LGBT Victims of Violence: ‘Going to the Cops Will Only Make It Worse’
When Milan Nicole was 16 years old, she went out for an ordinary walk, on an otherwise ordinary day in her New Orleans neighborhood. Moments after leaving her door, she recalls, a man approached her and invited her back to his apartment for a drink—an offer she accepted.
Seconds later, she was in handcuffs. The man was a police officer, and he was arresting Nicole for prostitution. “I was not doing street work,” insists Nicole.
A transgender woman of color, Nicole says her story is indicative of how police continue to treat members of the LGBT community— particularly transgender women and LGBT people of color.
“I was charged with a ‘crime against nature’—a felony offense—just for being a black transgender female walking down the street,” says Nicole.
The stats show that hers is not an isolated case.
A study released on Tuesday by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs shows that transgender people are 3.32 times more likely to face violence from law enforcement than non-transgender people. As if that weren’t bad enough, transgender people of color are nearly 2.5 times more likely to face attacks by police than white members of the transgender community.
Nicole’s story underscores an often-adversarial relationship the LGBT community shares with police departments across the country—and not just in the Deep South.
Only half of LGBT victims of violence that reported their assaults to the Anti-Violence Project, reported their experiences to law enforcement.
“In New York City, we’ve seen law enforcement arresting members of the LGBT community for possessing condoms—which they cite as evidence of prostitution,” New York City Anti-Violence Project community organizer Ejeris Dixon tells TakePart.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Community United Against Violence organizer Maria Carolina Morales says that an enhanced deportation scheme by local police has driven undocumented victims of LGBT hate crimes underground —afraid to even go to the hospital after an attack, for fear that police will come and start asking questions.
“Victims of violence are seeing their survival criminalized by the state,” says Morales.
The result of this police antagonism is that huge numbers of hate attacks against the LGBT community go unreported, and uninvestigated. As a result of the accumulated distrust that has built up over the years, “Only half of LGBT victims of violence that reported their assaults to the Anti-Violence Project, reported their experiences to law enforcement,” says Dixon.
Nationally, according to the NCAVP report, the raw numbers of reported anti-gay hate crimes in 2012 are shocking on their own. There were 2,016 incidents of anti-LGBT violence in 2012, and 25 documented LGBT-hate homicides.
“Though the recent spate of hate violence incidents in New York City has captured the media’s attention, this report demonstrates that severe acts of violence against gay men, transgender people and LGBTQ people of color are, unfortunately, not unique to Manhattan nor to the past month, but rather part of a troubling trend in the United States,” says Chai Jindasurat, NCAVP Coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. “NCAVP’s report findings are a wakeup call that LGBTQ people are facing extremely high levels of violence that need to be addressed as a priority in the United States.”
Ending violence against the LGBT community will take a massive overhaul in the way huge segments of the population continue to regard LGBT rights—a battle for hearts and minds that shows no immediate end in sight.
But that is no excuse for making the LGBT community wait to receive equal protection and treatment from law enforcement.
Rentboy: For What It's Worth
By Dale Cooper Porn actor
...federal officers, largely comprised of Department of Homeland Security personnel and with the help of the NYPD, raided the offices of Rentboy.com in Manhattan. The CEO as well as five current and one former employee were arrested, either at the office or at their home. As Melissa Gira Grant reports for Vice, they are charged with "conspiring to violate the Travel Act," a law that ups lesser charges for the illegal act of prostitution (generally a matter for states and municipalities) to the federal level when those activities cross state lines.
...The message from the federal government has largely been a threat to the lives and livelihood of US citizens, who are, it must be said, under the law, criminals. More so, though, that the country is less invested in addressing larger, systemic issues of racial, economic and anti-LGBT injustice and more interested in criminalizing the individuals most marginalized by those systems. It should be clear that in the entirety of the complaint issued by the fed there is absolutely no pretense of victimhood on any particular person or entity's part. Again, Rentboy is, at least not yet, charged with "trafficking." As Scott Shackford put it in Reason, "there is absolutely nothing in the complaint that even hints at the idea that there is anything non-consensual happening, that so much as a single human being is harmed, even tangentially, by letting men pay for sex with other men."
...The same method of punishing the easiest to punish is sadly also being applied in the case of Rentboy. There can be no doubt that it is not just the defendants in the case levied by the federal government whose lives are turned upside down: the advertisers on the site are bereft of their method for making ends meet. I am colleagues with several of these people, and some are friends. They are scared. The government has access, in the seized servers, to all of their personal information, not to mention that of their clients. The number of lives wrecked by this move of the federal government is large, and now their work is pushed to the much more dangerous option of going back underground, or on to the streets, as was the case in the myRedbook and Backpage shutdowns. Many of these people lack the social and financial safety nets of criminals much further down the downright wicked spectrum in the United States, whose white collar crimes continue to go under-reported and under-punished.
...As a current sex worker and someone who advertised on Rentboy himself stated, "The people at Rentboy weren't doing anything wrong -- they were doing something illegal." It is a law affecting a large segment of our economy that has always been there, and one that it is high time it changed. The most prudent path, the one that benefits the most people, would be to make laws against sex work a relic of the past, much like laws against gay marriage should be. This is more than the battle for current sex workers -- this is a cause that anyone whose decisions regarding what they did with their body and their sex were circumscribed by the law should take up for the battle cry for. Whatever your opinion of sex work, though, we should at least be able to agree that our government has more important issues to tackle.
...Again, this was largely carried out by the Department of Homeland Security, whose "core missions," according to their website, are to prevent terrorism and enhance security, secure and manage US borders, enforce and administer immigration law, safeguard and secure cyberspace and ensure resilience to disasters.
Follow Dale Cooper on Twitter: www.twitter.com/daledoesporn
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EDITORS NOTE: To all police (LE) priest (churches) and hypocrites (snitches): This is my mind and my body, not yours. I will get high and fornicate as much as I want. You should just go back to stuffing your stupid faces with doughnuts and leave the rest of us alone. Why don't you get a real job and stop sucking on the public tit? Try working for a living like the rest of us, you lazy worthless bastards!
“I was like, Am I gay? Am I straight? And I realized...I'm just slutty. Where's my parade?”
― Margaret Cho
“Being gay is like glitter, it never goes away.”
― Lady Gaga
“Understand that sexuality is as wide as the sea. Understand that your morality is not law. Understand that we are you. Understand that if we decide to have sex whether safe, safer, or unsafe, it is our decision and you have no rights in our lovemaking.”
― Derek Jarman
“Straight? So is spaghetti until you heat it up”
― Jet Mykles, Squire
“It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.”
― Harvey Milk
“Lots of people hate gay people.
You can tell who they are because they start sentences with, "It's not like I hate gay people.”
― Ali Liebegott
“I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.”
― Arnold Schwarzenegger
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The Mike Pence (Donald Trump) Assault On LGBTQ Equality Is Already Underway
By Michelangelo Signorile
I’m not going to sugar-coat this at all. We are in for a full-blown assault on LGBTQ rights the likes of which many, particularly younger LGBTQ people, have not seen. Progress will most certainly be halted completely, likely rolled back. And it’s already underway.
First, forget any of your thinking that Donald Trump is from New York City, probably has gay friends, sent Elton John a congratulatory note on his civil union in 2005, used the term “LGBTQ” (in pitting gays against Muslims at the Republican National Convention, when he vowed only to protect us from a “hateful foreign ideology”) or any other superficial things you may have read or heard.
Ronald Reagan was from Hollywood, and he, too, had many gay friends, including legendary actor Rock Hudson. Reagan even came out against an anti-gay state initiative while he was governor of California. But once Reagan made his pact with the religious right in his run for the presidency ― for him it was Jerry Falwell, Sr., for Trump it’s Jerry Falwell Jr.― he had to bow to them if he wanted to get re-elected.
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