender-specific public bathrooms. Fear of harassment or violence can create a stressful experience, and many people report scouring the neighborhood until they can locate a gender-neutral bathroom. Now, the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) is asking community members to help make it a bit easier for the transgender and gender non-conforming community, with today’s launch of its Safe Bathrooms DC campaign.
Aimed at rapidly increasing the number of single-occupancy gender-neutral public bathrooms in the District, the campaign features photos of common bathroom challenges, and aims to encourage people to report non-compliant bathrooms using Twitter or the OHR website. The District is one of the few jurisdictions in the nation that requires all single-occupancy bathrooms at restaurants, businesses or other public places to be gender-neutral, without labels such as “male” or “female.” While in the past non-compliant bathrooms could be reported to OHR through the traditional complaint submission method, now community members can quickly alert OHR by tweeting the business name and location using the hashtag #safebathroomsDC, or by submitting a short five question form on the OHR website.
April 3, 2014
|To:||Councilmembers Tommy Wells, Mary Cheh, Jack Evans, Anita Bonds, Muriel Bowser|
|Cc:||Councilmember David Grosso, Council Chair Phil Mendelson|
|Subject:||Please repeal Prostitution Free Zones|
Dear Members of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety:
It has come to our attention that Councilmember David Grosso is preparing to introduce a bill to repeal so-called Prostitution Free Zones. It will likely be referred to your committee.
We strongly support repeal of PFZs, as we have previously testified.
The use of Prostitution Free Zones (or PFZs) facilitates discriminatory police profiling of transgender people. It is also a constitutionally questionable practice. As our colleagues from the DC Trans Coalition note:
We agree with the 2005 testimony of Stephen M. Block, then legislative counsel for ACLU of the Nation's Capital, concerning the bill authorizing temporary PFZs that was then under consideration. I will summarize some of his citations.
Metro Weekly reports:
The Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill to prohibit discrimination against transgender people in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations by a vote of 82-57 on Thursday, setting it up to to be signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).
The bill, SB 212, takes protections for transgender people that already exist on a local level in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, and Montgomery County and extends them to the state's remaining 20 counties. The measure previously passed the state Senate earlier this month on a 32-15 vote.
Congrats to our Maryland colleagues on this landmark victory.
John Riley at Metro Weekly reports a disturbing story that illustrates a continuing problem of DC police profiling of transgender people, especially trans women of color.
LGBT activists in D.C. won a major victory Thursday morning in the area of transgender health care. From Mayor Gray's office:
Today, the District of Columbia advanced the rights of the city’s transgender community by prohibiting discrimination in health insurance based on gender identity and expression. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) is issuing a bulletin to District health insurance companies addressing the application of anti-discrimination provisions in the insurance code, including recognizing gender dysphoria, or gender identity disorder, as a recognized medical condition....
This action follows DISB’s March 15, 2013 bulletin notifying health insurers to remove language that discriminated on the basis of gender identity and expression from their policies and permit those with gender dysphoria to obtain medically necessary benefits. Today’s action goes one step further in protecting this community’s health insurance rights by affirming that gender dysphoria is a recognized medical condition and thereby treatment, including gender reassignment surgeries, is a covered benefit....
Moreover, individuals with gender dysphoria are entitled to receive any medically necessary benefits and services under individual and group health insurance policies covering medical and hospital expenses. In determining the medical necessity of services and benefits provided to individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria, insurance providers must refer to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care, known as WPATH, the recognized standard of medical care for transgender individuals requiring treatment for gender dysphoria. These benefits are not newly mandated, but rather clarify District law to assure that individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria are afforded the same benefits under health insurance policies as individuals seeking medically necessary treatment for non-gender identity or expression-related conditions.
With this executive action, a major unfinished piece of the LGBT equality agenda in D.C. is won. Thanks to all who helped make this possible, including our fellow advocates (especially the fabulous Andy Bowen) and Vince Gray for his leadership. There is no mayor or governor in America with a stronger record on behalf of transgender citizens. Today he earned his championship point all over again.
Jezebel reports a tragic story in which a couple of ethical issues arise, including journalistic ethics. Bottom line: Dr. V's credentials fraud was separate from her gender identity and did not require disclosure of it.
Metro Weekly reports:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation Monday that would have lessened the requirements for transgender individuals seeking to obtain an amended birth certificate in what one advocate calls a "vindictive move to punish the LGBT community." ...
Noting that a birth certificate is often the prerequisite for other forms of identification, the Republican governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate stated that "proposed measures that revise the standards for the issuance of amended birth certificates may result in significant legal uncertainties and create opportunities for fraud, deception, and abuse, and should therefore be closely scrutinized and sparingly approved."
Christie trots out the usual b.s. about fraud, deception and abuse. Really? I guess he's afraid of someone else challenging his dominance on that turf.
Friday, January 3, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., today launches its 2014 Election Project and releases its questionnaires for Mayoral and D.C. Council candidates plus its LGBT policy brief, "Building on Victory."
GLAA President Rick Rosendall stated, "GLAA gathered input from a wide range of local LGBT advocates including the DC Center, DC Trans Coalition (DCTC), Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) and others. The result is 'Building on Victory,' the most comprehensive single document advancing LGBT issues in D.C."
On January 3, 2014, GLAA will email its questionnaires and policy brief to candidates in the April 1 D.C. primary election. The deadline for receipt of candidate responses is February 6, after which GLAA will assign ratings to the primary candidates (on a scale of -10 to +10) based on their questionnaire responses and their records on LGBT issues. GLAA does not endorse candidates in partisan elections.
Somehow, an Alabama town invited a troupe of black drag queens to dance in its Christmas parade. This took some parade-goers by surprise. The above news clip includes footage of them in the parade.
Parker Marie Molloy writes at HuffPost Gay on why gay men and drag queens should not use the term "tranny":
A common argument in favor of using "tranny" is, "But that word is just part of drag culture!" Here's my rebuttal: I don't care. "Drag culture" or not, that's not a word that's appropriate to throw around. It's a hateful slur that is often the last thing that trans women hear before being beaten or murdered. Just as it wouldn't be acceptable for me to go around using the word "f*ggot," as I'm not a gay man, it's inappropriate for gay men and male-identified drag queens to use "tranny."
Parker, you are right. I am sorry that you had to spell that out at this late date, but thanks for it.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance will be observed in D.C. in a service on Wednesday, November 20 at the Metropolitan Community Church at 474 Ridge Street, NW, from 6-9 pm. For more info, call 202-638-7373.
Also, Casa Ruby will host a Transgender Day of Action on Friday, November 22 from 6-9 pm at The Next Step Charter School, 3047 15th St. NW. For more info, email email@example.com.
Metro Weekly writes about the 2013 TDOR:
Transgender activist Earline Budd, one of the chief organizers of the event, says several musical groups, including the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington's a cappella group Potomac Fever, gospel singer Shirley Hughes and Company, and the AGAPE choir of Unity Fellowship Church, will participate in the three-hour service.
Organizers have also confirmed that Mayor Vincent Gray (D) and D.C. Fire Chief Ken Ellerbe will also attend, as will Alvin Bethea and Judean Jones, the parents of Deoni Jones, a young transgender woman killed while waiting at a Northeast D.C. bus stop in February 2012. The service will make special mention of the JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act, which was signed into law by Gray, and will honor the D.C. Council and advocates who helped to pass the law providing residents more control over their official documents with regard to gender identity.
The TDOR website states:
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn't perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who've died by anti-transgender violence.
I note that the above-referenced birth certificate equality law has taken effect after completing its congressional review period. So there will be something to celebrate this year, in addition to mourning those we have lost due to senseless hate and violence, and committing to continuing the struggle for justice and a city that values all its people.
The latest battle in California is over 37 words. They are the final clause in a law that Gov. Jerry Brown signed this summer affirming the rights of transgender students to use facilities and play on sports teams that align with their gender identity. On Friday, groups led by the same strategist who masterminded the successful drive to ban gay marriage in California will submit a petition to the state that could lead to the landmark measure being overturned.
The former Bradley Manning's lawyer appeared on the Today show this morning and reported that Manning now identifies as a transgender woman named Chelsea.
I apply to Chelsea Manning one of the earliest and best statements on gay rights made 50 years ago by Frank Kameny: WE are the experts on ourselves. The same goes for trans folk. So whether you call her a hero or a traitor, she is a she because she says so. It's not about you. (That's another good rule of thumb when thinking about the rights of people unlike yourself.) We are diverse. Let's figure that out. The implications are fairly extensive. BTW, I think 35 years is too harsh a sentence.
Someone on Facebook named John responded to my above statement. I will paste our exchange below as it may help illuminate the issues swirling around the case.
LGBT Weekly reports the death of Jose Julio Sarria, who in 1961 became the first openly gay candidate for public office when he ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was also the founder of the Imperial Court System.
GLAAD pays tribute to this pioneer. GLAAD national spokesperson Wilson Cruz writes:
José Julio Sarria's passing today is an enormous loss. His work as a politician, humanitarian, and performer was unprecedented, and has rightfully earned him a place in history. He was an icon who stood his ground for himself and so many others when it was hardest to do so. During such a formative time for the LGBT and Latino communities it is crucial that we remember and honor the exceptional people like José for making our successes possible. He will forever reside in the hearts and minds of the LGBT and Latino communities and their allies. Thank you, José.
May Sarria rest in peace.
Lou Chibbaro reports in the Blade:
In a little-noticed development, an organization that oversees the city’s housing programs for the homeless terminated its contract with the local group Transgender Health Empowerment to operate the Wanda Alston House, the city’s only residential facility for homeless LGBT youth.
The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness on July 1 awarded the Alston House contract to Casa Ruby, an LGBT community center on Georgia Avenue in Northwest D.C. with an outreach to the Latino and transgender communities.
The action by the Community Partnership, which is funded by the D.C. Department of Human Services (DHS), came after it determined that T.H.E. was no longer capable of overseeing the Alston House due to financial problems that forced it to lay off most of its employees in May, sources familiar with the organization said. T.H.E. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 7.
Best of luck to Ruby, and thanks to her for stepping up.