I just feel like no matter what, prisons are bad for everybody. They aren’t just bad for trans people—they’re bad for all people. It wouldn’t be fair for me to make it seem like it was so hard for me, just as a trans women, because I’ve been around a lot of people who don’t deserve to be in prison at all. Prison is hard for everybody. We’ve all got our personal issues and have to do what we need to do to survive in there and be strong.
It’s not the right approach for people to sensationalize this story and say: You were a trans woman in a men’s prison. Because at the end of the day, all prisons are bad for all people—trans, cis, gay, straight, Black, white, Asian, brown, purple, polka-dotted, striped, zebra, alien or whatever.
Yes, I had my issues. I dealt with extra discrimination and extra scrutiny. I had to deal with things that other people wouldn’t have had to deal with in prison because I was a trans woman in a men’s prison. Of course, it was upsetting, and it was hard.
But I was blessed to have the support of a team that was willing to support me in this fight against the system. Not everyone in there had that—not everyone had support or someone to help them or be there for them, to protect them or understand them or get them in touch with the right resources. I was blessed to have that.
So yes, I can say how hard it was for me, but what about the people in prison who are there wrongfully or for petty charges or because of the criminalization of everything? There are men and women who have been in there for days, years, even decades—what about them?
December 15, 2013
California officials voted Thursday to overturn a discriminatory rule that prevented sex workers who are physically or sexually assaulted from receiving money from a special victim compensation fund intended to help the victims of violent crimes. The change in policy means that sex workers will now be eligible for state assistance to pay for medical and related expenses they incur as a result of the assault.
Members of the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board said they were compelled to change the “repugnant” rule after hearing the testimony of sex workers who have been assaulted and left without recourse or support following the crime, simply because of their job. Prior to the change, sex workers who were raped while working were not eligible for compensation because sex work is illegal in California, but the new policy recognizes that “rape is rape, period,” according to board chairwoman Marybel Batjer.
“Victims of this violent crime deserve compensation, regardless of circumstance,” she added.
As the Press Democrat reports, Carol Leigh, a representative of the Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network, was among the women who testified before the board. Leigh said she was raped by two men who entered the massage parlor where she worked. “[The men] took a knife to my throat and demanded sex and money,” she testified. “I realized that, as a sex worker, I was a sitting duck, that the system, basically, was set up so that I felt that I couldn’t go to the police. … The rapists know, and they see us as targets.”
“I think we sent a big message today from this board for the state of California, that we are now going to mirror some of our other states that feel the same way. It’s a national issue,” Michael Ramos, district attorney in San Bernardino County, said following the vote.
“It really opens the way for women who have suffered a very violent and traumatic act to get recognition from the state that something terrible happened and that you can get compensated for it,” Rachel West, of the U.S. PROStitutes Collective, said of the change.
But the fight for sex workers’ rights in California and elsewhere continues, said Maxine Doogan, an organizer for the Erotic Service Providers Union. “We would like the state of California to adopt the Obama administration policy on prostitution, which is that prostitution should not be discriminated against in seeking public services.”
December 11, 2013
The Indian Supreme Court has struck down a 2009 ruling by a lower court to decriminalize homosexual sex and will uphold the ban. India’s gay community was “disappointed” by the ruling and declared it was a “black day” for LGBT rights.
In Wednesday’s hearing the Supreme Court said that the Delhi High Court overreached its authority by ruling against the ban in 2009. The Delhi High Court moved to abolish Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which classifies anal sex as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” in 2009.
"It is for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code," the Supreme Court said on Wednesday.
Section 377 was introduced into the Indian legal system during British colonial rule in 1861.
Those found breaking the law banning homosexual intercourse can be punished by a fine and a maximum jail sentence of 10 years.
Before making the decision, justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya heard the appeals of representatives of various LGBT organizations as well as those of religious groups who decried the previous High Court ruling as against the cultural and religious values of the country.
LGBT activists who were in attendance at the hearing visibly broke down when the ruling was pronounced and said the verdict had “taken away their right to life,” reported the India Times.
"Such a decision was totally unexpected from the top court. It is a black day," Arvind Narrain, a lawyer for the Alternative Law Forum gay rights group, told reporters.
One of our main goals now is to destroy the Human Rights Campaign, because I’m tired of sitting on the back of the bumper. It’s not even the back of the bus anymore—it’s the back of the bumper. The bitch on wheels is back.
Isn’t it desperately sad that, at a time when we face formidable problems – poverty, HIV/AIDS, conflict – that the Anglican Communion can invest so much energy on disagreements about human sexuality? A communion that used to boast that one of its distinctive characteristics was something called comprehensiveness, that our communion, the Anglican Church, included just about everybody. Even if you had the most weird theology you could come in, you were allowed. And now we, who used to be held up in admiration by many because of this inclusiveness, are now spending time working out how we can excommunicate one another. God looks on and God weeps. God weeps.
Desmond Tutu “And God Smiles,” sermon preached at All Saints Church, Pasadena, California (November 6, 2005)
Another great quote against homophobia by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Today he’s made the news for saying this.