Transgender and Cisgender Groups Demand Transparent Investigation of Transphobic Murder of Islan Nettles

On Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 4 p.m., over 150 transgender protestors and their supporters braved sub-zero temperatures to gather outside of NYC Police Headquarters in Downtown Manhattan to demand incoming NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton and the NYPD explain thier negligent investigation in the immediate aftermath of the brutal beating death of transgender woman Islan Nettles last summer in Harlem. The emotionally charged group also demanded a report on the current status of the case’s lagging homicide investigation by NY County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and later in the evening emailed an extensive list of questions to Bratton and Vance.  

A series of impassioned speeches by Hunter and others were punctuated by fiery chants against the NYPD, including “NYPD do your job!”  Enumerating the many errors and delays in the investigation, protestors chanted “How many more? Not one more!” and “Trans lives matter!”

Speakers angrily repeated the puzzling details of the August 17, 2013 attack, including the fact that officers from Public Service Area 6, where the crime occurred, pulled Paris Wilson, the accused assailant, off of Nettles yet failed to adequately question Nettles’ or Wilson’s companions and never checked on Nettles’ condition after her admittance to Harlem Hospital, where she later died. A failure to obtain DNA evidence from the assailant’s hands and ten broken surveillance cameras at the location were viewed as serious problems that had not been addressed in the case.  Speakers also expressed disgust over the fact that Simone Wilson, Paris Wilson’s mother, coerced another man into falsely confessing to the crime but she was never held accountable for hindering the investigation. Five months after the unsolved murder, protesters were still enraged that even a misdemeanor charge against Paris Wilson was dropped and that the D.A.’s office had produced no new charges in its homicide investigation.

Delores Nettles, mother of the victim, said the NYPD’s handling of the case was so inept that an officer called her three weeks to ask for Paris Wilson’s address.

Telling the crowd about findings published in her recent report on various statistics on transgender Americans, Jennifer Louise Lopez, of media group Everything Transgender in NYC, said that of the approximately 750,000 transgender people in the United States, 90% are likely to experience discrimination, mistreatment, or harassment. She also said that 61% of Black and Latino transgender individuals report harassment by police, and that there were 16 reported murders of transgender people in the United States in 2013.

“Islan Nettles is my fourth trans client who has been murdered in the streets of NYC in the twenty years I have worked with homeless youths,” said Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, which houses homeless LGBT youths. “Not one of their murderers has been brought to justice. This is a disgrace that reveals a pattern of transphobic bias on the part of the NYPD,” he said.

“The murder of Islan Nettles is an unspeakable tragedy and the police and district attorney’s response has been underwhelming and disappointing,” said Melissa Sklarz, President of Stonewall Democrats of New York City. “The New York trans population is probably the biggest in America and yet, young people like Islan Nettles, and Lorena Escalera before her, are killed in cold blood and no justice is done,” she said.

Endorsers included the Transgender/Cisgender Coalition, ACT UP NY, Luz’s Daughter Cares, Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC), Harlem Pride, Lambda Legal, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, Translatina Network, Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform (STARR), Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC, Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand, Destination Tomorrow, Ali Forney Center, VOCAL-NY, ETNYC, Global Network of Black Pride, and Make the Road. 





Journalist Brutally Beaten in possible Midtown Hate Crime, undergoes brain surgery

The family of Randy Gener, an award-winning Filipino-American editor, writer and artist, is asking for the public’s help in finding out who attacked him on Seventh Ave. near W. 54th St. around 3 a.m. Jan. 17th. 

An award-winning journalist was brutally beaten in Midtown, officials said Saturday.Randy Gener, a Filipino-American editor, writer and artist, was attacked and left suffering from a massive head injury on Seventh Ave. near W. 54th St. as he returned home from a party at about 3 a.m. on Jan. 17, friends of the beloved, openly gay media expert said.

Paramedics rushed Gener, who lost his father to gun violence, to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he underwent brain surgery. Gener, who worked stints at the Daily News, as well as The New York Times, the Village Voice, Crain’s and National Public Radio, is speaking but has no memory of what happened,family members told Eyewitness News.

“He can’t answer the questions of what happened that night, he doesn’t really exactly know who we are or where he’s at sometimes,” said Gener’s sister, Jessica Blair Driessler. “It’s really painful to see him here the way that he is because he’s the most articulate person.”Cops were searching for the 45-year-old’s assailants but said so far there’s no evidence to indicate that the attack was a hate crime.

Two vigils are being held for Gener in Manhattan — one at 53rd St. and Seventh Ave. at 6 p.m. Sunday and one at the Philippine Center, on Fifth Ave. near 45th St. at 7 p.m. Monday — as friends collect donations for his medical expenses.

Anyone who wishes to donate can log on to his YouCaring fundraiser page.



Multiple Pols Arrested at LaGuardia Labor Protest


Police arrested New York Congressman Charles Rangel and 29 others, including City Councilmen Ritchie Torres and Antonio Reynoso, at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day-themed labor protest at LaGuardia Airport this afternoon.

The representatives had joined airport workers from the building workers’ union SEIU 32BJ as they gathered outside the airport to demand greater protections, including increased wages, health benefits, paid sick days, and the right to a paid holiday on Martin Luther King Day. In an act of intentional civil disobedience, the protesters staged a sit-in across the 94th Street bridge to LaGuardia, blocking traffic to and from the airport.

View original post 361 more words

Transgender Women Attacked in Astoria Queens

On January 8th, 2014 a 30 year old transwoman whom wishes to remain anonymous for now, went to the Neptune Diner in Astoria Queens, New York City to eat an early morning meal with a friend. Her friend, a 32 year old cisgender man, went to the restroom. According to Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney of the 114th Precinct in NYC that is when three other patrons in the diner began to insult the transwoman.

The three other patrons included two cisgender women and one cisgender male. One of the ciswoman commented loudly to her friend “She is really a man”, while referring to the transwoman. Then one of the ciswoman remarked to the transwoman “Why are you dressed like that,” referring to and discriminating about her gender identity presentation. According to Deputy Inspector Maloney at that point the cisman returned from the restroom and one of the ciswomen threw a plate at his face.

The police were called and the offenders had left the diner before they arrived. The cisman and transwoman were taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Astoria Queens. The cisman received twelve stitches to his forehead and it is unclear if the transwoman sustained any injuries. The investigating police officers referred the case to the NYPD Hate Crimes Taskforce and it is now being investigated as a hate crime.

Police need your assistance in identifying the individuals in the photograph as they are the suspects to this attack. If you have any information please contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. You can also text tips to 274637 and enter TIP577.


19 Months in Men’s Prison, CeCe McDonald Released from Male Prison

CeCe McDonald a transgender woman who was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison for fatally stabbing a man who attacked her during a hate crime, was released Monday, a Minnesota prison official confirmed have

McDonald will continue to be under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Corrections until the completion of her 41-month sentence, according to Michael Friedman, executive director of the Legal Rights Center, which represented McDonald in court last year.

 She was released from the Minnesota Correctional Facility–St. Cloud around 8:30 a.m. CT on January 13th .

McDonald, who identifies as female, was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison facility last spring for the stabbing death of Dean Schmitz. McDonald and a group of friends were walking near a grocery story late on the night of June 5, 2011, when they were allegedly accosted by a group of people shouting racist and transphobic comments at them. According to McDonald’s testimony, a fight broke out in which a bottle was smashed on her face and, ultimately, she stabbed Schmitz with scissors in what she said was an act of self-defense.

She was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and in May 2012, accepted a plea bargain with reduced charges of second-degree manslaughter. Throughout the case, supporters around the world rallied behind McDonald, calling her incarceration unjust and her placement in a men’s facility discriminatory.

McDonald plans to issue a public statement concerning her release, and has asked her supporters to allow her to spend her first days “in privacy with people she feels close to,” according to her blog.


Here is the Youtube Video of her leaving the prison CeCe McDonald release video










Clay Aiken Considers a Run for Congress in North Carolina

According too sources at The Washington Blade former American Idol Season Two Runner-up and LGBT activist and openly gay man Clay Aiken now at the age 35 is considering a run for Congress. Clay Aiken would make the bid for to be the Representative of the 2nd District in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Aiken has been doing a lot of work with organizations focusing on range of issues. Aiken has been a member part of organizations such as National Inclusion Project which Diane Bubel and himself founded together in 2003, he’s been a UNICEF Ambassador since 2004 and, has also promoted GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), he joined his fellow celebrities in filming an educational video for Cyndi Lauper’s web based GIVE A DAMN CAMPAIGN a project by her True Colors Fund.  

Aiken has spoken out in North Carolina politics mostly around LGBT related issues of Marriage Equality, with stances about the May 2012 Amendment One in North Carolina which defined marriage solely as a union between a man and a women, during an interview with CBS Face the Nation Aiken said “The polls in North Carolina show that over sixty percent of North Carolinians actually support some recognition for same sex couples be it civil unions or domestic partnerships,” he goes on too say “As North Carolinians see what it’s done, and what it will do, I think they will support the fact that President Obama did speak out on principle…I think we’d like to see politicians speak out on principle a little more.”

Aiken is consulting member of the Democratic Party of North reconsideration a run for Congress in his home state of North Carolina for the November 2014 on the Democratic Party Line.

A seat currently being held by Republican Renee Ellmers, she has filed the papers for a re-elected have been filed for her and a possible opponent Republican Frank Roche to have a primary for the Republican side of the ballot.  

Republican Congresswomen Ellmers has represented the district since January 2011 and is planning to run for re-election. Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party and co-founder of the grassroots organization, The Coalition for American Principles, considered a run against Ellmers in the primary, but decided against it. Frank Roche, a conservative Internet talk show host who ran for Congress in District 4 in 2010, is running against Ellmers in the primary.

Both Politico and The Washington Blade have reported that Aiken met with the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) and couple North Carolina operatives in the Raleigh Area.

The Washing Blade could not confirm for the record if the idea of Aiken’s of political inspirations for the upcoming Congressional cycle or anything even in the future.

Aiken is however in a bit of a time crunch for filing for the race, he will need to file all campaign paperwork by Feb 28th. Aiken wouldn’t be the only democrat on the ticket either he has the potential for a primary challenger, Former Perdue administration commerce secretary has also mention a run against Ellmers for the race in 2014. 



My reaction to Katie Couric’s Interview with Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera

Katie was asking a sincere question that people are curious about. I wasn’t offended by it and wouldn’t be if she asked me.

The two ladies were on her show to talk about being trans. They weren’t just on the show because they are a model and actress.

The average viewer watching knows nothing about trans women, trans men or the transgender community as a whole, or what it takes to transform from one gender to the other.

One positive thing about asking the question, and if it were explained, is that not so bright people would understand that these two lovely ladies are not men in dresses. They aren’t going to rape other women in the bathroom, like that crazy woman thinks. Even if you don’t get SRS, people should be educated to see that we are “real” women and not some freak show.

And yeah, some trans folk seem to think that if you ask the question you are transphobic! That’s silly! I know trans women and trans men including myself that freely talk about it. And others that don’t.

Mayor de Blasio to Name Phil Walzak Press Secretary

I feel Mayor De Blasio made an excellent choice in appointing Phillip Walzak for Press Secretary


Mayor Bill de Blasio will appoint Phil Walzak to serve as his press secretary, sources confirmed.

Mr. Walzak, a longtime member of Mr. de Blasio’s campaign communications team, previously worked as a spokesman for Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and as President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign spokesman in the Badger State.

View original post 1,204 more words

New Chairman and Lobbyist, Equality Alabama Looks to Build on 2013’s LGBT Milestones

When state lawmakers return to Montgomery on Jan. 14 for the 2014 legislative session, Equality Alabama is hoping to have a seat at the table and make heard the voices of Alabama’a LGBT community.

“Last year, we worked tirelessly to accomplish our goals and to … expand and energize equality, justice, and fairness,” said Ben Cooper, the Birmingham attorney recently named to serve as EA’s chairman of the board. “2013 clearly showed us that there is no limit to what we can accomplish together with continued support.”

To help accomplish its goals, the organization has hired Jeff Martin to serve as a lobbyist for the upcoming session.

“We felt now was the time to begin conversations with those who shape public policy in Alabama about issues affecting LGBTQ individuals in their everyday lives, such as marriage, family and health care rights. Jeff will give us a voice in Montgomery and help us bring about positive changes for those we serve,” a statement from the organization read.

Martin will focus on two specific pieces of legislation, Cooper said. 

One is a bill by Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, that would repeal an amendment to the state constitution that prohibits same sex marriage and another is a bill sponsored by Rep. Becky Nordgren, R-Gadsden, that would allow health care providers to refuse to perform procedures that “violate their conscience.”

“Equality Alabama is particularly concerned about the inclusion of embryonic stem cell research in (Nordgren’s) bill. A great deal of research is being done with HIV and AIDS, and researchers are hopeful that through stem cell research will lead to a “cure” wherein a patient’s infected immune system can be replaced with new cells that cannot be infected,” spokesman Michael Hansen said.

Among the highest priorities for the year, Cooper said, are the passage of non-discrimination ordinances by Alabama cities. An ordinance creating a human rights commission was sent to a Birmingham city council committee in 2013 but no action has been taken.

“We’re working on getting feedback from the council and the city’s legal department so we can craft a plan. We have our eye on other cities across the state this year, but I don’t want to jump the gun on revealing which ones just yet,” Hansen said.

Joining Cooper are four new board members: Gary Bishop, Ashley Jackson, Erle Morring, and Lauren Banks. Other board members are Michael Hansen, Robert Hernandez, Juliann Losey, Steven Romeo, and Fergus Tuohy (past chair).

Other officers are Patrick Scarborough, vice-chair; West Honeycutt, secretary; and Jay Barrett, treasurer.

“We will move Alabama forward this year. We will continue to gain ground towards progress, working together to improve LGBTQ Alabamians everyday lives,” Cooper said.

And while 2013 was a watershed year for the LGBT movement nationally — six states passed marriage equality laws and The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act — Equality Alabama said it was also a great year for the LGBT rights movement in Alabama, too.

The organization recently released a list of memorable events in Alabama’s LGBT movement for the year. Here are some of those:

1. ‘Roll Pride, War Equal T-shirts designed to advance equal rights for LGBTQ Alabamians’

2. ‘Alabama teens petition Legislature to repeal anti-homosexuality language in sex ed law’

3. In Alabama-Mississippi ‘intolerance-off,’ The Daily Show tests reactions to a gay couple, gets surprising reaction

4. ‘Thousands Show Up To Support Marriage Equality’

5. Birmingham City Council committee endorses city-wide human rights commission

6. ‘Magic City Acceptance’: New project seeks to help Alabama’s LGBT youth

7. ‘Birmingham Mayor Bell Comes Out For Equality’

8. ‘College Republican Stands Up For The Freedom To Marry’







Marriage Equality in Utah

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a stay of a lower-court ruling that had brought marriage equality to Utah. State officials had requested an emergency appeal of the lower-court ruling. The Supreme Court did not explain its reasoning for the stay or address the legality of the nearly 1,000 marriage licenses that have been issued to same-sex couples in the state. The case now heads to an appeals court in Denver.