Tag Archives: trans

NEVADA: Most Progressive Birth Certificate Gender Change Policy in the Nation Passed

NCTE praises Nevada’s new trans-friendly ID document law:

Under Nevada’s new regulations, an individual born in Nevada can get a new birth certificate issued with a corrected gender marker if they submit (1) their own affidavit stating their gender and requesting that the gender marker should be corrected on their certificate, and (2) a second affidavit from someone else who knows them, or other verifiable evidence, confirming the facts in their affidavit. The second affidavit can be from anyone who has personal knowledge of the applicant’s gender, meaning anyone who knows the applicant’s gender firsthand through a personal, familial, medical, or professional relationship. These affidavits can confirm transition-related medical or mental health treatment or otherwise confirm an individual’s gender identity and the gender they live as every day.

Nevada’s unique approach to correcting the gender marker on a birth certificate treats the process the same as correcting other items on vital statistics certificates, such as the date of birth or death, the location of birth or death, an occupation, etc. The Department of Public and Behavioral Health intentionally and intelligently designed this regulation to treat standards of proof for all corrections to certificates uniformly and equally. The new policy replaces Nevada’s old standard that required a court order establishing the individual had a ‘sexual transformation’ to update the birth certificate.

Source: VICTORY: Nevada passes the most progressive birth certificate gender change policy in the nation! | National Center for Transgender Equality

The Tragedy in Houston Last Night

I’ve seen some crap. Few things are as much of a travesty as how the #‎HERO‬ vote went in Houston. One of the worst I’ve ever seen.

Some from the campaign were saying “Let’s not engage in Monday-morning quarterbacking”. Yet how can you not when the vote was so lopsided? How can you not when the turnout for the Houston vote was the highest in a city election since 2003? How can you not when the anti-HERO campaign was, and continues to be, particularly vicious toward transgender people?

Dan Patrick, Gary Abbott, the “Campaign for Houston”, “Texas Values” and the right-wing in Houston are pretty damn unbelievable in their “win” against transgender women. They demand grace from Annise Parker, but are very ungracious, snidely and spiteful in their reaction to the result. The transgender people who were targeted explicitly by Patrick and Abbott as “men in women’s restrooms” in the campaign are nowhere to be found in their reactions.

I wonder if, thanks to this vote, it will now be acceptable to assault, attack and harm transgender women in Houston. They were targeted hard by cartoons and vicious rhetoric throughout the state by the Christian right-wing, called “perverts” and “confused men” who would harm “6 year old girls”. This was statewide, and this was scary.

The target wasn’t even L, G or B people. None of them. It was the T. I will not be surprised when a transgender woman trying to use the restroom is violently attacked in Texas, and the Christian right clucks its tongue at the transwoman saying “That confused ‘man’ was wrong to go into the wrong bathroom and look like that, ‘he’ had it coming. No sympathy from me, he deserved it!”

That rhetoric won last night. Those who spoke it are effluent in their gloating. This is a bad way for Mayor Parker to leave office. This next year in Houston will be particularly bad for transgender women. In the name of getting a similar ordinance passed in Houston, any mention of “gender identity” may even be stripped out of the ordinance for expediency’s sake a la ENDA. The optics of this are hard to overcome, and must be fought for years to come. But the lives of transgender people in Houston must be watched out for as the next few years unfold.

One of the worst aspects of the campaign, it has come out, is that African-Americans (constituting over 25% of the population) were not targeted by HERO ads or rallies, nor were the Latino/Mexican-American/Hispanic 37% of the population of Houston. If so, this campaign was hobbled from the very start. These demographics and their solitudes were not reached by the HERO campaign, and even I, while phone-banking, noticed that no African-Americans who I talked to on the phone were going to vote Yes.

So many of the beneficiaries of a Yes would have been people of color and especially LGBT people of color. So why were they not targeted? Why were they not engaged? How could you do so bad by voters over the course of a year that you only get 37% of the vote? This is SHAMEFUL.

I remain proud to have phone-banked for HERO. I am ashamed of this tragedy and of how avoidable it was. I am afraid for trans lives in Houston, Texas and elsewhere. #‎TransLivesMatter ‬‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬.

BREAKING: #AshleyDiamond, #Trans Woman at Center of Historic Lawsuit Against GA Prison System, Released from Augusta Prison

Congratulations to Ms. Diamond on her early release!

Via the SPLC, who are representing Diamond:

Ashley Diamond, the transgender inmate who sued the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) after being denied a safe environment and medically necessary gender dysphoria treatment, was released today after more than three years in prison, where she was housed with male inmates and sexually assaulted eight times.

Diamond, 37, was released from Augusta State Medical Prison just five days after the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed additional documents supporting her motion for preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed in February. The papers, which include sworn statements from multiple transgender inmates, demonstrate that the GDC continues to systematically deny appropriate care to transgender inmates, despite having earlier announced a policy change.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Diamond, via the Southern Poverty Law Center

“I’m overjoyed to be with my family again and out of harm’s way,” Diamond said. “Although the systematic abuse and assaults I faced for more than three years have left me emotionally and physically scarred, I’ll continue to fight for justice and to shine a light on the gross mistreatment of transgender inmates in Georgia and nationwide.”

Diamond began serving an 11-year sentence for a nonviolent offense in November 2012. She was eligible for her first parole hearing this November but was released to family members at 8:45 a.m. (Eastern) today.

Here’s video of Diamond secretly recording a narrative of her experience while in prison back in February:

Her lawsuit, Diamond v. Owens, et al., will continue:

 “While we’re thrilled that Ashley Diamond is out of prison, our lawsuit is far from over,” said Chinyere Ezie, SPLC staff attorney. “Ashley has endured more than three years of systematic abuse based on the Georgia Department of Corrections’ unconstitutional policies toward transgender inmates and woeful lack of care. Her release does not erase her barbaric treatment by GDC officials, which was tantamount to torture. Nor is her plight isolated. We will continue to advocate for an end to prison practices that unfairly punish and inflict pain on transgender inmates.”

I had previously told a Twitter user a few days ago that she was still at Rutledge State Prison in Columbus as far as the news was concerned, but that apparently changed with this SPLC press release.

Hopefully, Ms. Diamond will be successful in her suit for transgender people in prison, and will find means to adjust to society after illegal abuses in prison.

WTVM interviews Destany Sumbry and Patricia Lassiter

Destiny Sumbry. Photo (c) Tesia Reed/WTVM
Destiny Sumbry. Photo (c) Tesia Reed/WTVM

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) –
A transgender woman in the Chattahoochee Valley facing daily struggles wants residents to know they’re humans just like everyone else.

Destany Sumbry has a strong message for everyone, including those who maybe having similar struggles saying it’s about being free.

Although she said she won’t let bullying affect her anymore, she still faces struggles on a daily basis.

She talked about the time she visited a local club that accepted her money to get in the door, but when she had to use the bathroom it was a different story.

“Security said I could not use the women’s’ or the men’s restrooms. I couldn’t use the woman’s because I’m not a woman legally, and I don’t know why I couldn’t use the men’s restroom, if I’m not a woman, then what am I?” she said.

Hit the link for the video. #TransLivesMatter

via Living in Columbus as a transgender woman – WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports.

Report: Transgender Georgia inmate suing for safe housing allegedly raped again | Crime | Macon.com

ashley-diamond
Ashley Diamond

The Telegraph in Macon is reporting that Ashley Diamond, the 36-year-old transgender woman who sued the state of Georgia for refusal to provide safe housing and hormonal treatment, was raped in prison as recently as June 10, while the trial is underway:

Attorneys representing a transgender Georgia prison inmate are trying to have her moved or to hear the state prison system’s plan for keeping her safe.

[…]

At an April hearing, U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell asked to be made aware of any changes in Diamond’s status, said Chinyere Ezie, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center who is representing Diamond.

As a result, Diamond’s lawyers and attorneys representing prison officials filed a joint status report with the court this month.

The report includes allegations that Diamond was raped June 10 while being temporarily housed at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville on a trip to Augusta for a medical appointment.

According to the report:

Diamond alleges that her cellmate sexually assaulted her. Investigators are trying to determine whether the incident was captured on video, and an independent investigation into her Prison Rape Elimination Act complaint is underway.

Later, when being driven together to Rutledge State Prison in Columbus, Diamond’s alleged attacker threatened her about saying anything.

Diamond reported the alleged assault to officials in Columbus, and the prisoner was housed in “segregation” until he was relocated to another facility weeks later.

Diamond alleges that the prison’s warden told inmates about the incident, including information identifying her alleged attacker. The warden denies the allegations.

The prison conditions remain unsafe for Ashley Diamond. Her current release date is approximated around 2023.
The trial continues while Diamond is currently being housed at a prison in Columbus. Click the link to read more.

APNewsBreak: Pentagon readying plan to lift transgender ban

An announcement is expected this week, and the services would have six months to assess the impact of the change and work out the details, the officials said Monday. Military chiefs wanted time to methodically work through the legal, medical and administrative issues and develop training to ease any transition, and senior leaders believed six months would be sufficient.

The officials said Defense Secretary Ash Carter has asked his personnel undersecretary, Brad Carson, to set up a working group of senior military and civilian leaders to take an objective look at the issue. One senior official said that while the goal is to lift the ban, Carter wants the working group to look at the practical effects, including the costs, and determine whether it would affect readiness or create any insurmountable problems that could derail the plan. The group would also develop uniform guidelines.

During the six months, transgender individuals would still not be able to join the military, but any decisions to force out those already serving would be referred to the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary for personnel, the officials said. One senior official said the goal was to avoid forcing any transgender service members to leave during that time.

via APNewsBreak: Pentagon readying plan to lift transgender ban.

VICTORY: Georgia changes policy on trans prisoners’ hormone treatment

ashley-diamondA Georgia trans woman in state prison will finally be able to continue hormone treatments, thanks to pressure from the U.S. Justice Department who sided with her lawsuit against prison authorities.

From Gay Star News:

According to the lawsuit, officials refused Diamond to continue her hormone treatment; she was also placed in unsafe facilities with violent men, according to health24.

Diamond, who was convicted of burglary and other charges in 2012, had been receiving hormone treatment for 17 years before she went to prison, according to reports.

Georgia’s Department of Corrections initially refused her request for hormone treatment despite Diamond attempting suicide and self-castration; a prison psychologist also urged the department to continue her treatment.

The Department of Justice called denying prisoners their hormone treatment a ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ as it inflicts physical pain and leads to muscle spasms and a loss of breast mass.

Her lawsuit was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery against Valdosta State Prison. Diamond, who is 36 and had taken hormone therapy for 17 years, was sent to prison in 2012 on a non-violent theft charge, after which she was denied treatment by prison staff. Among the mistreatments documented by the SPLC in their lawsuit (bolding is mine):

Diamond endured a painful physical transformation after her hormone therapy was terminated by corrections staff. Her facial hair started growing and her body reverted to a masculine state. She even attempted suicide and self-castration.

The Georgia Department of Corrections blatantly disregarded her health and mental state, insisting that she simply adapt. When she entered Valdosta State Prison, officials told her that they didn’t have the means to protect transgender prisoners. Staff instructed her to “guard your booty” and be prepared to fight, according to the lawsuit. Officials placed Diamond in solitary confinement for “pretending to be a woman.” She also was placed in solitary for 10 days after meeting with SPLC attorneys.

Some prison officials ridiculed Diamond. The lawsuit describes how a Valdosta State Prison official referred to Diamond as a “he-she-thing” in front of inmates and personnel. Staffers were encouraged to ridicule Diamond for her gender expression and to instruct her to act and appear male. When Diamond filed a complaint about this treatment, it was rejected by prison officials on the grounds that Diamond was “clearly a man, not a woman.”

The SPLC’s case “describes how denying this medically necessary care resulted in grave physical and mental harm to Diamond, including mental anguish and bodily harm, in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.”

via Georgia changes policy on trans prisoners’ hormone treatment | Gay Star News.