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Trans Day of Remembrance Collage

Collage from Monica at TransGriot

Here are words from two blogs on my blogroll in honor of this day:

Monica at TransGriot:

The Transgender Day of Remembrance exists so that we don’t get so consumed living our own lives, dealing with our own drama and fighting our own battles to live our lives that our fallen brothers and sisters fade from our consciousness. It’s a vehicle to help us remind the world that the people we mourn on this day were somebody’s son, daughter, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, or friend.

But what does the Transgender Day of Remembrance mean to me personally?

A Transgender Day of Remembrance is the time that this proud, African descended transwoman pauses from dealing with the hustle, bustle and drama of living my life to do as Dr. King so eloquently put it, some ‘hard, solid thinking’ about the transpeople whose lives were cut short due to anti-transgender violence.

She also sez:

Never forget the people who died.

That’s what the TDOR is all about. To make sure we never forget the people we have lost to anti transgender violence.

And Queen Emily at Questioning Transphobia writes:

[W]hat I want to acknowledge is that there’s a paradox, that no trans person can truly witness for the murdered–especially those we’ve never met. And yet, with due caution, I think we should. Not to further our own goals, not to get legislation passed that protects only the already-privileged or to wallow in self-pity, but to honour the memories of every single trans person murdered this year, and to acknowledge the violence that our community lives with as a whole. To acknowledge that even in death, transphobia and cissexism mean that the murdered are not properly remembered, not even by the correct names and pronouns–and those people should be remembered as the right sex. That is our task for today (surviving ourselves, as well as prevention of more of the same is our task for the rest of the year).

She also links to a list of names.

Ok, here’s how it works. This is logic, Kansas-style.

The gheyz, you see, want to pass a hate-crime law that defines homophobic crimes as hate crimes. But everyone knows that gheyz ought to get beat, so that doesn’t make any sense.

What could they possibly be up to?

Well, they have a master plan.

First, they pass a bill to give themselves special rights, like the right not to get beat up. Look it up, that ain’t in the Constitution.

Then, after conditioning people to accept not beating gheyz as part of a “normal” lifestyle, they pounce on a lulled and unsuspecting citizenry and force marriage equality on God-fearing Christians and restrict the personal freedoms of straight people everywhere by being equal to them.

It looks kind of like this:

1 (Can’t beat gays no more)
+2 (???)
= 3 (Gays get married/Christians have no rights)

If that’s still confusing for you, please refer to the sage words of Kansas State Rep Lance Kinzer: “I could see a court using this as background for a type of argument advancing same-sex marriage.”

Hmmm, point 2 is still a tad unclear, but what IS clear is that gheyz are nefarious, dastardly, out to get your children, and not to be trusted. That they hate America almost goes without saying, but I will allow for the possibility that Mary Cheney loves her country. So we can chalk 2 up to fairy nancy rainbow trickery, knowledge of which probably leads to involuntary gayness alone. Speak Of the Gheyness, And Gheyness Shall Appear.

The ever-entertaining Kansas Liberty website has more.

‘Cause I can’t really be sure whether these stories will make much of a splash in the MSM.

Legalize GayDid you know that an American Apparel in Maryland has been vandalized and it’s employees have received repeated threats because they display a t-shirt that says “Legalize Gay” in their window? Via Evil Slutopia.

Did you know that August 1st a gunman killed two adolescents and injured 15 more at a queer youth support group in Tel Aviv? Via City of Ladies.

From the Jerusalem Post:

“These were teenagers,” Yaniv Weisman, chairman of the Israeli Gay Youth organization, told The Jerusalem Post.

With tears in his eyes, Weisman added, “They came to this center from across the country to talk to one another and receive help. This was supposed to be a safe place for them. Someone knew what they were doing when they came here. This is not a pub or a club.”

Here is the link to Israeli Gay Youth.

In a previous post, I asked “Do prominent anti-gay measures have the effect of creating more hate crimes against LGBT individuals? Do these measures send a message to society that queers are lesser people, second-class citizens, not quite as deserving of respectful treatment as “regular” folks?”

I have also previously written about how words spoken by prominent individuals in public forums affect those who hear them. (Isn’t that the point anyway?)

My friend Jess in California is participating in the Tell3 campaign and recently sent me some information about how Prop 8 is affecting the lives of queer people there.

She also sent me this video about Ballot Measure 9, an attempt to outlaw being openly LGBT in Oregon in 1993: (below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Holy crap!

From the Seattle Times:

Eleven gay bars in Seattle were sent letters Tuesday threatening ricin attacks — in what some are describing as a hate crime.

The anonymous letters say, “I have in my possession approximately 67 grams of ricin with which I will indiscriminately target at least five of your clients. … I expect them to die painfully while in hospital.”

A 12th letter was sent to the alternative weekly The Stranger, according to its Web site. That letter says the paper should be “prepared to announce the deaths of approximately 55 individuals.”

The letter lists the bars as: The Elite, Neighbours, The Wildrose Bar, The Cuff, Purr, The Seattle Eagle, R Place, Re-bar, C.C.Attle’s, Madison Pub and The Crescent. The letter implies the attacks will take place one Saturday this month.

In a statement, the Seattle Police Department said it takes the threat seriously. It has seized the letters and is processing them and is coordinating efforts with the FBI and other federal agencies.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans that can be deadly if purified and then ingested or inhaled.

Via PortlyDyke at Shakesville, who commented:

See, it doesn’t matter who sent the letters — this is terrorism, pure and simple — and it is terrorism targeted at a specific oppressed population, which is, by definition, a fucking hate crime.

…I was trying to imagine, though, what the response would have been if the same letter were received by, say, eleven churches of a specific denomination. I’m guessing the members of that community would not be saying things like: “Well, we get a death threat a day”, or “well, whatever”, and I’m guessing that next Sunday, there would be a strong police presence in the neighborhood of each of those churches.

I wonder how Changes managed to escape the hit list. Oh crap, I just tipped off the poisoner! But for real, all the bars are clustered on Capitol Hill, so it appears our poisoner hopes to just make some quick rounds all in one night? Zie appears to be acting alone, so perhaps that is why zie has a geographically-restricted hit list, and Changes may be safe because it is in a whole different part of town. Just idle speculation.

As a former resident of Seattle, I have personally patronized a number of the threatened establishments, as do my friends who still live there. Good to know we have no reason to stop watching our backs in 2009, because we frequent(ed) business that cater to LGBT customers. Oh, for our sins I am so ashamed! Thanks to Jesus that this would-be murderer has helped me to see the light! For being queer and associating with other queers in public I must die, and rightly so- it is better that I continue no longer to lead my sinful and purposeless life.

What crap. 2009, you had better shape up fast! Reactions from others?

Cemetery

Just some queers and perceived queers who were subject to hate crimes and/or murder in 2008. Learn more about their stories by clicking on their names.

Taysia Elzy & Michael Hunt

Milton Lindgren & Eric Hendricks

Leeneshia Edwards

Ebony Whitaker

Duanna Johnson

San Francisco Lesbian

Simmie Williams

Jose Sucuzhanay

Lawrence King

Angie Zapata

Wayland Union High School Student

Nathan Runkle

Moses Cannon

Lance Neve

Tony Hunter

Jimmy Lee Dean

(“…suspects later admitted robbing Dean because they thought a gay man would make an easier target.”)

Here’s why hate crime legislation is necessary and not just an ‘empty gesture’ as some have called it:

1. When hate crimes against certain groups are reported as such, the data can be tracked, aggregated, trends followed, and problem areas specifically addressed.

2. A hate crime has more victims than the primary person(s) who experienced the violence and abuse. A hate crime has as its secondary victims everyone else who belongs to that category that made the primary victims into targets. A hate crime against an individual who is perceived as LGBT has the effect of putting the whole LGBT community in a state of heightened fear. It establishes a precedent of attacking LGBT people because of their perceived queerness for other homophobic individuals who might tend towards violence.  Therefore, a murder as a result of a hate crime has wider negative effects than a murder that was  not a hate crime.

3. The label of hate crime breaks the silence that often surrounds violence and abuse towards oppressed and marginalized groups in society. It publicly names this particular kind of violence for what it is, which is of course essential if we want to look for real solutions to stop it. This is discussed in some of the links above… Indiana has no hate crime law, so LGBT advocates don’t know how prevalent hate crimes are, or which crimes against LGBT individuals were motivated by their LGBT status.

Something else to note: location, race, and socio-economic class seem to have important effects. A disproportionate number of those killed lived in conservative communities, were people of color, and were low-income. These parts of the victims’ identities intersect with their queerness, perceived or real, to create an identity, a personhood, that marked them as targets. Do their killers and harassers figure that by choosing victims who are doubly- and triply-marginalized they will be able to get away with their crimes? They certainly have enough precedent to think it’s a good bet. Or does possessing intersecting marginalized identities just create so much hate in would-be attackers that where one “offensive” identity would have been bearable, two or more is just temptation too great to resist?

From the Brooklyn Eagle via Pam’s House Blend:

The vast majority of brutality against gays is carried out by young men, usually acting in groups, said Riki Wilchins, executive director of Gender Public Advocacy Coalition, a Washington nonprofit that works in schools to address discrimination.

Their victims most often are other young men with feminine demeanors or transgender women, said Wilchins. “These assailants are looking to eradicate and exterminate something that enrages them, and that is what makes them hate crimes,” he said.

AP:

Stapel attributed the increase in part to more people reporting incidents, but she believed there actually could have been more assaults because 2008 was an election year.

“Election years are always violent years for us because of wedge issues,” Stapel said, referring to ballot measures this year banning gay marriage in California and Florida. “With increased visibility comes increased vulnerability to LGBT stereotypes and violence. We’ve seen some of the most violent hate crimes that we’ve seen in a while.”

Do prominent anti-gay measures have the effect of creating more hate crimes against LGBT individuals? Do these measures send a message to society that queers are lesser people, second-class citizens, not quite as deserving of respectful treatment as “regular” folks? If we believe our laws are supposed to reflect our society’s values, then I would say that anti-gay laws definitely send a message that it is okay to treat LGBT people as “less than”. If we already have fewer rights before the law, some individuals inclined towards violence and hate will feel that violence against a gay person will be analogously less serious before the law than violence against a “regular” person.

Your thoughts please. Respect for the humanity of Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans people is a requirement if you want to post. If I missed any anti-LGBT hate crimes, please post them in the comments!

Check out these great resources: LGBT Hate Crimes Project and LGBT Hate Crime Reports

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