727 posts categorized "Public Safety"

July 18, 2014

"The cure for AIDS may have been on that plane."

Nobel-winning French virologist Françoise Barré-Sinoussi expresses grief and loss over the crash of flight MH17.
(Video courtesy The Australian)

There have been reports that more than 100 of those aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 were on their way to the World AIDS Conference in Melbourne. If so (and there have been conflicting reports), the crime of the downing of the commercial jetliner might also be devastating for AIDS research.

One of the passengers was eminent AIDS researcher Dr. Joep Lange, executive scientific director of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development and former president of the International AIDS Society. Dr. Lange once said, "If we can get a cold can of Coke to any part of Africa, we can certainly deliver AIDS treatment." That remains true.

The Guardian reports that a team of OSCE inspectors was barred from the crash site by Russian-backed rebels:

The commander of the rebel unit, a man called Ilya who is known as Commander Glum, expressed annoyance as the OSCE team stood its ground, keen to access the scenes of carnage. 'OSCE came here without negotiating,' he shouted, as they prepared to leave...We didn’t agree to meet the OSCE here, go away,' he added, firing a warning shot. The five-strong convoy departed rapidly.
(Photo courtesy The Guardian)

July 17, 2014

Trans sister of NBA star found dead in Baltimore

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.

July 09, 2014

Washington Lawyers' Committee approves

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.

GLAA testifies for repeal of Prostitution Free Zones

(At witness table: Cyndee Clay, HIPS; Kishan Putta, ANC 2B; Maneka Sinha, Public Defender Service; Rick Rosendall, GLAA)

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:

  1. The Attorney General has determined that PFZs cannot be defended in court and are likely unconstitutional.
  2. MPD suspended PFZ implementation and said it was working to rescind its PFZ general order.
  3. Eliminating PFZs is a step toward reducing violence against sex workers.
  4. 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.

Continue reading "GLAA testifies for repeal of Prostitution Free Zones" »

July 03, 2014

GLAA supports increasing Office of Police Complaints access to police information

On July 2, I testified for GLAA before the D.C. Council Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on Bill 20-63, the "Police Monitoring Enhancement Amendment Act of 2013." Here is a portion:

We support Bill 20-63 with a requested change. The Police Monitoring Enhancement Amendment Act of 2013 would, as the summary says, "give the Office of Police Complaints access to information and supporting documentation of the covered law enforcement agencies to improve the monitoring and evaluation activities of the Police Complaints Board."

This proposed reform has been kicking around the Council for several years. We thank Chairman Mendelson and Councilmembers Cheh and Bowser for re-introducing it. However, when they introduced similar legislation in 2009, the City Paper reported that the bill specified that the board "shall have unfettered access to all information and supporting documentation of the covered law enforcement agencies...."

By contrast, the current bill refers to "reasonable access." The difference between "unfettered access" and "reasonable access" is the difference between real access and mere rhetoric about access. "Reasonable access" is a vague and slippery term that can mean anything and nothing. If our intent with the present bill is to enhance police accountability by granting OPC statutory access to information, that access should be clearly stated and not conveyed by ambiguous wording that effectively turns it from a requirement into a suggestion. We urge that you restore the bill's teeth by changing "reasonable" back to "unfettered."

Read the whole thing here. Police Chief Cathy Lanier is strongly opposed to the bill, which she hyperbolically said would endanger the public safety. Once again the Bad Cathy comes roaring back! I am sorry, but OPC needs unfettered access to the data in question to do its job. Chief Lanier is wrong. The Council should pass the bill.

Thanks to Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, the new Executive Director at ACLU of the Nation's Capital, who agrees with GLAA on this and who presented excellent testimony.

July 02, 2014

Twin Cities archbishop accused of child molestation

(Photo: KARE)

Local news station KARE in Minneapolis/St. Paul reports:

Archbishop John Nienstedt, the head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has been accused of inappropriately touching a minor in 2009.

In light of the accusation, the Archbishop will step down from public ministry while the church and St. Paul Police investigate the incident. The accuser alleges Nienstedt touched his buttocks during a "public photo session" following a confirmation ceremony.

I am shocked, shocked to learn that a homophobic archbishop has been accused of such a thing.

June 19, 2014

Spate of anti-trans robberies hits Eastern Avenue corridor


Police Chief Cathy Lanier posted the following Wednesday night on the MPD-SLU listserv:

Good evening,

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

June 12, 2014

Chief Lanier addresses town hall on police-trans issues


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.

May 07, 2014

Why Are So Many LGBT People and People Living with HIV Behind Bars?


From the Center for American Progress, an interesting infographic and report that were the subject of a lunchtime panel today.

May 06, 2014

SPLC: Man Who Tried to Kill Hundreds at Gay Bar Pleads Guilty to Arson Only

(Seattle police photo)

David Neiwert at Southern Poverty Law Center reports:

The man who tried to kill a crowd of 750 people packed inside a popular Seattle gay bar by setting it afire on New Year’s Eve has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of arson. Despite some evidence that he was motivated by hatred of LGBT people, Musab Mohammad Masmari will not face federal hate crime charges....

The plea agreement specifies that prosecutors will only seek a five-year prison sentence for the crime. However, prosecutors told KOMO-TV that the judge was free to ignore their recommendations and sentence Masmari to a prison term ranging up to 20 years.

May 02, 2014

NYPD Cops Can't Stop Getting Drunk And Shooting At People

HuffPo reports.

I'm so glad that Phil Eure, who has done such a solid job as director of DC's Office of Police Complaints, faces a problem-free police force as he heads to NYC to become Inspector General of NYPD.

GLOV, HIPS launch violence response hotline

Lou Chibbaro at the Blade reports:

The local groups Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) and Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS) are jointly launching a new 24-hour, seven-days-a-week LGBTQ Violence Response Hotline, according to GLOV spokesperson Matt Corso.

“LGBTQ individuals who are victims of a violent crime, such as intimate partner violence, domestic abuse, bias or hate motivated violence, police misconduct, sexual assault or pick-up violence can call the hotline to speak with a trained volunteer to receive immediate crisis support and ongoing assistance or referrals to LGBTQ competent service providers in the Washington, D.C. area,” Corso said in a statement to the Blade.

Congrats and thanks to GLOV and HIPS. There was a crisis hotline many years ago that fell by the wayside. Very good to have a new one.

April 29, 2014

Tom DeLay salutes Cliven Bundy

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports:

On his Washington Times Radio show last Wednesday, former House GOP leader Tom DeLay reiterated his defense of Cliven Bundy, arguing that the Nevada rancher — who has repeatedly lost in the courts and refuses to recognize the existence of the United States government — doesn’t have to obey the law on land use.

“He doesn’t owe the federal government anything because he doesn’t recognize that the federal government can come take his livelihood away from him and he’s standing up for the rule of law, the real law, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and fighting against what is happening to him,” DeLay said.

This is the former House Majority Leader. All you can do is shake your head.

April 25, 2014

White Supremacist Suspect in Kansas Mass Shooting Was Once Arrested "Mid-Act" with Black Male Prostitute


Slate reports.

This exemplifies Rosendall's Law:

Whenever any person displays vehement and obsessive hostility toward gay rights, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that he or she has unresolved personal issues such as repressed homosexuality, an estranged gay spouse, or a gay child.

This case is an interracial variant. He denounces and attacks the thing he most desires.

April 13, 2014

On a day of silence, an anti-gay message

One anti-gay student interviewed said something familiar: he has no problem with people being gay as long as they don't go parading about the school. Translation: It's okay to be gay as long as you're completely invisible and don't organize to stop bullying.

April 03, 2014

GLAA renews call to repeal 'Prostitution Free Zones'

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013
(202) 667-5139 • equal@glaa.org

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.[1] It is also a constitutionally questionable practice. As our colleagues from the DC Trans Coalition note:

  1. The Attorney General has determined that PFZs can't be defended in court and are likely unconstitutional.
  2. MPD has suspended PFZ implementation and is working to rescind its PFZ general order.
  3. Eliminating PFZs is a step toward reducing violence against sex workers.
  4. PFZ repeal makes sense from a public health perspective.

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.

Continue reading "GLAA renews call to repeal 'Prostitution Free Zones'" »

Breitbart contributor calls for 'slaughtering Muslims in the streets'

Joe Jervis reports on the latest example of the barbarism to which the radical right is trying to push the nation. Here the culprit is Breitbart contributor Patrick Dollard. Very scary.

March 31, 2014

Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury

I emailed the following this morning. You may wish to send your own message.

From:Richard Rosendall
Date:Monday, March 31, 2014
To:Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, contact@lambethpalace.org.uk
Subject:Please denounce rally statements by Archbishop Ntagali

Dear Archbishop Welby:

I have been reading the Twitter feed from Ugandan gay rights leader Frank Mugisha on the rally held today in that country celebrating the Anti-Homosexuality Act:

One of the speakers at the rally is Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali. He celebrated the Ugandan church's having cut ties ten years ago with the Episcopal church in America over homosexuality. His statements, as reported by Mugisha, include "Homosexuality is the devil's agenda in Uganda," and "We have to be focused, without fear to fight the battles facing us, battles facing our families."

Ntagali is effectively endorsing persecution and murder. He should be expelled from the Anglican Communion. Your predecessor was so afraid of schism that he allowed the African bishops to behave disgracefully with no consequences, and even pandered to their threats over the participation of Americans at the Lambeth conference. But a problem like the aggressive bigotry and inhumanity of the African bishops cannot be dealt with by avoidance. What is the point of keeping someone at the table who is poisoning the food?

I appreciate that you have publicly argued with Ntagali over the treatment of gay people by the church. You have stated that some gay couples have loving, stable, and monogamous relationships, and that we deserve the "best pastoral care and friendship," but you still support the Church of England's opposition to active homosexuality (that last phrase is according to the BBC). I am sorry, but this will not do. To be merely tolerated and told we must embrace lifelong celibacy is not acceptance and is not humane. Our love and its expression are as good as anybody else's. We are a threat to no one. We are entitled to equal protection as citizens.

I urge you at a minimum to denounce the participation and remarks by Archbishop Ntagali at the anti-gay rally in Uganda, and not to put a facade of unity before the rights of LGBT people whom some Anglican leaders are persecuting.

I have been in contact in recent days and weeks with persecuted and hunted Ugandan friends. I am grateful to hear from them at all, as it means they are still alive. Asylum efforts are not enough, because most LGBT Ugandans will remain in their country, whose leaders avoid addressing real problems in favor of scapegoating a minority. Words fail in expressing my admiration and respect for Frank Mugisha, who holds his head up and speaks out despite being in grave danger. Please add your respected voice for decency in the face of this mounting horror.

Yours sincerely,

Richard J. Rosendall
Washington, D.C.

March 28, 2014

Eure picked as IG for NYPD


NYT reports that Philip K. Eure, the founding director of the D.C. Office of Police Complaints, has been chosen to head the new office of Inspector General for the New York Police Department.

Phil has done a fine job at OPC, and has been great to work with. We will certainly miss him here in D.C., but we congratulate him on his new appointment and wish him all the best. It will be a challenge finding someone to fill his shoes.

(Hat tip: Jason Terry. Photo of Philip Eure via Linkedin)

March 10, 2014

Black Lesbian Couple Found Dead in Galveston County, Texas

Horrific news from Texas.

GLAA submits testimony on Office of Police Complaints

Date:March 10, 2014
To:Tommy Wells, Chair
Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary
From:Rick Rosendall, President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Subject:Testimony on Office of Police Complaints

Please include this as testimony for the record on the Performance Oversight Hearing held by your committee on March 7, 2014.

I am Rick Rosendall, President of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which has been fighting for LGBT equality in the District since 1971.

The independent Office of Police Complaints (OPC) grew out of the recommendations of a task force in the late 1990s in which I represented GLAA. OPC employs the best practices of citizen oversight of law enforcement, with the goal of improving public confidence in the police. OPC Executive Director Philip K. Eure and his staff have shown expertise, integrity, and a commitment to fairness for all – not just those who file complaints, but those against whom they are filed, and the wider community from which both are drawn.

The Office of Police Complaints (OPC) released its Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2013 on March 4. As it summarized in its news release:

Continue reading "GLAA submits testimony on Office of Police Complaints" »

March 05, 2014

Office of Police Complaints issues annual report for FY13

The D.C. Office of Police Complaints continues to do independent review of citizen complaints of police abuse. OPC issued its annual report on March 4.

March 02, 2014

D.C. activists critical of MPD actions that led to transgender woman's arrest for an expired driver's license

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.

February 28, 2014

Twice as Good

(Richard Sherman's winning NFC championship play. Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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.

February 26, 2014

D.C. police release long-awaited report on MPD handling of hate crimes

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)

February 05, 2014

$1 million bail set for Seattle arsonist

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.

Another missed birthday

Trayvon and Dad

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:

  • Ending racial profiling;
  • Repealing stand your ground type laws;
  • Creating law enforcement accountability through effective police oversight;
  • Improving training and best practices for community watch groups; and
  • Mandating law enforcement data collection on homicide cases involving people of color.

January 17, 2014

Marine Corps Tweets Out MLK Weekend Warning: ‘Don’t Be A Lone Shooter’

Think Progress reports.


January 03, 2014

GLAA releases candidate questionnaires, LGBT policy brief

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013

For Release:
Friday, January 3, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall

GLAA releases candidate questionnaires, LGBT policy brief

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.

Continue reading "GLAA releases candidate questionnaires, LGBT policy brief" »

December 31, 2013

Sad anniversary on a celebratory night

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.

December 04, 2013

White Dallas Man Shoots 8-Year-Old Black Boy Playing Tag

(Photo: KTVT screenshot)

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.

December 03, 2013

Rabbi Mizrachi: all gays must be stoned to death

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)

Russian neo-Nazis attack Ukrainian X-Factor contestant

(Alexander Bohun)

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.

November 19, 2013

November 20, 22 - Transgender Day of Remembrance and Day of Action

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

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 corado@casaruby.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.

November 18, 2013

Girlfriend to deputies: George Zimmerman pointed a shotgun at me

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.

November 15, 2013

Alec Baldwin's homophobic outbursts

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.

Neo-Nazi Christians riot in Poland, torching cars and rainbow diversity arch

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.

November 05, 2013

South African Student Tortured by Putin’s Anti-Gay Thugs


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?

Ron Paul in Richmond: 2nd Amendment is for when he loses an argument


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.)

November 04, 2013

Antigay Attack in St. Petersburg

The Advocate reports.