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.
My column this week, "Twice as Good," discusses why the fight to overcome racial privilege is an LGBT issue. Here's an excerpt:
When an All-Pro cornerback from the NFL's best defensive squad [Richard Sherman] needs to have his 3.9 GPA from Stanford cited to stop white people's quivering, we have a problem. Though not fatal for Sherman as it was for [Trayvon] Martin and [Jordan] Davis, [the racially charged treatment of him] showed the same instant demonization, the same culturally assigned otherness.
Why is this an LGBT issue? For one thing, African-Americans have been among the most prominent out gay people in pro sports: Brittney Griner in the WNBA, Jason Collins in the NBA (who just signed with the Brooklyn Nets), Michael Sam before the NFL draft. All lacked the privilege taken for granted by white heterosexual men. Facing greater bias, they summoned greater strength. As the Scandal character Olivia Pope is told by her father in the TV drama, "You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have." Many black overachievers grew up hearing this.
But it is not just that black and gay overlap. We must work together to defeat those who exploit fear and hatred to gain power. This requires refuting their lies repeatedly over time. The images of Sam's athletic prowess are a powerful antidote and promise a historic moment come May.
In related news, this just in from the Williams Institute: New Report Finds Similar Patterns of Racial Disparities Among Individuals in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples.
Chief Cathy Lanier of the Metropolitan Police Department has released the long-awaited report on police handling of hate crimes. The effort was led by the D.C. chapter of the Anti-Defamation League. Thanks to GLOV, DCTC, and our other coalition partners for pressing for its release. More later, once I have a chance to read it. Right now I'm running to the Stein Club endorsement meeting on D.C. Council candidates.
(Hat tip: Tom Sherwood)
Capitol Hill Seattle reports that a suspect has been arrested in the New Year's arson attack at the gay nightclub Neighbors in Seattle; one million dollars bail has been set; and the FBI is investigating hate crime charges.
Today another birthday passes that Trayvon Martin did not live to see. He would be in college now. But it wasn't just one prejudiced man that killed him. It was a culture of fear stoked by hate groups, exploited by politicians and gun manufacturers, and fed by the media. He or Jordan Davis could have been one of the teens I mentored or gave academic advice. They have so much to offer, their minds just beginning to mature and stretch in new directions, and out of the blue at any moment a seething hatred they did not earn can snuff them out. We have to push back against the hatred. We have to find more helpers to overcome it. Helping to nurture a young mind is the closest I will ever come to parenting. I don't want to outlive these kids. They deserve so much better from us than mourning.
The arbitrary pursuit of deadly confrontations by people emboldened by a gun and lubricated by a sense of untouchable privilege is itself a kind of drive-by shooting. For such a person to refer to others as thugs is like the leaders of the Catholic Church decrying others as child molesters. Clean up your own house first. We must confront this hypocrisy more forcefully in a creative and nonviolent way. We must touch our fellow citizens. And while we're at it, stop the arsonists like Fox News. But the media provide so much distraction, bread and circuses as the old phrase goes, that waking people from their complacency is a tall challenge.
Click here to see the set of draft policy principles developed by NAACP known as "Trayvon's Law." In summary:
Think Progress reports.
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.
This was the night five years ago when Oscar Grant was fatally shot on the Fruitvale Station platform by BART police in Oakland. His story, as told by young film director Ryan Coogler, moved a lot of people this year. Here is to his memory and to the cause of equal protection and justice for everyone.
Lynette Holloway at The Root reports:
Donald Maiden Jr., who celebrated his 8th birthday on Sunday, is struggling to recover at a Texas hospital after a 46-year-old white man shot him in the face on Tuesday, as the child played a game of tag outside his apartment complex, according to the Raw Story. Police have not been able to determine a motive.
Witnesses told police that 46-year-old Brian Cloninger had been seen waiving a handgun at people prior to the shooting, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Police reports said that Cloninger was seen standing beside his pickup truck as the boy was bleeding, and a witness asked him if he shot the boy.
"Yes, I shot that kid," Cloninger reportedly said.
Dear God. Why do some people hate so much? To harm a child. It just boggles the mind. And an awful lot of these stories come from Florida and Texas. When politicians and people in the media stoke this for votes or ratings, they are helping to pull the trigger. If all the haters woke up dead tomorrow, maybe then we could rebuild our country into a civilized place.
Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, who was raised in Israel but founded the Kiruv Organization in New York in 1995, smirks as he explains that the Torah allows no room for mercy or distinctions: all who commit the sin of homosexuality must be stoned to death.
(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)
Joe Jervis reports on the latest anti-gay attack by a Russian neo-Nazi group that films its humiliating assaults (which I won't show here):
According to a report filed by Spectrum Human Rights, the Russian anti-gay and neo-Nazi group Occupy Pedophilia has posted a video that shows the torture and humiliation of Alexander Bohun, who recently appeared on Ukraine's version of X Factor. A Russian news site reports that Bohun had responded to a personal ad posted on the social media site VK, only to find the thugs waiting for him.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Rene Stutzman reports at the Orlando Sentinel:
George Zimmerman was arrested Monday after he cocked and pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend, shattered a glass-top table, then pushed her out of the house and barricaded himself inside after she ordered him to move out, according to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.
He surrendered peacefully a few minutes later and was hauled off to jail, where he was being held without bail on domestic-violence and aggravated-assault charges.
It was the second time in three months that the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer, who was acquitted of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was handcuffed after being accused of domestic violence and threatening a woman with a gun.
One suspects that someone whose life is more valued in Florida than Trayvon's will have to die before Zimmerman is stopped once and for all. I cannot get out of my mind the photo of Trayvon lying on the ground, his lifeless eyes staring up as if in disbelief. There still has not been justice for him, and this is intolerable.
Andrew Sullivan writes:
Baldwin is not just an actor; he hosts a political show on MSNBC. He behaves as a political actor with his support of various causes, all of them noble. He has set himself up as a pro-gay progressive. If we concede the point that because you are somehow formally pro-gay, it doesn’t matter if you hurl murderous homophobic threats against people in public, then we have sold our soul.
Maybe Baldwin is pro-gay as long as he gets to be the top. Maybe his analyst needs to point this out to him. Or his accountant.
I admire Baldwin's acting and find him likable in interviews. He appears to be a smart and thoughtful guy. And I can sympathize with him for the constant harassment by paparazzi. But by this time he should have worked out a response that does not include homophobic and misogynistic epithets and violent threats. In any case, he has done this too many times to pass it off as a mere lapse. And Andrew is right that we must not be enablers.
Al Jazeera reports. I would caution people not to say that the rioters are not Christians. They are a fringe group, but they do, unfortunately, represent one (very ugly) face of Christianity.
Melanie Nathan reports. I can't bear to embed the disgusting video, but if you have the stomach for it you can follow the link. This is one example of the depraved cruelty Putin has unleashed. Who can watch Olympics after this?
Happy election day. James Hohmann at Politico reports on Ron Paul's visit to Richmond on Monday night to stump for Ken Cuccinelli.
When Ron Paul claims the 2nd Amendment is for "rebellion against tyrannical governments," what he means is that he has a right to shoot you when he loses an argument. Meanwhile, his son Rand is exposed as a serial, incorrigible plagiarist (more examples keep cropping up), and his response is to shoot the messenger.
For these guys, guns are the equivalent of tax cuts for George W. Bush — the answer to everything! Well pardon me, but when a guy goes to Richmond and talks about nullification and resorting to guns if he doesn't get his way, I can't help thinking of that nice man General Sherman. (Though this time around I am inclined to Let Them Leave.)
Right Wing Watch shares this video from "Coach" Dave Daubenmire that illustrates the topsy-turvy perspective of the anti-gay right: Not letting them bully us constitutes bullying them. Their religious freedom entitles, indeed obligates, them to trample everyone else's religious freedom by imposing their religious views on everyone else using the power of the state.
The above audio clip is from Linda Harvey's interview with Brian Camenker of MassResistance. Click here for more.
On this special edition of the award winning web series NoMoreDownLow.TV, we remember the victims of violent murders, attacks and hate crimes in the African American same gender loving community. We are only able to touch the tip of the iceberg of the homicides in an effort to bring awareness to the public and hopefully change the culture that leads to these horrific crimes against humanity. More information can be found at:
(Hat tip: Donald Burch III)
I have nothing purple to wear, but happy Spirit Day - and thanks to my many fellow advocates who work to stop bullying. Here is an essay I wrote on the subject: "Strange Fruit".
Our friend Nico Tynedale shares this video of a man, who is accused of murder, being shot by police while on the ground. Nico comments:
Good Lord!.. my heart cries out!.. I am baffled by the reports made by the police department compared to that showed in this video.. because at nooo! point I could relate in this video that before the officer pulled his gun that the man attacked him. This is clear evidence of police brutrality and brings to question how many reports the police department have fabricated when it comes to similar cases. Guilty or not the fact that the man was already on the ground it was clear enough that if they wanted to cuff him and take him in for questining they had him where they need him but instead they beat him and shot him to death... MURDER!!!!
Well, thank God nothing like that happens here in the good old U.S. of A.! Oh, wait.
Imagine your freedom suddenly and arbitrarily being taken away by an above-the-law cop who of course invents a right not to be videotaped. This incident happened in Philadelphia. The cop's racial bigotry becomes quite plain. This abusive behavior turns the law into an obscenity.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch writes:
Not only did American Family Association talk show host Sand Rios plug the ex-gay movement and warn that gay people are trapped in “a powerful web of deceit” during her Values Voter Summit speech yesterday, but she also cited Stephen Jimenez’s shoddy reporting on the Matthew Shepard case to call his murder a “complete fraud.” She lamented that schools host the play The Laramie Project to teach tolerance to students and said that Shepard’s murder was a result of a “drug deal gone bad.”
Luke Brinker at Media Matters debunks the Jiminez book.
Check out the latest example of moral leadership from the princes of Holy Mother Church.
Apparently crimes by priests against children are the fault of everyone but those who commit them, facilitate them, and cover them up. Reforming the Roman Church will be like cleaning the Augean Stables.
(Hat tip: Joe Jervis. Photo: CNS/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)
Media Matters shares this video of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones jumping to his usual conclusions.
It's not just the unfortunate Miriam Carey who goes crazy behind the wheel of a car. Just now, walking home carrying my dry cleaning, I crossed 17th Street with the light, and a woman on P Street waiting to turn threw up her hands and began cursing (though I couldn't hear her because her windows were rolled up), then as soon as I crossed she pealed around the corner angrily, stepping on the gas to show her outrage at being inconvenienced for five seconds. By the look of things she has a home, a job, decent clothes, a car, and is well fed (not to mention the vision to drive a car and read a traffic light). A gentleman I had just passed in front of the CVS has none of those things. What do we really win if we lose public civility?
Meanwhile, I am thinking of the one-year-old girl, presumably Miriam Carey's daughter, who was in the car with her yesterday, and how traumatized she must be. A sad example of the need for better mental health care.
Question: Why is so much of this MPD general order on vehicular pursuits blacked out?
I saw this powerful film tonight and met Jamaican gay activist Maurice Tomlinson. Check it out.
Sean Bugg has a good commentary on our apparent inability to do anything about the epidemic of gun violence in this country.
Having a classroom filled with the shattered bodies of children wasn't enough. The constant drip of stories of children shooting themselves and each other with their family guns wasn't enough. The shooting death of an ''open carry'' advocate by her husband in a domestic disturbance that became a murder/suicide wasn't enough. A gun-safety trainer shooting a participant in his gun-safety class wasn't enough. An armed man shooting himself in the leg and lying to the police that a gang of black kids did it wasn't enough.
We're numb to the political power of the National Rifle Association, an organization that's grown so radical and virulent that it's begun skating up to the line of calling for armed rebellion. We're numb to the money of the few that ensures our laws make buying and using a gun easier than buying and driving a car. We're numb to politicians so craven and lickspittle that even when one of their own is shot they would never dare disturb the NRA purse strings that have replaced their spinal columns.
Here's remembering not just the victims and first responders on that awful day twelve years ago, but the freedoms that were lost, and the blood and treasure that were subsequently spent, when our patriotism was misused by unscrupulous people who exploited the attack to divide the country for a power grab and partisan gain. Their punditry is hollow and hypocritical. May a lifetime of showers never wash away the shame that properly clings to them for their acts.
stopgunviolence describes this video:
PSA from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence urging Americans to "Stand up to 'Stand Your Ground'" laws in 26 states across the country.
Visit http://www.csgv.org/standup to sign a petition to your state legislators calling on them to oppose "Stand Your Ground" laws.
This just in from David Mariner at the DC Center:
Come to Columbia Heights Plaza [14th & Park Rd NW] this Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30 PM to find out about a new group that seeks to coordinate advocacy and services around lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) experiences of violence.
Washington, DC -- Local LGBT organizations and advocates are coming together to launch the DC Anti-Violence Collaborative (DCAVC), a new group dedicated to ending cycles of violence and oppression impacting LGBT community in the District of Columbia.
"The DC Anti-Violence Collaborative will allow us to start coordinating vital services for survivors of violence in our communities," said Ruby Corado, founder and executive director of Casa Ruby. "There is a tremendous need, and by working together across organizations, we will be better able to address that need," Corado added.
Hassan Naveed, co-chair of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, said, "DCAVC will help us create an inclusive advocacy agenda in a safe space for all intersections of the LGBTQH communities. It's time for us tighten coordination in our advocacy efforts and make sure we are providing representation for everyone."
"The central idea behind the DC Anti-Violence Collaborative is that organizations and activists can come together in a place to address, collectively, issues of police violence, hate violence, sexual violence, and partner violence through advocacy, education, grassroots organizing, and providing services," said Jason Terry, anti-violence organizer with the DC Trans Coalition. "I see this as really long-term work that over time can build collective power and collective safety."
The DC Anti-Violence Collaborative will meet monthly, and plans to organize two town hall meetings later this fall. DCAVC will also soon be launching in new online tool to report incidents of anti-LGBTQH violence.
I have not been a fan of Edward Snowden, nor of Glenn Greenwald. I was initially unconcerned about NSA surveillance. But recent events are forcing a reassessment. First came the news that the founder of the Lavabit encrypted email service used by Snowden is being threatened for his decision to shut it down rather than cooperate with the surveillance. Now I learn that Greenwald's Brazilian partner was detained for 9 hours at Heathrow (where he was in transit to Rio) and several of his possessions, including his cellphone and laptop, confiscated. Greenwald and his partner are defiant, as is the Guardian, and rightfully so. Mr. President, stop this outrageous and lawless behavior NOW.
The best bet for British authorities at this point may be to claim that there was an unusually large number of lonely security officers on duty yesterday at Heathrow, and it took nine hours for each of them to get a turn at patting down David Miranda and searching his body cavities. That might be believed.
Chauncey DeVega at We Are Respectable Negroes makes a good point:
White men are approximately 30 percent of the American public, but they account for 70 percent of mass shootings. The pathological mix that is gun culture and imperiled/aggrieved white masculinity is killing people--most of whom are white--yet, the white community looks the other way.
The perpetuation of privilege requires a lot of brazen double standards.
Read the letter here. Thanks to former GLAA President Craig Howell for drafting it.
If you think D.C. elections get nasty, check out this one from NYC.
Terrell Jermaine Starr at NewsOne slams CNN's Don Lemon for taking up the topsy-turvy reasoning of Fox's Bill O'Reilly, who responded to the Zimmerman verdict by saying "you've got to stop young Black women from having babies out of wedlock," and "you've got to demand discipline in your public schools in the inner cities." Lemon's contribution was to criticize young black men who wear saggy pants.
Wow. What came over Don? He seemed quite reasonable before (though I don't watch CNN much). Going into the saggy pants discussion in the context of the Zimmerman verdict is classic blame-the-victim stuff, which is especially gratuitous because Trayvon was doing no such thing. They might as well have started criticizing "scary African hairstyles," which would have been equally egregious and gratuitous and laughable and unintentionally revealing. Is George C. Wolfe writing a play about this? Did we fall into a time warp? Next up, top ten things women should do to avoid being raped, plus if you weren't so damn queer you wouldn't get beaten up. Meanwhile, I can't get out of my mind the image of the lifeless body of an innocent kid the same age as the ones I advise on their thesis topics. These kids whose vulnerability to racist violence should make us all ashamed in 2013. STFU about their fashion choices and stop killing my kids.
(Hat tip: H. Alexander Satorie-Robinson)
The Nation reports. A quick-witted 17-year-old surreptitiously turned on his iPod after being stopped-and-frisked for the third time.
A secret audio recording of a stop-and-frisk in action sheds unprecedented light on a practice that has put the city's young people of color in the NYPD's crosshairs. Read the full story here.
This crap has to stop.
Update: Just watched it again. Outrageous beyond words. The shame of this persistent injustice should hound Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly to the end of their days.