Category: news

In the wake of MichFest, yet another women’s festival comes under fire despite including post-op trans women

Victorian women’s festival criticised for not allowing pre-operative transgender women to attend

A three-day women’s festival to be held in March next year at Mount Martha, south-east of Melbourne, has been criticised for not allowing transgender women to attend unless they have undergone gender re-assignment surgery.

Seven Sisters Festival is described by organisers as “the only one of it’s [sic] kind on the planet that provides you and a select few women with an extravagant wonderland to EXPLORE, GROW AND EVOLVE”.

Kylee, who did not want her to use her full name as her partner Belle is in the early stages of transitioning, wrote to festival organisers last month to ask whether Belle would be welcome.

“We’ve been trying to become more involved in women’s circles so that she can feel more comfortable, but at the moment she’s retreated a bit from life, so I thought a really beautiful camping festival with all women would be a really safe place for her to feel accepted,” she said.

via Victorian women’s festival criticised for not allowing pre-operative transgender women to attend – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

More cases of prison transition and violations of women’s rights

Man murders women in “burglary gone bad,” is sentenced to life in prison in 1987, becomes trans in 2008, receives hormones, but remains pre-op in male prison, now seeks transfer to women’s prison and change of Canadian policies to accommodate pre-op transgender persons, which is already currently happening.

The claims state experiencing violence, but name no perpetrators and also interestingly state:

Worse than the harassment, fear, and threats of physical violence, the affidavit continues, is the pain Bilyk feels when someone fails to acknowledge her as a woman.

“Now, staff usually use female pronouns, but sometimes I am still referred to as a man,” it reads. “It makes me want to cry and scream.”

Despite numerous voiced concerns from feminists and gender identity specialists alike, multiple prisons in Canada are changing their policies to accommodate pre-op trans women.

In January, Ontario’s provincial prison system became the first in Canada to make it official policy to place pre-op transgender inmates in facilities based on their gender identities.

On Nov. 15, B.C. became the second.

Now, representatives for the governments of Alberta and the Yukon Territories say their correctional systems are revising policies for transgender inmates to follow Ontario’s lead.

Trans woman Bianca Sawer is the first transgender person to be transferred from a male facility to a female facility. In a remarkable display of cognitive dissonance and inability to recognize herself imposing the same harm she felt in a male prison she notes:

“It was a calming euphoria,” she said [regarding her relief upon arriving at Alouette Correctional Centre, a provincial prison for women].

Sawyer contrasted that feeling to years spent in prisons where she was constantly surrounded by male prisoners.

Women and girls deserve this same “calming euphoria.” The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners are very clear in separation based on sex:

Separation of categories

8. The different categories of prisoners shall be kept in separate institutions or parts of institutions taking account of their sex, age, criminal record, the legal reason for their detention and the necessities of their treatment. Thus,

( a ) Men and women shall so far as possible be detained in separate institutions; in an institution which receives both men and women the whole of the premises allocated to women shall be entirely separate

In the interest of safety, health and concerns separate facilities would be better suited for all involved. Male persons, including trans women, should not be housed in female facilities.

via http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/12/13/living-nightmare-for-transgender-inmate-at-all-male-prison.html

Read the UN Minimum Standards at https://www.unodc.org/pdf/criminal_justice/UN_Standard_Minimum_Rules_for_the_Treatment_of_Prisoners.pdf

Second transgender inmate found dead in male prison | Society | The Guardian

A transgender woman has become the second trans prisoner in the space of a month to apparently take their own life while serving time in a male jail in England.

Joanne Latham, 38, from Nottingham, died in Woodhill prison in Milton Keynes on Friday. It is understood she had changed her name this summer, having previously been known as Edward Adam Brown or Edward Latham.

She was serving a number of life sentences for attempted murder and was housed on the close supervision centre (CSC), reserved for the most dangerous and vulnerable prisoners.

Her death comes just weeks after the death of 21-year-old Vicky Thompson, who was being held at Armley, a category B men’s prison in Leeds.

Latham had not requested a transfer to a women’s prison, the Guardian understands. In any case, she would not have been eligible for a transfer, as there are no CSC units for women in the English justice system.

A Prison Service spokesperson said on Tuesday: “HMP Woodhill prisoner Joanne Latham (dob 31/01/1977) was found unresponsive on the morning of Friday 27 November. Staff and paramedics attempted resuscitation but she was pronounced dead at 6.20am. As with all deaths in custody there will be an investigation by the independent prisons and probation ombudsman.”

In 2001, Latham was given a life sentence at Nottingham crown court after being convicted under the name Edward Latham of attempting to murder her flatmate by lacing a glass of Coca-Cola with mercury.

Six years later, in 2007, she was given another life sentence after trying to kill another inmate at HMP Frankland in County Durham.

Then in July 2011, when being held at Rampton secure psychiatric hospital in north Nottinghamshire and still living as a man, she tried to kill another patient by stabbing him in the neck. She was found guilty by jury of attempted murder and given another life sentence.

The CSC system holds about 60 of the most dangerous prisoners . Many of these are men who have been imprisoned for very serious offences which have done great harm, have usually committed subsequent very serious further offences in prison and whose dangerous and disruptive behaviour is too difficult to manage in an ordinary prison location.

via Second transgender inmate found dead in male prison | Society | The Guardian.

Feds to Require Shelters to Accommodate Transgender Individuals – Washington Free Beacon

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking to require shelters to accommodate transgender individuals to use the shared sleeping and bathing areas of their choice.

The agency is also expanding its definition of “gender identity” for purposes of the regulation.

The current definition states, “Gender identity means actual or perceived gender-related characteristics.”

The new definition adds to what “perceived gender identity” means.

“Gender identity means the gender with which a person identifies, regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth,” the new definition reads. “Perceived gender identity means the gender with which a person is perceived to identify based on that person’s appearance, behavior, expression, other gender-related characteristics, or sex assigned to the individual at birth.”

The agency added, “Perceived gender identity may differ from the identity with which a person identifies.”

The proposed regulation also notes that the rule could apply to anyone, regardless of whether or not they use the term “transgender” to describe themselves.

The agency would allow exemptions on a case-by-case basis to the rule out of safety concerns. Complaints from other individuals living in the shelter would not be considered.

via Feds to Require Shelters to Accommodate Transgender Individuals – Washington Free Beacon.

Armed trans woman arrested after 10-hour D.C. standoff

The D.C. police department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit and its transgender supervisor, Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, played a role in persuading a 31-year-old transgender woman to peacefully surrender after a 10-hour standoff on the roof of a downtown office building in which she fired a handgun and threatened to kill herself and harm others.
According to a police news release and a separate police report, officers charged Sophia Dalke of Springfield, Va., with assault on a police officer while armed. The arrest came about 10:30 a.m. after Dalke agreed to peacefully leave a location in which she positioned herself on the roof deck of an upscale office building at 1999 K St., N.W.
“The MPD GLLU reported Suspect 1 told MPD that she wanted to commit suicide,” the highly redacted public version of the police report says. “Suspect 1 told MPD that she had just shot out the glass door leading to the roof top,” the report says.
The report adds: “Responding MPD units arrived on the scene to the front of the building. On the scene, sounds of several gunshots could be heard. Gunshots were fired in the area where police personnel were arriving.”
The report says Sgt. Hawkins was among three officers that provided assistance to the department’s Emergency Response Team that was dispatched to the scene. The press release says the officers arrived shortly after 12:19 a.m. after being alerted that “an adult female in crisis [was] threatening harm to herself and others.”
The police press release, which makes no mention that Dalke is transgender, says “a barricade incident was declared” after Dalke “discharged a firearm.”

via Armed trans woman arrested after 10-hour D.C. standoff.

Jail ‘too tough’ for transsexual offender – World News | IOL News

A transsexual who downloaded sickening images of child pornography escaped jail because a judge said prison would be too tough a place for her.

Laura Voyce, 20, who was born a man and used to go by the name Luke, faced being locked up for nine months in a male prison after being convicted of 14 counts of downloading indecent images of children.

Four of the images discovered on Voyce’s laptop were of level four, the second most serious, and featured semi-naked youngsters being abused.

But despite this Judge Lesley Newton allowed Voyce, who is in the middle of a sex

change which means she is biologically a man but legally a woman, to walk free with a nine-month jail term suspended for a year. She must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

The judge said prison would be an “appalling experience” for the sex offender.

via Jail ‘too tough’ for transsexual offender – World News | IOL News.

See also: http://metro.co.uk/2010/07/14/sex-change-paedophile-spared-jail-447270/

Women Have Very Little Political Power Anywhere In The World

Wendy Davis
Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, stands on a near empty senate floor as she filibusters in an effort to kill an abortion bill, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

When Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, announced he had appointed women to half of his government’s cabinet positions, many people asked him why.

“Because it’s 2015,” he replied.

But 2015 isn’t an especially progressive time in the political world for gender equality. There are zero countries where women have equal representation with men. Zero.

A new report on global gender equality by the World Economic Forum, the Geneva-based nonprofit most famous for its uber-elite economic conference in Davos, Switzerland, shows that while women are inching toward global parity in education, health, and to a lesser extent economic outcomes, they are still woefully underrepresented in national governments.

Of 145 countries in the index, only four (Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Nicaragua) are more than halfway toward equality at the parliamentary, ministerial, and head-of-state levels of government. The majority of countries are below a quarter of the way to equality.

This is no accident.

“Political power continues to be one of the great bastions of masculinity, almost anywhere you go in the world,” said Shauna Shames, an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University-Camden, who studies the subject.

Without political power, women can fight and claw their way toward other types of equality, but their fates are still ultimately in the hands of men.

Many of the top 20 countries on the list in terms of political empowerment — including Rwanda, Bangladesh, and Costa Rica — only got there through some sort of quota system that forces political parties to recruit and groom women for political office.

The United States comes in 72nd on the list, about halfway down.

In the U.S., things aren’t getting better. In fact, they are getting worse.

Via The Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/women-political-power_564cb9e4e4b00b7997f88b70

Transgender woman Vicky Thompson found dead at Armley jail – BBC News

A transgender woman who told her friends she would kill herself if she was sent to a male prison has been found dead in jail.
Vicky Thompson, 21, was being held at Armley, Leeds, where she was pronounced dead on Friday.
Friends of Thompson, who was born male but had identified as female since her mid-teens, said she had asked to be sent to a female prison.
An investigation into her death has been launched, the Prison Service said.
Thompson, from Keighley, West Yorkshire, was handed a 12-month jail term in August which was suspended for 24 months.
The BBC understands she later breached the terms of the sentence, and was remanded in custody at Bradford Crown Court.

via Transgender woman Vicky Thompson found dead at Armley jail – BBC News.


See also: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3326581/Transgender-woman-sent-male-prison-dead-cell.html 

 

UK Women and Equalities Committee – Transgender Equality Inquiry

On June 3, 2015, the UK announced a new Women and Equalities Committee to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Government Equalities Office.

Their first inquiry? Transgender equality.

The Transgender Equality Inquiry accepts written and oral evidence regarding discrimination against transgender people.

As reported by The Telegraph:

A full list of what the committee will look at regarding trans issues includes:

• The relationship between the Government Equalities Office and other government departments in dealing with transgender equality issues and how the UK’s performance compares internationally

• The operation of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and whether it requires amending

• The aspect of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 which is referred to as the “spousal veto”

• The effectiveness of the Equality Act 2010 in relation to trans people

• Employment and workplace issues (including in the Armed Forces) affecting trans people

• Transphobia (including the portrayal of trans people in the media) and hate crime against trans people

• Issues affecting trans people in the criminal justice system

• Issues concerning the diagnosis of gender dysphoria, including the operation of NHS Gender Identity Clinics

• Access to gender reassignment treatment under the NHS

• Trans people and wider NHS services

• NHS services for trans youth

• Issues concerning trans youth in the education system

• Issues concerning trans youth and social care services (including looked-after children).

Notably absent from the Women and Equalities Committee’s Transgender Equality Inquiry is women and any mention of how transgender anti-discrimination law and policy affects females.

Luckily, many women and women’s groups have submitted data to the inquiry addressing women’s concerns. Submissions to the inquiry and more information on women’s concerns, trans youth, prison transition and general discrimination can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/transgender-equality/

See also: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-politics/11764832/Transgender-equality-Government-Womens-Committee-first-inquiry.html