tagged w/ Transgenders
14 killed in fire at transgender gathering in India
By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
updated 6:35 PM EST, Sun November 20, 2011
The fire broke out during a transgender gathering in New Delhi
An official estimated more than 2,000 people were at the gathering
Another official said an electrical short circuit was thought to have caused the blaze
NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- At least 14 people at a transgender gathering in New Delhi were killed Sunday in a massive fire, officials said.
The city's fire chief, A.K. Sharma, told CNN that more than 40 people were also injured as the blaze ripped through a makeshift marquee at the venue.
Sharma put the number of participants at at the gathering at more than 2,000.
But two people who had attended the gathering put the number of attendees at twice that estimate, and said the venue was packed with people.
New Delhi's health minister, A.K. Walia, said an electrical short circuit was believed to have caused the blaze.
14 killed in fire at transgender gathering in India
By Harmeet Shah... more
Alleged rape, killing of gay rights campaigner sparks call for action
By Faith Karimi, CNN
May 5, 2011 7:36 a.m. EDT
The term "corrective rape" started following the rape and murder of Eudy Simelane, a well-know lesbian soccer player.
She is attacked after dropping off her girlfriend in a township near Johannesburg
She is raped, stabbed with broken glass several times and hit with rocks, group says
South Africa sets up a task force to address hate crimes
(CNN) -- A 24-year-old who was stabbed to death in South Africa is the victim of "corrective rape," gay rights activists said Thursday, a crime where men attack lesbians in an attempt to reverse their sexual orientation.
Noxolo Nogwaza was attacked late last month after dropping off her girlfriend in Kwa-Thema township near Johannesburg.
She was raped, stabbed with broken glass several times and her face pummelled with rocks, Human Rights Watch said.
"A beer bottle, a large rock and used condoms were found on and near her body," the rights group said.
Earlier this week, the nation's Justice Ministry set up a task force to address hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender South Africans.
The task team was set up after activists worldwide signed an online petition demanding the South African government act to halt the attacks. The call to petition intensified after Nogwaza's killing.
Police in Gauteng province, where the township is located, said they have not found any evidence of a hate crime and an investigation is under way.
But some gay rights activists disagree.
"Her attack is a case of corrective rape," said gay rights activist Lydia Kunu. "Neighbors said they heard her attackers telling her, 'We will take the lesbian out of you. ' They were mocking her and asking her why she acts like a man."
Kunu is a community networking organizer for Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee, where Nogwaza worked as well.
The death has sparked renewed calls for action as rights groups warn of escalated homophobic attacks.
"In these cases, killing is the end of the spectrum," said Siphokazi Mthathi, the South Africa director for Human Rights Watch. "It follows a trail of other problems -- rape, violence, problem accessing health care and violation by police."
Mthathi said it is hard to get an overall number of the people subjected to violence because attacks go unreported over the distrust for the judicial system.
"There's a great deal of under-representation because they are going to face secondary victimization," she said. "We've heard of cases where when they report a rape, the police tell them, 'aren't you happy that you got a real man for a change.'"
The use of the term "corrective rape" started three years ago after the rape and murder of Eudy Simelane, a well-known soccer player who lived openly as a lesbian.
Nogwaza's attack is similar to the soccer player's in some ways: police say they were both raped and stabbed to death. And just like Nogwaza, Simelane's body was dumped in a public place in the same township .
Two men were found guilty in the soccer star's death and sentenced to prison terms, but the judges quashed any motions linking her attack to her sexual orientation.
"Nogwaza's death is the latest in a long series of sadistic crimes against lesbians, gay men, and transgender people in South Africa," said Dipika Nath, researcher in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights program at Human Rights Watch.
"Police and other South African officials fail to acknowledge that members of the LGBT community are raped, beaten and killed simply because of how they look or identify, and they are attacked by men who then walk freely, boasting of their exploits," said Nath.
A police spokesman slammed the accusations, and said authorities are working to ensure safety for all.
"It is our responsibility to provide safety, and we take that job seriously," said Col. Tshisikhawe Ndou, the provincial spokesman for Gauteng.
The spokesman said there have been no arrests in Nogwaza's killing, but investigations are under way.
"We're following some leads, and in this specific case, we'd like to ask anyone with information to contact the police," he said. "They can even do so anonymously if they are scared."
Outspoken gay rights activists have faced harassment and attacks in the nation, Human Rights Watch said.
Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries, based on rules left over from the British colonial era when sodomy laws were introduced.
However, the post-apartheid constitution bans prejudice against gays in South Africa, the first African nation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Despite the law, attacks based on sexual orientation are still going on, rights groups said.
The new task force is scheduled to start working in July. It will address issues such as whether police and social workers should undergo sensitivity training, and whether rapists who target sexual minorities should get harsher sentences.
Mthathi said having the anti-prejudicial constitution in place is an indicator that the task force alone won't resolve underlying problems.
"South Africa is a very misogynist and homophobic society," she said. "We welcome the task team, but it won't solve social problems. We need to address the culture of accountability in judicial and social institutions, we need to address the attitudes ... disrupt the culture of impunity."Alleged rape, killing of gay rights campaigner sparks call for action
By Faith... more
# The New York Times
July 5, 2010
When to Out a Transgendered Dater?
By RANDY COHEN
I am a straight woman, and I was set up on a date with a man. We got along well initially, but I grew concerned about how evasive he was about his past. I did some sophisticated checking online — I do research professionally — and discovered that he is a female-to-male transgendered individual. I then ended our relationship. He and I live in Orthodox Jewish communities. (I believe he converted shortly after he became a man.) I think he continues to date women within our group. Should I urge our rabbi to out this person? NAME WITHHELD, N.Y.
Changed religion and sex? I feel emotionally exhausted if I get a new sport coat. But although this person behaved badly by not being more forthcoming with you, he is still entitled to some privacy. You should not prompt a public announcement about his being transgendered.
There are two questions here: What must close companions reveal to each other?And what may they reveal about each other to outsiders?
Getting to know someone is a gradual process. I might panic if on a first date someone began talking about what to name the nine kids she’s eager for us to raise in our new home under the sea. Premature disclosure can be as unnerving as protracted concealment. But as partners cultivate romance, and particularly as they move toward erotic involvement, there are things each should reveal, things they would not mention to a casual acquaintance — any history of S.T.D.’s, for example, or the existence of any current spouse. Even before a first kiss, this person should have told you those things that you would regard as germane to this phase of your evolving relationship, including his being transgendered. Clearly he thought you’d find it pertinent; that’s why he discreditably withheld it, lest you reject him.
As things stand, you have every right to talk this over with friends. We are entitled to discuss the most intimate aspects of our own lives — or what are friends for? But you may not distribute handbills around the neighborhood or ask your rabbi to announce this from the pulpit. Even when the clothes come off — especially when the clothes come off — we expect discretion from our partners. Few people (except perhaps the bitter foes of Tommy Lee or Paris Hilton) want sextapes, or even vivid verbal descriptions of their sexual peccadilloes, posted online. And that goes for being transgendered. We rely on our friends — and even more so partners — to respect our privacy, even if the relationship sours.
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/03/18/magazine/ethicist75/ethicist75-articleInline.jpg# The New York Times
July 5, 2010
When to Out a Transgendered Dater?
By RANDY... more
June 27, 2010
A Stonewall Veteran, 89, Misses the Parade
By MANNY FERNANDEZ - The New York Times
At noon on Sunday, thousands of marchers filled Fifth Avenue for New York City’s annual gay pride parade. Nearly six miles away, on the sixth floor of a nursing home in Brooklyn, the frail, white-haired woman in beige pajamas and brown slippers in Room 609 sat motionless at the edge of her bed, staring out her window.
She touched the medallion on her necklace — an image of St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes — and fiddled with one of her rings.
“This one,” she said of the ring on a pinky finger, “I hit a guy so hard I knocked the stone out, and I hadn’t gotten around to put it back yet.”
She had forgotten that the gay pride march was Sunday. Her mind and her memory are not as sharp as her wit and her tongue. She said she had been living there, at the Oxford Nursing Home, for years (she arrived in April). She was not sure how old she was (she will be 90 in December).
The woman in Room 609, Storme DeLarverie, has dementia. She is but one anonymous elderly New Yorker in a city with thousands upon thousands of them. And many of those who marched down Fifth Avenue on Sunday would be hard pressed to realize that this little old lady — once the cross-dressing M.C. of a group of drag-queen performers, once a fiercely protective (and pistol-packing) bouncer in the city’s lesbian bars — was one of the reasons they were marching.
Ms. DeLarverie fought the police in 1969 at the historic riot at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village that kicked off the gay rights movement. The first gay pride parade in 1970 was not a parade at all but a protest marking the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
Some writers believe Ms. DeLarverie may have been the cross-dressing lesbian whose clubbing by the police was the catalyst for the riots (the woman has never been identified). While others are adamant that Ms. DeLarverie was not that woman, no one disputes that she was there, and no one doubts that the woman who had been fighting back all her life fought back in the summer of 1969.
At one point on Sunday, she said she was not struck by the police. At another moment, she said a police officer had hit her from behind. “He wound up flat on his back on the ground,” said Ms. DeLarverie, a member of the Stonewall Veterans’ Association. “I don’t know what he hit me with. He hit me from behind, the coward.”
Ms. DeLarverie has struggled in recent years with a confluence of housing, mental health and legal issues. In 2009, a social services group, the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, was appointed her legal guardian by a judge. In March, she was hospitalized after she was found disoriented and dehydrated at the Chelsea Hotel, her home for decades. No one occupies her room on the seventh floor of the hotel, but it remains unclear if she will ever return.
A small group of friends, including some of her neighbors at the Chelsea Hotel, visit her regularly. A social worker with the nonprofit group SAGE, which provides services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older people, has been assisting Ms. DeLarverie since 1999, when she was at risk of eviction from the hotel.
Some of her friends said they had been frustrated by the way she was treated by the authorities and others, and they expressed disappointment that Ms. DeLarverie’s troubles have not been a widespread concern for many gay and lesbian activists.
“I feel like the gay community could have really rallied, but they didn’t,” said Lisa Cannistraci, a longtime friend of Ms. DeLarverie’s who is the owner of the lesbian bar Henrietta Hudson, where Ms. DeLarverie worked as a bouncer.
“The young gays and lesbians today have never heard of her,” Ms. Cannistraci said, “and most of our activists are young. They’re in their 20s and early 30s. The community that’s familiar with her is dwindling.”
Ms. DeLarverie’s friends said they were disturbed because she spent most of her days inside the nursing home and they had not been allowed to take her outside, even for walks.
Leah Ferster, chief services officer for the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, said she was not aware that that was a concern among her friends. “We have to make sure she’s medically capable and able, and if that was true, then we would be glad to speak with her friends and see if we can come up with a safe plan and have her go out for a few hours,” she said.
Ms. DeLarverie’s first name is pronounced STORM-ee, like the weather, but in Room 609 on Sunday, she was calm, chatty, graceful. Her life has been flamboyant, boundary-breaking, the stuff of pulp fiction.
Friends say she worked for the mob in Chicago. The drag-queen group she performed with decades ago, known as the Jewel Box Revue, regularly played the Apollo in Harlem (she dressed as a man and the men dressed as women). She was photographed by Diane Arbus. She carried a straight-edge razor in her sock, and while some merely walked to and from the gay and lesbian bars in the Village, friends said, she patrolled.
Sitting at the edge of her bed, her mind turned again to the parade, where, in the past, she had been a fixture. She said she had a message for those who took part in the celebration. “Just be themselves, like they’ve always been,” she said. “They don’t have to pretend anything. They’re who they are.”
Ms. DeLarverie asked what time it was, and what time the march started. At one point, she took off her slippers and seemed to look for her shoes. “I think they started already,” she said. “They’re probably wondering where I am.”
Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.June 27, 2010
A Stonewall Veteran, 89, Misses the Parade
By MANNY FERNANDEZ - The... more
Obama, Clinton vow to defend gay rights, adding 'it's not who we are as Americans'
By Elise Labott, CNN Senior State Department Producer
June 23, 2010 1:48 a.m. EDT
Washington (CNN) -- President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to end violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians at home and abroad Tuesday, as the Obama administration moves to extend further benefits to gays working in the federal government.
"It's not right, it's not who we are as Americans, and we're going to put a stop to it," Obama told a raucous White House reception honoring Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.
Earlier, Clinton received several standing ovations from a standing-room only crowd of several hundred during her address at an event co-hosted by the State Department's Office of Civil Rights and GLIFAA, the organization for Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies.
"We are moving together in the right direction," said Clinton. "We reaffirm our commitment to protect the rights of all human beings."
The White House event invited politicians and government officials as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender American from across the country, including young people "who have stood up for equality," said White House spokesman Shin Inouye.
At a similar event last year, six months after Obama took office, participants expressed frustration over what they called a lack of progress in confronting discrimination issues that the president had promised to resolve.
This time, Obama received loud applause, cheers and whistles as he cited steps his administration has taken, including a new hate crimes law, extending federal benefits to gay employees and a push for an employee discrimination bill.
The Obama administration is expected to announce Wednesday that gay workers will be able to take medical leave to care for the sick or newborn children of their same-sex partners as part of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which generally allows those working for companies with 50 or more employees to take 12 unpaid weeks off to care for newborns or children with serious health issues.
"And finally, we're going to end "don't ask, don't tell," Obama said Tuesday of the policy that prohibits openly gay and lesbian soldiers from military service.
A bill that would repeal the policy after a Pentagon review is completed in December is before Congress, the president noted.
"We have never been closer to ending this discriminatory policy, and I'm going to keep on fighting until that bill is on my desk," he said to cheers.
Attending the event was Janice Langbehn of Lacey, Washington, who was denied hospital visitation rights when her partner of 18 years, Lisa Pond, was stricken with a fatal brain aneurysm while on vacation in Florida. Obama mentioned her story on Tuesday, calling the way she was treated "wrong" and "cruel."
Earlier, Clinton said she is asking embassies in Africa and elsewhere to report on rights of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The State Department also is placing more attention on ensuring gays around the world have access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and providing grants to human rights activists who are persecuted either because they are gay or defend gay rights, she said.
"These dangers are not gay issues. This is a human rights issue," Clinton said. She drew more rousing applause when she declared "human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights," a variation on the phrase she famously delivered in Beijing 10 years ago declaring "women's rights are human rights."
Clinton said she is equally concerned about creating an environment at the State Department in which gay employees feel valued and "can give 100 percent." That is why, she said, she supported offering equal benefits to same-sex partners of State Department employees, a move that encouraged Obama to authorize such benefits for gays throughout the federal government.
She noted the State Department also has made it easier for transgender people to change their passports and, for the first time, the agency's "equal opportunity statement" will include gender identity. It already includes sexual orientation.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this reportObama, Clinton vow to defend gay rights, adding 'it's not who we are as... more