Chelsea Manning’s statement on judge approving her name change:
April 23 - Today is an exciting day. A judge in the state of Kansas has officially ordered my name to be changed from “Bradley Edward Manning” to “Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.” I’ve been working for months for this change, and waiting for years.
It’s worth noting that in both mail and in-person, I’ve often been asked, “Why are you changing your name?” The answer couldn’t be simpler: because it’s a far better, richer, and more honest reflection of who I am and always have been –a woman named Chelsea.
But there is another question I’ve been asked nearly as much, “why are you making this request of the Leavenworth district court?” This is a more complicated question, but the short answer is simple: because I have to.
Unfortunately, the trans* community faces three major obstacles to living a normal life in America: identity documentation, gender segregated institutions, and access to healthcare. And I’ve only just jumped through the first one of these hurdles.
It’s the most banal things –such as showing an ID card, going to the bathroom, and receiving trans-related healthcare –that in our current society keep us from having the means to live better, more productive, and safer lives. Unfortunately, there are many laws and procedures that often don’t consider trans* people, or even outright prevent them from doing the sort of simple day-to-day things that others take for granted.
Now, I am waiting on the military to assist me in accessing healthcare. In August, I requested that the military provide me with a treatment plan consistent with the recognized professional standards of care for trans health. They quickly evaluated me and informed me that they came up with a proposed treatment plan. However, I have not seen yet seen their treatment plan, and in over eight months, I have not received any response as to whether the plan will be approved or disapproved, or whether it follows the guidelines of qualified health professionals.
I’m optimistic that things can –and certainly will –change for the better.  There are so many people in America today that are willing and open to discuss trans-related issues. Hopefully today’s name change, while so meaningful to me personally, can also raise awareness of the fact that we trans* people exist everywhere in America today, and that we have must jump through hurdles every day just for being who we are. If I’m successful in obtaining access to trans healthcare, it will not only be something I have wanted for a long time myself, but it will also open the door for many people, both inside and outside the military, to request the right to live more open, fulfilled lives.
Thank you,
Chelsea Manning
How Chelsea Manning sees herself by Alicia Neal, commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support Network.

Chelsea Manning’s statement on judge approving her name change:

April 23 - Today is an exciting day. A judge in the state of Kansas has officially ordered my name to be changed from “Bradley Edward Manning” to “Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.” I’ve been working for months for this change, and waiting for years.

It’s worth noting that in both mail and in-person, I’ve often been asked, “Why are you changing your name?” The answer couldn’t be simpler: because it’s a far better, richer, and more honest reflection of who I am and always have been –a woman named Chelsea.

But there is another question I’ve been asked nearly as much, “why are you making this request of the Leavenworth district court?” This is a more complicated question, but the short answer is simple: because I have to.

Unfortunately, the trans* community faces three major obstacles to living a normal life in America: identity documentation, gender segregated institutions, and access to healthcare. And I’ve only just jumped through the first one of these hurdles.

It’s the most banal things –such as showing an ID card, going to the bathroom, and receiving trans-related healthcare –that in our current society keep us from having the means to live better, more productive, and safer lives. Unfortunately, there are many laws and procedures that often don’t consider trans* people, or even outright prevent them from doing the sort of simple day-to-day things that others take for granted.

Now, I am waiting on the military to assist me in accessing healthcare. In August, I requested that the military provide me with a treatment plan consistent with the recognized professional standards of care for trans health. They quickly evaluated me and informed me that they came up with a proposed treatment plan. However, I have not seen yet seen their treatment plan, and in over eight months, I have not received any response as to whether the plan will be approved or disapproved, or whether it follows the guidelines of qualified health professionals.

I’m optimistic that things can –and certainly will –change for the better.  There are so many people in America today that are willing and open to discuss trans-related issues. Hopefully today’s name change, while so meaningful to me personally, can also raise awareness of the fact that we trans* people exist everywhere in America today, and that we have must jump through hurdles every day just for being who we are. If I’m successful in obtaining access to trans healthcare, it will not only be something I have wanted for a long time myself, but it will also open the door for many people, both inside and outside the military, to request the right to live more open, fulfilled lives.

Thank you,

Chelsea Manning

How Chelsea Manning sees herself by Alicia Neal, commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support Network.

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?
Black lesbian couple found murdered in Galveston, TXMarch 10, 2014
The bodies of two Houston women, a lesbian couple, were discovered near a dumpster in Galveston County, Texas. Crystal Jackson and her girlfriend Britney Cosby, both 24, had been together for two years and lived together. Their bodies were found Friday morning next to a convenience store dumpster, reports Houston’s ABC 13.
Relatives say the two women went to Galveston for Mardi Gras. Detectives believe they were killed elsewhere and their bodies moved. Reports also indicate that they were murdered in different ways. It’s currently unclear whether this was a hate crime or there was some other motive for the murder.
“That was her girlfriend, that was her soulmate,” James Randle, neighbor to Britney Cosby, told ABC.
Investigators are looking for a silver 2006 Kia Sorrento with paper tags–a car the couple recently purchased together. It is missing and whoever took it may be the same person who took their lives, reporters say.
Anyone with information regarding the victims’ deaths or the stolen vehicle is asked to call the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 866-248-8477.
Source
Rest in power.

Black lesbian couple found murdered in Galveston, TX
March 10, 2014

The bodies of two Houston women, a lesbian couple, were discovered near a dumpster in Galveston County, Texas. Crystal Jackson and her girlfriend Britney Cosby, both 24, had been together for two years and lived together. Their bodies were found Friday morning next to a convenience store dumpster, reports Houston’s ABC 13.

Relatives say the two women went to Galveston for Mardi Gras. Detectives believe they were killed elsewhere and their bodies moved. Reports also indicate that they were murdered in different ways. It’s currently unclear whether this was a hate crime or there was some other motive for the murder.

“That was her girlfriend, that was her soulmate,” James Randle, neighbor to Britney Cosby, told ABC.

Investigators are looking for a silver 2006 Kia Sorrento with paper tags–a car the couple recently purchased together. It is missing and whoever took it may be the same person who took their lives, reporters say.

Anyone with information regarding the victims’ deaths or the stolen vehicle is asked to call the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 866-248-8477.

Source

Rest in power.

Watch “Pay it no Mind,” a documentary about trans activist & Stonewall Rebellion revolutionary Marsha P. Johnson, here.
With her final interview from 1992, Pay It No Mind captures the legendary gay/human rights activist as she recounts her life at the forefront of The Stonewall Riots in the 1960s, the creation of S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with Sylvia Rivera in the ’70s, and a New York City activist throughout the ’80s and early ’90s.
The film features interviews with Marsha, as well as in-depth interviews with gay activist Randy Wicker, former Cockettes performer Agosto Machado, author Michael Musto, Hot Peaches founder/performer, Jimmy Camicia, and Stonewall activists Bob Kohler, Danny Garvin, Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, and Martin Boyce.

Watch “Pay it no Mind,” a documentary about trans activist & Stonewall Rebellion revolutionary Marsha P. Johnson, here.

With her final interview from 1992Pay It No Mind captures the legendary gay/human rights activist as she recounts her life at the forefront of The Stonewall Riots in the 1960s, the creation of S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with Sylvia Rivera in the ’70s, and a New York City activist throughout the ’80s and early ’90s.

The film features interviews with Marsha, as well as in-depth interviews with gay activist Randy Wicker, former Cockettes performer Agosto Machado, author Michael MustoHot Peaches founder/performer, Jimmy Camicia, and Stonewall activists Bob KohlerDanny GarvinTommy Lanigan-Schmidt, and Martin Boyce.

It begins: 4 LGBT activists arrested for quoting Olympic CharterFebruary 7, 2014
The message has been sent loudly and clearly from Putin’s Russia: first rule of the Olympics, don’t talk about the Olympics. At least, don’t talk about what the Olympics, theoretically, are supposed to mean. Four activists were just arrested in St. Petersburg for carrying a sign that quoted Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter. That principle states, “Discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement.” Principle 6 has become a rallying cry for athletes who oppose LGBT discrimination and we should expect to see the ubiquitous number 6 on rebel athletes throughout the games.
That, however, did not help these four brave souls in St. Petersburg. They were arrested while preparing to hang a banner with the exact wording of Principle 6 from the city’s Belinskiy Bridge. One of those taken into custody was Anastasia Smirnova, a leading figure in the country’s LGBT movement. Smirnova has received international attention in recent months by continuously linking the oppression of the LGBT community with the Olympic Games. Human Rights Watch highlighted Smirnova’s work last year and quoted her saying, “Ours is a campaign for equality. It is a campaign that promotes the idea of human dignity for LGBT people in Russia—but it is not a campaign against the country.”
We don’t know the names of the others arrested, but it has been confirmed that one is pregnant. We also know, according an LGBT activist who witnessed the arrests, that their demonstration was over before it started, with police speeding in and surrounding the four in the time it would take to flip a coin. As this eyewitness, who asked to remain anonymous out of safety concerns,said to Buzzfeed, “Either the phones are being listened to or maybe there are cameras all over the city; only a few people knew about this action.”
The charges as of now are unclear. They are in custody for reasons that are still being speculated upon, but are probably being held for “participating in an illegal action”, essentially demonstrating without permission, or being in violation of Russia’s so-called “anti-gay propaganda” laws. One of the most frightening parts of these laws is that, as Jeff Sharlet outlined in GQ, they tend to mean whatever the authorities want them to mean. Is it propaganda if your 5-year-old daughter proudly tells her teacher that she has two mommies? Is it propaganda if you listen to music by an LGBT artist that your neighbor can hear through their walls? Is it propaganda if you are the pope and you say about the prospect of gay priests, “Who am I to judge?” The answer is a loud and emphatic, “Maybe… but do you really want to risk finding out?” In this way, these laws are not unlike the “no homo promo” laws that exist in eight states in the United States. What does it mean to “promote” homosexuality? Whatever the cops and state want it to mean at a given moment.
UPDATE—12:50 pm: According to Anastasia Smirnova’s Facebook page, she and the other arrested LGBT activists have been released after being charged with “participation in an illegal public assembly.” Their court hearings are scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.
Source

It begins: 4 LGBT activists arrested for quoting Olympic Charter
February 7, 2014

The message has been sent loudly and clearly from Putin’s Russia: first rule of the Olympics, don’t talk about the Olympics. At least, don’t talk about what the Olympics, theoretically, are supposed to mean. Four activists were just arrested in St. Petersburg for carrying a sign that quoted Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter. That principle states, “Discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement.” Principle 6 has become a rallying cry for athletes who oppose LGBT discrimination and we should expect to see the ubiquitous number 6 on rebel athletes throughout the games.

That, however, did not help these four brave souls in St. Petersburg. They were arrested while preparing to hang a banner with the exact wording of Principle 6 from the city’s Belinskiy Bridge. One of those taken into custody was Anastasia Smirnova, a leading figure in the country’s LGBT movement. Smirnova has received international attention in recent months by continuously linking the oppression of the LGBT community with the Olympic Games. Human Rights Watch highlighted Smirnova’s work last year and quoted her saying, “Ours is a campaign for equality. It is a campaign that promotes the idea of human dignity for LGBT people in Russia—but it is not a campaign against the country.”

We don’t know the names of the others arrested, but it has been confirmed that one is pregnant. We also know, according an LGBT activist who witnessed the arrests, that their demonstration was over before it started, with police speeding in and surrounding the four in the time it would take to flip a coin. As this eyewitness, who asked to remain anonymous out of safety concerns,said to Buzzfeed, “Either the phones are being listened to or maybe there are cameras all over the city; only a few people knew about this action.”

The charges as of now are unclear. They are in custody for reasons that are still being speculated upon, but are probably being held for “participating in an illegal action”, essentially demonstrating without permission, or being in violation of Russia’s so-called “anti-gay propaganda” laws. One of the most frightening parts of these laws is that, as Jeff Sharlet outlined in GQ, they tend to mean whatever the authorities want them to mean. Is it propaganda if your 5-year-old daughter proudly tells her teacher that she has two mommies? Is it propaganda if you listen to music by an LGBT artist that your neighbor can hear through their walls? Is it propaganda if you are the pope and you say about the prospect of gay priests, “Who am I to judge?” The answer is a loud and emphatic, “Maybe… but do you really want to risk finding out?” In this way, these laws are not unlike the “no homo promo” laws that exist in eight states in the United States. What does it mean to “promote” homosexuality? Whatever the cops and state want it to mean at a given moment.

UPDATE—12:50 pmAccording to Anastasia Smirnova’s Facebook pageshe and the other arrested LGBT activists have been released after being charged with “participation in an illegal public assembly.” Their court hearings are scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Source

queer--up
redupnyc:

Phoenix, Arizona has some of the most severe prostitution laws in the United States.
According to a municipal statute titled ‘manifestation’, an intent to commit prostitution includes activities like waving at cars, talking to passers-bys, and inquiring if someone is a police officer. Mandatory minimum sentencing and felony upgrades make it highly probable that workers are funneled into the prison system for sex work related offenses. Alongside Arizona’s already brutal racial profiling laws, these anti-prostitution statutes enable police to profile and harass people of color, immigrants, people in poverty, and LGBTQ people.[Read More]

redupnyc:

Phoenix, Arizona has some of the most severe prostitution laws in the United States.

According to a municipal statute titled ‘manifestation’, an intent to commit prostitution includes activities like waving at cars, talking to passers-bys, and inquiring if someone is a police officer. Mandatory minimum sentencing and felony upgrades make it highly probable that workers are funneled into the prison system for sex work related offenses. Alongside Arizona’s already brutal racial profiling laws, these anti-prostitution statutes enable police to profile and harass people of color, immigrants, people in poverty, and LGBTQ people.

[Read More]


BREAKING: Ugandan Pres. Blocks Anti-Homosexuality BillJanuary 16, 2013
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has blocked the nation’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill on a technicality, Uganda’s Daily Monitor is reporting.
In a lengthy letter to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Museveni alleges that a quorum was not present on the day she pushed the bill through, which would render its passage void. Furthermore, he rebukes her for moving forward with the measure even after he said it should be shelved so the government could study the issue in greater detail.

"Some elements, however, insisted and even without quorum of Parliament, passed it," the President said. "How can you pass law without the quorum of Parliament after it has been pointed out? What sort of Parliament is this? How can Parliament be the one to break the Constitution and the Law repeatedly?"

But don’t think President Museveni has developed a soft spot for the gays:

The President said a homosexual is somebody who is abnormal because the normal person was created to be attracted to the opposite sex in order to procreate and perpetuate the human race. He said, nature goes wrong in a minority of cases.
While in the Bill passed by Parliament there is no provision for killing homosexuals; the President said, “The question at the core of the debate of homosexuality is; what do we do with an abnormal person? Do we kill him/her? Do we imprison him/her? Or we do contain him/her?”

Museveni also used the occasion to expound on his theories about the supposed causes of homosexuality: “random breeding” in Western societies, economic disempowerment, and financial incentives.




The President said that he believes homosexuality can be cured, rejecting the position that it’s a naturally occurring variation of human sexuality. “”You cannot call an abnormality an alternative orientation,” he said. “It could be that the Western societies, on account of random breeding, have generated many abnormal people.”
Museveni’s musings on homosexuality were mostly confined to the male variety:

The President said apart from the people who are abnormal, it seems there is a group of those that become homosexual for “mercenary reasons”—they get recruited on account of financial inducements. He said this is a group that can be rescued and that many of the youth fall in this category.

He did have a few thoughts about lesbianism, though:

As for lesbians, the President said apart from those born abnormal and those ones that may become lesbian for mercenary reasons, there may be those that go into the practice because of “sexual starvation” when they fail to get married.

According to the Monitor, Museveni indicated that the ruling NRM Party would be able to find a “scientifically correct position” on the proposed law.
And what about these mysterious (a.k.a. non-existent) recruiters who apparently roam the land offering fistfuls of cash to entice impoverished but “normal” Ugandans into homosexuality? Museveni said he supports locking them up for life.
His solution for combating homosexuality is simple: jobs, jobs, jobs.

The President said the rescue for homosexuals is first and foremost, economic, focusing on rapidly industrialised Uganda, modernisation of agriculture etc. By delaying government projects needed to create jobs for the unemployed youth, the President said the MPs are exposing the unemployed youth or “impecunious students” to the risks of homosexuality and other temptations.

Source
Let’s keep in mind the way right wing evangelicals in the United States have helped shape and influence the political climate in Uganda against homosexuality.
I’m glad the bill was blocked.

BREAKING: Ugandan Pres. Blocks Anti-Homosexuality Bill
January 16, 2013

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has blocked the nation’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill on a technicality, Uganda’s Daily Monitor is reporting.

In a lengthy letter to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Museveni alleges that a quorum was not present on the day she pushed the bill through, which would render its passage void. Furthermore, he rebukes her for moving forward with the measure even after he said it should be shelved so the government could study the issue in greater detail.

"Some elements, however, insisted and even without quorum of Parliament, passed it," the President said. "How can you pass law without the quorum of Parliament after it has been pointed out? What sort of Parliament is this? How can Parliament be the one to break the Constitution and the Law repeatedly?"

But don’t think President Museveni has developed a soft spot for the gays:

The President said a homosexual is somebody who is abnormal because the normal person was created to be attracted to the opposite sex in order to procreate and perpetuate the human race. He said, nature goes wrong in a minority of cases.

While in the Bill passed by Parliament there is no provision for killing homosexuals; the President said, “The question at the core of the debate of homosexuality is; what do we do with an abnormal person? Do we kill him/her? Do we imprison him/her? Or we do contain him/her?”

Museveni also used the occasion to expound on his theories about the supposed causes of homosexuality: “random breeding” in Western societies, economic disempowerment, and financial incentives.

The President said that he believes homosexuality can be cured, rejecting the position that it’s a naturally occurring variation of human sexuality. “”You cannot call an abnormality an alternative orientation,” he said. “It could be that the Western societies, on account of random breeding, have generated many abnormal people.”

Museveni’s musings on homosexuality were mostly confined to the male variety:

The President said apart from the people who are abnormal, it seems there is a group of those that become homosexual for “mercenary reasons”—they get recruited on account of financial inducements. He said this is a group that can be rescued and that many of the youth fall in this category.

He did have a few thoughts about lesbianism, though:

As for lesbians, the President said apart from those born abnormal and those ones that may become lesbian for mercenary reasons, there may be those that go into the practice because of “sexual starvation” when they fail to get married.

According to the Monitor, Museveni indicated that the ruling NRM Party would be able to find a “scientifically correct position” on the proposed law.

And what about these mysterious (a.k.a. non-existent) recruiters who apparently roam the land offering fistfuls of cash to entice impoverished but “normal” Ugandans into homosexuality? Museveni said he supports locking them up for life.

His solution for combating homosexuality is simple: jobs, jobs, jobs.

The President said the rescue for homosexuals is first and foremost, economic, focusing on rapidly industrialised Uganda, modernisation of agriculture etc. By delaying government projects needed to create jobs for the unemployed youth, the President said the MPs are exposing the unemployed youth or “impecunious students” to the risks of homosexuality and other temptations.

Source

Let’s keep in mind the way right wing evangelicals in the United States have helped shape and influence the political climate in Uganda against homosexuality.

I’m glad the bill was blocked.

In major legal victory, sex workers in California gain access to victim compensation rights

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.”

Source

India Supreme Court upholds colonial ban on gay sex

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. 

Full article

There’s a rally today against the Section 377 judgement in NYC at the Indian Consulate at 4 p.m.!

Charges dropped against man accused of beating Islan Nettles to death
November 20, 2013

The Manhattan District Attorney has dropped misdemeanor assualt charges against a Harlem man who was accused of beating 21-year-old transgender woman Islan Nettles to death.

From DNA Info:

The family of Paris Wilson, 20, broke into applause when Judge Steven Statsinger announced that misdemeanor assault charges against him were dismissed. Outside the courtroom, Wilson hugged and kissed his family.

But Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Viorst said his office is still “aggressively investigating”  what he called a “deeply complex” case.

“It should be emphasized, however, that the crime we are investigating, homicide, has no statutory speedy-trial deadline,” said Viorst in citing speedy trial requirements as a reason for dropping the misdemeanor charges.

After Wilson was arrested in the case, his mother brought another man to police who confessed to the crime, but claimed not to remember much because he was intoxicated. Police initially believed the confession of the second man to be false.

Nettles was walking with a group of friends in Harlem on August 17 when she was attacked by a group of men and later died from her injuries at Harlem Hospital three days later. According to prosecutors, the men shouted homophobic insults during the attack and the inconsistency among witnesses has been a major setback in purusing criminal charges in the case.

Source

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor the lives of the trans community that have been lost to transphobic violence. My heart is breaking for Islan’s family & friends today. I think of all the trans youth I work with in Harlem who never feel safe walking around in their own neighborhoods & how people like Paris Wilson continue to get away with this violence. 

I’ll be joining the Bronx/Harlem LGBT Task Force in the first ever Transgender Day of Remembrance March today at 6 p.m. at 138th St. & 3rd Ave. 

'I am Chelsea Manning,' says jailed soldier formerly known as BradleyAugust 22, 2013
The US soldier who was sentenced as Bradley Manning on Wednesday plans to undergo hormone therapy and has asked to be recognised as a woman.
In a statement on Thursday Manning said she would like to be known as Chelsea E Manning and be referred to by female pronouns.
"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," she wrote.
"I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition."
But Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas, where Manning is due to serve out her sentence, said on Thursday that it would not provide trans treatment beyond psychiatric support, in a move criticised as unconstitutional by activists and LGBT groups.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents. She was found guilty of 20 counts, six of them under the Espionage Act, but her lawyers argued during the trial that Manning was acting out of a sense of duty to her country.
"I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility)," Manning’s statement read. "I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back."
She thanked her supporters for helping to “keep me strong” during her arrest and trial and for funding her defense.
During her trial it emerged that Manning had emailed a picture of herself, wearing a long blonde wig and lipstick, to her supervisor. In the subject line Manning had written: “My Problem”.
Manning’s lawyers argued that this was an example of how the soldier’s supervisors failed her on numerous occasions and contributed to the stress she was under.
"The stress that [she] was under was mostly to give context to what was going on at the time," Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, told NBC’s Today show on Thursday.
"It was never an excuse because that’s not what drove [her] actions. What drove [her] actions was a strong moral compass."
Manning has already spent three and a half years in prison awaiting trial.Her sentence was reduced by 112 days in January after a judge ruled she had been subjected to excessively harsh treatment in military detention.
Coombs has confirmed that Manning will spend her sentence at Fort Leavenworth military prison, however a spokeswoman for the prison said this week that treatment for inmates at the prison does not include hormone therapy.
"All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science noncommissioned officers with experience in addressing the needs of military personnel in pre- and post-trial confinement," Kimberly Lewis told Courthouse News Service.
"The army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder."
Coombs said on Thursday that he is “hoping” that Fort Leavenworth “would do the right thing” and provide hormone therapy.
"If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so."
Trans and civil liberties groups said it would be “unconstitutional” for Fort Leavenworth not to give Manning treatment.
"This is the United States. We do not deny medical treatment to prisoners," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National National Center for Transgender Equality.
"It is illegal, it’s unconstitutional. That is fairly settled law under the eighth amendment against cruel and unusual punishment. The medical community is now unified that transition-related care is legitimate medical care that can successfully treat a serious underlying condition."
The American Civil Liberties Union said Manning had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and should receive hormone therapy. Statements by Fort Leavenworth to the contrary raise “serious constitutional concerns”, said Chase Strangio, an attorney with the union’s LGBT project.
"The official policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and most state agencies is to provide medically necessary care for the treatment of gender dysphoria, and courts have consistently found that denying such care to prisoners based on blanket exclusions violates the eighth amendment of the constitution."
Aside from the issue of treatment, Keisling said there was a “systemic problem” with how the justice system treats trans people, who she said face a “heightened amount of sexual assault” in both federal and military prisons.
"Trans people tend to be treated unfairly in terms of arrests, in terms of prosecution, in terms of conviction, sentencing and their time in jails and prison. It’s a dramatically serious problem that Americans don’t know about."Trans prisoners should undergo an “individualised assessment”, she said, to determine how they should be incarcerated.
"It is a much more complicated than trans women should be in women’s prisons and trans men should be in men’s prisons.
"They should take into account what will be more safe for the prisoner. They need to look at things like a prisoners’ past history of being a victim or of victimising other people.
"They need to look at the person’s self-assessment of where they would be safe. They need to look at a person’s gender identity, they need to look at a person’s sexual orientation."
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'I am Chelsea Manning,' says jailed soldier formerly known as Bradley
August 22, 2013

The US soldier who was sentenced as Bradley Manning on Wednesday plans to undergo hormone therapy and has asked to be recognised as a woman.

In a statement on Thursday Manning said she would like to be known as Chelsea E Manning and be referred to by female pronouns.

"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," she wrote.

"I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition."

But Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas, where Manning is due to serve out her sentence, said on Thursday that it would not provide trans treatment beyond psychiatric support, in a move criticised as unconstitutional by activists and LGBT groups.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents. She was found guilty of 20 counts, six of them under the Espionage Act, but her lawyers argued during the trial that Manning was acting out of a sense of duty to her country.

"I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility)," Manning’s statement read. "I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back."

She thanked her supporters for helping to “keep me strong” during her arrest and trial and for funding her defense.

During her trial it emerged that Manning had emailed a picture of herself, wearing a long blonde wig and lipstick, to her supervisor. In the subject line Manning had written: “My Problem”.

Manning’s lawyers argued that this was an example of how the soldier’s supervisors failed her on numerous occasions and contributed to the stress she was under.

"The stress that [she] was under was mostly to give context to what was going on at the time," Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, told NBC’s Today show on Thursday.

"It was never an excuse because that’s not what drove [her] actions. What drove [her] actions was a strong moral compass."

Manning has already spent three and a half years in prison awaiting trial.Her sentence was reduced by 112 days in January after a judge ruled she had been subjected to excessively harsh treatment in military detention.

Coombs has confirmed that Manning will spend her sentence at Fort Leavenworth military prison, however a spokeswoman for the prison said this week that treatment for inmates at the prison does not include hormone therapy.

"All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science noncommissioned officers with experience in addressing the needs of military personnel in pre- and post-trial confinement," Kimberly Lewis told Courthouse News Service.

"The army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder."

Coombs said on Thursday that he is “hoping” that Fort Leavenworth “would do the right thing” and provide hormone therapy.

"If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so."

Trans and civil liberties groups said it would be “unconstitutional” for Fort Leavenworth not to give Manning treatment.

"This is the United States. We do not deny medical treatment to prisoners," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National National Center for Transgender Equality.

"It is illegal, it’s unconstitutional. That is fairly settled law under the eighth amendment against cruel and unusual punishment. The medical community is now unified that transition-related care is legitimate medical care that can successfully treat a serious underlying condition."

The American Civil Liberties Union said Manning had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and should receive hormone therapy. Statements by Fort Leavenworth to the contrary raise “serious constitutional concerns”, said Chase Strangio, an attorney with the union’s LGBT project.

"The official policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and most state agencies is to provide medically necessary care for the treatment of gender dysphoria, and courts have consistently found that denying such care to prisoners based on blanket exclusions violates the eighth amendment of the constitution."

Aside from the issue of treatment, Keisling said there was a “systemic problem” with how the justice system treats trans people, who she said face a “heightened amount of sexual assault” in both federal and military prisons.

"Trans people tend to be treated unfairly in terms of arrests, in terms of prosecution, in terms of conviction, sentencing and their time in jails and prison. It’s a dramatically serious problem that Americans don’t know about."

Trans prisoners should undergo an “individualised assessment”, she said, to determine how they should be incarcerated.

"It is a much more complicated than trans women should be in women’s prisons and trans men should be in men’s prisons.

"They should take into account what will be more safe for the prisoner. They need to look at things like a prisoners’ past history of being a victim or of victimising other people.

"They need to look at the person’s self-assessment of where they would be safe. They need to look at a person’s gender identity, they need to look at a person’s sexual orientation."

Source

Louisiana police arrest men for agreeing to consensual gay sex under unconstitutional sodomy laws
July 28, 2013

According to a special report from the Baton Rouge Advocate, the Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office is conducting stings to find men willing to have consensual gay sex and arresting them for crimes against nature. No money is discussed in these exchanges; the men are being targeted and humiliated under the state’s sodomy law, which has been unconstitutional since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling.

At least a dozen of these arrests have taken place since 2011, with the most recent taking place July 18. District Attorney Hillar Moore III said that none of these cases have been prosecuted because no crime occurred, but these men are still being arrested, temporarily jailed, and fined merely for agreeing to private sexual activity. According to a statement from Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, the department clearly doesn’t understand that the sodomy law is unenforceable. In fact, she defended the arrests simply because the invitations for sex took place in a public park — even though the sex itself was still going to take place in a private residence:

HICKS: This is a law that is currently on the Louisiana books, and the sheriff is charged with enforcing the laws passed by our Louisiana Legislature…These are not bars. These are parks. These are family environments.

Manchac Park, where the stings have largely taken place, has been known as a place where “cruising” for anonymous sex takes place, but neither talking about sex nor agreeing to sex are violations of obscenity laws.

When Lawrence was decided, then-Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub issued a statement asserting that the state’s anti-sodomy law could not be enforced, except in cases of prostitution and bestiality. Still, the law remains on the books, as it does in many other states. Two years ago, a sheriff’s office in Michigan was similarly found to be entrapping gay men under that state’s anti-sodomy law, which also hasn’t been repealed, even though it’s similarly unenforceable. In Virginia, backward-ass Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is fighting to maintain a Crimes Against Nature Law that federal courts have specifically struck down since Lawrence.

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