Thursday, November 20, 2008


I have no idea what I want to write.
There are 29 people, mostly women of color, dead this year (that we know of). There are 412 people dead since we started TDoR ten years ago (412--thats only those we know of).
What do you say to that?
Any day now I could find out that one of my friends is dead. Any day now I could find out that one of my friends has been assaulted. I could be assaulted or killed too, but at least my white privilege protects me somewhat.
If anyone still thinks we transition because we think its sexy or to follow a fad...I think you need to put down the ideology and start thinking for yourself.
You can do your own research; we can't cater to you today.

Theres a part of me that wants to go and see if the dead are dancing on the lake again.
You see, when I was a child, in the early morning the bus went past the lake and in November you could see the mist rising off the water.
November is the month the dead come out and dance.
Since its getting towards the end of the month, they will be dancing all night and well into the morning.

"Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy." ~Author Unknown

I hope they are happy. I hope there were enough merry memories in this life. I hope they find even more joy in their next lives.

(lyrics for Tears in Heaven; unable to find them for Dream Journey)


Monday, November 17, 2008

Another one

So soon after Duanna another trans* woman of color has been killed.
Teish Cannon (Also known as Lateisha Green) was murdered on Friday.

And guess what, you guessed it, none of the articles have respected her gender. Her family did, but the newspapers would rather make fun of her.
"Cannon's family accepted his sexual orientation. Pictures of Cannon in women's clothing were on display in the family's living room, and the family selected one for The Post-Standard to publish. Often when family members spoke of Cannon, they used 'she' to refer to him."
How fucking kind of them to put that in there.

Oh hey, guess who else is disrespecting her identity and calling her a gay dude?
But hey, at least the cis*gay blogs are talking about her, unlike Duanna!!!
Fuck them all with a hatchet.


First of all, a big thank you to all of those out there who contributed to the funeral fund for Ms. Johnson's family. Hopefully we will not have to do anything like that again, but should that happen it is good to know that people DO care. TTPC reported donations from as far away as Japan and that the bulk of the sum came from small-dollar contributions. It just goes to show that all of us can make a difference if we work together. Sounds hokey, but it's true.

However, now we must remember why Duanna Johnson was so important. She stood up and said she wasn't going to take abuse and brutality by the MPD anymore. She shone a light into the darkness that is the MPD's practice of profiling trans women of color as prostitutes as well as their treatment of trans women in their custody. In the wake of that, the local progressive organizations have been trying to have a responsive dialogue with the Memphis City Council, the MPD, and the Shelby County Sheriffs Department, largely to no avail.

This is what we demand:

* An LGB and T liaison within the MPD and Sheriff's department.

* An end to police profiling and harassment of trans women of color.

* A TBI (TN Bureau of Investigation) investigation of the MPD and Duanna's murder. The FBI was already investigating the MPD when Duanna was killed; she had signed the paperwork to go ahead with the lawsuit against MPD shortly before being killed. While I am not suggesting that the MPD or anyone associated with the department killed her, it is a gross conflict of interest for the MPD to be investigating her death. The DA, Bill Gibbons, has not yet requested an investigation and until he does, the TBI does not have jurisdiction.

* An actual investigation of Ebony Whitaker's murder.

What you can do:

* Call DA Gibbons at (901) 545-5900 to ask why his office is not pursuing a TBI investigation of the MPD given the fact that Duanna was suing them and the glaring conflict of interest that an investigation by them into her death would be. Also remind him of the murders of Tiffany Berry and Ebony Whitaker and let him know that though he may want to forget, we have not forgotten.

* Call Police Director Larry Godwin at (901) 545-5700 to ask why, given the problems Memphis has had recently with transphobic hate crimes, there is no LGBT liaison within the MPD. Mention that many, if not most, major cities have one. And ask whether or not Bridges McRae and James Swain will face any criminal charges, or will Director Godwin will continue his witch hunt for who leaked the video. Ask why it took over 4 months and some bad publicity (after trying to recruit at Mid-South Pride, of all places) for them to be fired. Ask what kind of training in dealing with TS/TG people in custody are officers given? And while you're at it, remind him of Tiffany Berry and Ebony Whitaker, too.

* Call Sheriff Mark Luttrell at (901) 545-5500 and ask why there is no LGBT liaison. Ask what kind of training in dealing with TG/TS people in custody is done.

* Finally, email and write mainstream publications that purport to serve the LGBT community and strongly encourage them to give this story more exposure. While The Advocate did post a short news piece on its website, a publication with this much clout that claims to represent LGB and T people can do better. Same for Southern Voice and others.

Email and IM this to all your friends! Link back here if you want, I don't care how the information is disseminated as long as it is done respectfully. Remember, Duanna was a sister, daughter, cousin, and friend to many. She was loved and she will be missed, even by those who did not know her personally but who knew what she did. She stood up and said 'no more' and was cut down while literally trying to get away from all of this madness..

ETA2: And not only were Duanna and Lateisha murdered this month, but so was Aimee Wilcoxson and Dilek Ince was killed in Turkey on the 11th.
According to the TDoR website, 27 names will be added to the list as well as two unknown Iraqi women who were killed with Ali (that post is super-problematic, but its the one I could find with a lot of info).


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Heres the story I just finished for Nanowrimo, For Duanna.