No, Washington Post–it’s not an “unusual fixation.” It’s called racism, and it’s quite common.

Let’s play a game called “edit out the whitewashing in this Washington Post article:”

Khalid Jabara was worried.

Last year, his mother had been jogging through the family’s quiet Tulsa neighborhood when she was nearly killed in a vicious hit-and-run. Police quickly arrested Vernon Majors, who, according to a police report, confessed to the crime and even offered a motive, calling the Jabaras “filthy Lebanese.”

On May 25 of this year, however, Majors bonded out of jail.

That’s when he returned home — right next to the Jabaras.

Must be some of that “tough on crime” policy to let loose an attempted murderer.

On Friday, Khalid learned that his next-door neighbor, the man accused of harassing his family and attacking his mother, was now armed.

Not “attacking.” Attempting to murder. Let’s not beat about the bush here.

“Khalid called the police stating this man had a gun and that he was scared for what might happen,” his sister, Victoria Jabara Williams, wrote on Facebook. “The police came and told him there was nothing to be done.”

Police useless until there’s a body? Say it ain’t so.

[Read more…]

Killed for being trans, but it’s not a hate crime?

Content Notice: transmisogyny, graphic violence.

Another trans woman murdered in her own home. The attacker repeatedly called her the devil prior to killing her. Killed for the crime of existing while trans, and the police have not classified it as a hate crime.

Columbus, Ohio police are investigating the death of 28-year-old Rae’Lynn Thomas, who was shot and killed by her mother’s ex-boyfriend, who lived with her family at the time, according to WBNS.

Thomas’ mother, Renee Thomas, shared her daughter’s final words with local news:

“Mom, please please don’t leave me. Mom, I’m dying,” she said. “Mom, I love you. Tell my sisters and my brother I love them. Tell my family I love them. Mom, I’m dying, I’m dying, please don’t leave me.”

Renee Thomas said her daughter transitioned 10 years ago. Rae’Lynn’s aunt, Shannon Thomas, said Rae’Lynn was a performer who was dedicated to fashion.

According to Renee Thomas, her ex James Allen Byrd was transphobic and often called Rae’Lynn “the devil.” Renee Thomas says Byrd repeated the word before shooting Rae’Lynn in their Columbus home.

“He was in the bedroom and he just came around the corner and shot my [daughter],” she said. After two shots, Byrd grabbed Rae’Lynn and began beating her.

“He took a light away from all of us that we can’t get back,” Shannon Thomas said to WBNS. “And he needs to pay. He needs to pay.”

At least five transgender women have been killed in the past two months. On Wednesday, Mic reported that 36-year-old Erykah Tijerina was killed in El Paso, Texas. In July, three transgender women were killed in the United States: Washington, D.C.’s  Deeniquia Dodds, Mississippi’s Dee Whigham and Cleveland’s Skye Mockabee. Mockabee and Thomas’s death happened within weeks of each other in the same state — Ohio.

Local Ohio community organizers have expressed their condolences and plan to take action.

“Our hearts, minds and condolences are with the family, friends, and community of Rae’Lynn in this time of tragedy,” Aaron Eckhardt, training and technical assistance director of the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, said in a statement.

“We must continue to come together as a broad community of support to say hate has no home in Ohio, hate has no home anywhere,” Echardt added.

An official from New York City’s Anti-Violence Project said this is the 18th confirmed killing of a transgender or gender nonconforming person in 2016.

Of the 24 reported hate violence homicides of LGBTQ people in 2015, 67% were transgender or gender nonconforming, according to the NCAVP‘s annual report on hate violence. Thirteen of the 24 — 54% of those killed — were trans women of color.

Both Rae’Lynn’s mother and aunt want to see Byrd spend his life in jail.

“I want to see him go to jail forever,” Shannon Thomas said.

“Life in prison. Spend your life in prison. That’s what you do,” Renee Thomas said. “I don’t want you to spend your life with your family.”

Byrd, 53, is being held on a $2 million bond and faces a murder charge for Rae’Lynn’s death, which is not being investigated as a hate crime.

Say her name. Rae’Lynn.


School district apparently forgets how the Nazis operated by ordering trans students to ID selves with green bracelets

I’ve officially popped my casket. (emphasis mine)

The Wisconsin lawsuit notes other problems with how the school treated Whitaker. He was repeatedly called by his birth name and referred to with female pronouns by school staff, wasn’t allowed to run for prom king (until the school received a petition and media scrutiny), and wasn’t allowed to lodge with boys during school trips. The district also requires staff to make Whitaker and other transgender students wear green bracelets identifying them as transgender to staff — which caused Whitaker to worry about stigmatization and harassment, according to his lawyers. The school eventually instructed security guards to ensure Whitaker didn’t use the boys restroom.

I have no words.

Sue this district into fucking oblivion, please.


#SayHerName: Another trans woman murdered

A black trans woman by the name of Deeniquia Dodds was shot on the 4th of July in Washington D.C. She passed away on Thursday after 10 days in the hospital.

The devastating trend continues: Today, NBC News reported that Black trans woman Deeniquia Dodds was shot in Washington D.C. on the fourth of July. Deeniquia, known as “Dee Dee” to her friends, was taken to the hospital where she was kept alive on life support for ten days before passing away yesterday. According to Dee Dee’s Facebook page, she attended Woodson High School in the greater D.C. area and graduated in 2012. She was 22 years old.

Autostraddle’s trans editor, Mey Valdivia Rude, stated better than I ever could why we need to double down on our protests, our activism for trans folk and especially trans women of colour:

Things are supposed to be getting better. Cis people are noticing us and writing about us and making TV shows and movies about us. But really it just seems like things are getting better for our “allies.” Trans people, mostly trans women of color, and again, mostly Black trans women who sleep with men, are being murdered at a higher rate than any measured year before. It’s hard to look at all the articles being written about how this is our time and our moment in history and not explode in anger when so many of our Black and Brown sisters and elders aren’t being allowed to see this “historic moment” happen by the same cis society that is supposedly giving us this moment right now. Trans people, trans women of color, Black trans women need to be protected, prioritized and not fucking murdered.

I strongly recommend additional reading here, from this trans WoC.

Remember her name.


What trans people mean when we say “misgendering is violence”

Content Notice: Dissecting hate speech, TERFs and transphobia

I’d like to introduce you to a concept, of which there seem to be multiple sources or authors. It’s often called The Violence Pyramid, or another derivative thereof. As would be suggested by the notion of a pyramid, each level facilitates movement to the one above it, the same way one builds a pyramid. In this case, reaching the top is not desirable.

Source: cindywatt

Also from cindywatt:

Psychotherapist Howard Halpern, in a brilliant New York Times piece in 1995, gave a spot on summation of gradual escalation of hate and violence.  He said, “ Social psychologists and demagogues have long known that if ordinary citizens are to be provoked to violent actions against individuals or groups of fellow citizens, it is necessary to sever the empathic bond with those to be attacked by painting them as different and despicable.   We are unlikely to harm a friendly neighbor because she has strong views about equal rights for women, but if we call her a “femi-Nazi,” she becomes “the other” — evil, dangerous, hated.  We are unlikely to harm the couple down the block who are active on behalf of protecting endangered species, but if we call them “environmental whackos,” they become “the other” — weirdos who must be vilified and suppressed as enemies to “normal” Americans. When our shared humanity with those with whom we disagree is stripped away, it becomes acceptable to blow them up. The answer is certainly not to censor such speech, but those who recognize this danger must challenge it wherever it exists, even in those with whom we politically agree.” 

Not to pull a Godwin, but the above proposed pyramid is practically a timeline for Hitler’s rise to power. He unified a particular demographic of Germans and whipped them into a froth over how unfairly they were treated, then he tapped into a pre-existing prejudice (antisemitism) and over the course of his election, and after it, gradually escalated his chosen boogeyman until at least some Germans–enough Germans–felt justified in state-sponsored violence against Jews.

When I react strongly to misgendering, this pyramid is what comes to mind. The bottom stripe mentions “insensitive remarks and non-inclusive language.” I have to wonder: This person is already denying me a critically important aspect of my identity–is there anything else they will take hostage?

[Read more…]

Anti-Queer hate crime on the rise

MetroNews found from the Edmonton Police crime stats that anti-Queer hate crime in 2016 has already surpassed the entirety of incidents from 2015:

Attacks on LGBTQ residents have made up about 25 per cent of events investigated by the EPS Hate Crimes unit in 2016, compared to less than eight per cent last year, according to police.

Police told Metro Tuesday that nine of 38 occurrences forwarded to the Hate Crimes Unit this year have been directed toward LGBTQ people, and five were classified as crimes (the other four were “hate-motivated incidents”).

In all of 2015, police recorded just one hate-motivated crime and six hate-motivated incidents perpetrated against the LGBTQ community.

Now would be an excellent time to start confronting folks contributing to a culture of violence and ignorance.



Intersectionality & violence

Content Notice: Discussing Orlando, but less anger and no vivid description of terrible things this time.

My colleague over at Death to Squirrels (hi Iris *waves*) posted something that finally knocked over a domino in my head. In her post, she says (emphasis mine):

I also think that what makes this mass shooting particularly difficult to process is that it implicates multiple intersections of queerness, racism, homophobia, religion, policing, mental illness, terrorism, gun violence, domestic violence and more.

Gah. Duh. Thanks for screwing in my lightbulb, Iris. You’re fab and ilu.

I’ve been dizzied by some of the participants in this conversation. They hone in on their pet issue with a laser-like focus. Something about this strategy always rubbed me the wrong way. It wasn’t homophobia, it was Islam. It wasn’t Islam, it was guns. It wasn’t guns, it was toxic masculinity. It wasn’t toxic masculinity, it was homophobia. It wasn’t regular homophobia, it was also internalized homophobia. And on and on.

And I read Iris’ post and I was like, I figured it out:

Y’all are White Feminists.

White Feminists refer to a specific iteration of feminism that lacks intersections. It subscribes to universal womanhoods, assumes all women occupy the same station in society, and redresses what they see to be pressing injustices within that station. And this is not to say that none of the White Feminists’ concerns are invalid–however, equal access to promotions would be of small consolation to, say, the trans woman held in a men’s prison.

White Feminists have notoriety for their laser-like interpretation of the patriarchy. Feminists of colour, trans feminists, atheist feminists, working-class feminists, kinky feminists, queer feminists and more have all blasted White Feminist literature for patently refusing to acknowledge the interaction between sexism and one’s other minority demographics, be it economic class, race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, gender variance, you name it. The contrasted movement is intersectionality, which when we’re discussing acts of oppression, tries to consider the sum of one’s minority demographics as greater than and inseparable from the whole of its parts.

Most of the participants probably aren’t feminists, so I’m not actually accusing (most) of them of being White Feminists. Rather it’s a metaphor. Allow me to use the Royal You for a moment, and describe generally and not necessarily You, but possibly You, the reader: You’re honing in on one cause of the Orlando shooter’s actions, when there ain’t one cause.

[Read more…]

What do the Cologne rapes and the Pulse shooting have in common?

Y’all didn’t have a single iota of fucks to give about violence against minorities until you could blame a Muslim for it.

Content Notice: Mentions of suicide, a description of the murder scene, plus the stuff that is probably apparent given the title of the article.

I speak, of course, of a very particular tract in this conversation, which means if this doesn’t sound like you, then this post isn’t directed at you. If you want an even hand, a level contribution to the discussion, go here or here. I’m sure there are other very reasonable arguments being made, but I need you to understand one thing:

Orlando was a message, and I am among its recipients.

This is not something I can cover without breaking into tears. This is not something I can cover without being reminded why high bridges and the edges of knives look so attractive. This is not something I can cover without picturing my family, my chosen family, on the floor of that nightclub, their phones ringing in their own blood while I’m frantically calling them. This is not something I can cover without thinking about all the stupid snapchats and videos and pictures they send me, knowing that in different circumstances it could have been footage of the last seconds of their life.

This is not an issue I have the benefit of distance from. I can’t lounge around in a chair and pontificate from the pipe in my hands.

A lot of people are jumping into this conversation. And it’s bad enough that I can’t simply mourn this attack on my community, it’s bad enough that I can’t even be angry at who I want without cishets shouting at me and telling me how I should be outraged, it’s bad enough that my Queer Latinx brothers and sisters witness this crime be literally whitewashed, I have to find that my attempts to seek out solidarity, are met with people who have never shown any inclination for giving a single fuck about anti-queer violence until it was a brown man who pulled the trigger.

This is shady as fuck. I see you, crawling out of the woodwork.

Where the fuck was your outrage, when trans women were dying in the streets at the hands of cis men?

Where the fuck was your outrage, when the pressures placed upon us claimed a body count that was nearly a coin flip?

Where the fuck was your outrage, when Queers were offing themselves because they had been told, over and over, by Christians and Muslims and Atheists alike, that their lives were disgusting and unimportant?

Where the fuck was your outrage, when North Carolina stripped Queer Americans of their rights?

Were you at the vigils?


The Edmonton vigil for Orlando

The Edmonton vigil for Orlando


Source: wiki commons



Were you at the protests?


Also the Edmonton vigil.


Source: static DNA India

The parades?

Source: Edmonton 2016 Pride festival, edmontontourism.

Source: Edmonton 2016 Pride festival, edmontontourism.

The fucking memorials??

Source: Times of Israel



Where the fuck have you been?

I don’t believe for a moment that you give a shit about Queer people except for our utility in being the foundation of your hate. When you’re absent from everything to do with us, when you’re ignorant of the violence we face from every organized religion and then more outside it, nearly every culture on this fucking planet, you can’t suddenly claim to give a shit about Queer deaths. I could paint my walls with the mugshots of every person who has murdered one of mine, and yes, there would be brown folks up there, black folks up there, Asian folks up there, and a whole lot of fucking white folks up there too.

But you are silent, absent, until now. Because the shooter claims membership to the Almighty Boogeyman of your fragile fucking psyche, has a brown name and brown skin, and is nominally a Muslim.

Islam is used to justify homophobia. Christianity is used to justify homophobia. Judaism is used to justify homophobia. Pseudoscience is used to justify homophobia. Racism is used to justify homophobia. Sexism is used to justify homophobia. DO YOU THINK I FUCKING CARE WHY SOMEONE SHOOTS ME?

Don’t you fucking tell me who I should be afraid of, that I ought to spurn the Queer Muslims holding my hand at the vigil, that the Christians offering prayers condemning hate and violence ought to be shunned, that the First Nations howling their grief in Cree as they appeal to someone or something I’ve never been introduced to are not my allies, because they believe in something impossible. They were there. You weren’t. Their tears were as real as mine. They may believe in fairy tales but at the end of the day, they were still fucking there, they’ve always been there, and they will continue to be there.

I know exactly who to watch.

After all, he was a gun-toting, queer-hating, hypermasculine, wife-beating, aspiring cop who shared fantasies about killing people. He’s your fucking poster boy.



50 murdered in gay night club during domestic terrorist shooting

The night of June 11th now marks the worst mass shooting in US history, as 50 were murdered and another 53 injured in a domestic terror incident at a gay night club:

A gunman opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 50 people and injuring dozens more in a rampage that was the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history.

Authorities in Orlando said Sunday that the siege at Pulse, a popular gay bar and dance club, was quickly deemed an act of domestic terrorism. In addition to the 50 people killed, another 53 were injured, officials said.

Police had said earlier Sunday that 20 people were killed before saying that the toll was significantly higher. Until Sunday, the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech — which saw 32 people killed and 30 others injured — was the country’s worst mass shooting.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that the toll from this latest mass slaughter could have been even greater, saying that a SWAT team “rescued at least 30 possible victims and brought them to safety.”

The gunman was killed by police officers in a shootout after the rampage, authorities said. It was not immediately clear if the death toll included the gunman.

While police have not publicly identified the gunman, law enforcement officials and relatives on Sunday identified him as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce, Fla.

“We’re dealing with something we never imagined and is unimaginable,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (D) said during a news briefing Sunday.

Dyer said he had issued a state of emergency in the city and asked Gov. Rick Scott(R) to issue a similar order for the state. Scott said he was traveling to Orlando to meet with officials there.

Police have not identified a possible motive, and details about Mateen’s background were scarce on Sunday morning.

The article goes on to describe a text message exchange with one of the victims and their mother shortly before their murder.

My thoughts go out to the victims and their families. A crime, a chilling message sent straight home to all of us, so soon after my local city celebrated Pride. My rainbows are back on today.

Comments policy for this: We focus on the victims and the families. We can talk politics and the shooter’s motivations on the next post.


Edit: It has also been brought to my attention that last night was the gay Latinx night.