Archive for the 'transphobic violence' Category

“Not even a beast would do such things” – one woman’s experience of transphobic violence in Kyrgyzstan

August 3, 2010

Screen grab from "Violence against transgender people in Kyrgyzstan", 2008It’s nearly a month since I last wrote about the injustices and danger faced by trans women in Kyrgyzstan and in the meantime, Anna Kirey, Senior Advisor and Board Member at Labrys Kyrgyzstan and I have exchanged a few emails. Although I don’t want to go into too much detail in this public forum, I will say that it’s been a very instructive exchange for me, and I hope we are able to continue it and that I can write further about it soon.

In the meantime, in her latest email, Anna sent a link to a 4-minute long YouTube video (made by Labrys in collaboration with the Global Fund For Women) which I’m posting here. It records one woman’s experience of transphobic violence in Kyrgyzstan.

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Trigger warning: The video and its subtitles contain graphic descriptions – including of rape and violence – of the experiences of a trans woman, and her subsequent mistreatment by the authorities when she and a representative of Labrys tried to report the attack.

If you feel this might be triggering for you, please do not play the video.

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(Direct link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtVTgFuB79Y)

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Destiny Lauren murder trial: update, 30 July 2010

July 30, 2010

Camden New Journal carries an update on the trial of the cis man Leon Fyle, accused of the murder of Destiny Lauren. I’ll just record the relevant parts of the report for now; they speak for themselves and I don’t think I can add anything meaningful at this time.

TECHNICIANS pieced together phone records of a man accused of murder from memory cards that had been broken into pieces, a court has heard.

[…]

Prosecutors told a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court this week that Mr Fyle’s movements had been partly mapped by his use of a mobile phone.

Text messages he sent to women he met through sex websites in the days before Ms Lauren’s death were read to the court on Tuesday morning and exchanges with his former girlfriend were also shared with the jury.

Prosecutor Duncan Penny said Mr Fyle was Ms Lauren’s last customer. It is alleged he killed her before fleeing with a collection of her possessions which later turned up at his home in Lewisham, south London.

After the killing, the prosecution claims Mr Fyle went to a brothel in King’s Cross and spent £250 on sex with two women.

Mr Penny read a series of sexually explicit text messages that Mr Fyle had sent. In one, he said: “Well, I’m a happy go lucky bloke, calm and laid back, looking to have some fun, willing to try anything once.”

After the woman he texted replied, he added: “Yes. I’m feeling horny too. I’m turned on by almost anything at all.”

The phone records also revealed messages between Mr Fyle and his then girlfriend Gemma Hadleigh, the court was told.

Mr Penny said the messages showed Ms Hadleigh had told Mr Fyle that he was an unreliable partner and had berated him for failing to respond to her.

He told the court that she had “alerted” him that police appeared to be watching his home.

One message read: “As I went out there were five men in a black Astra. They knew I clocked them. We all stood outside and made it clear we knew they were there.”

Messages were retrieved by police technicians from SIM cards – the memory cards used in phones – that had been used by Mr Fyle and Ms Lauren.

Both cards “were found in two pieces having been apparently snapped and put in the bin in the kitchen”, Mr Penny said.

Mr Fyle denies murder. The case continues.

RIP Destiny Lauren.

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Destiny Lauren murder trial: update, 25 July 2010

July 25, 2010

The trial of the cis man Leon Fyle, accused of the murder of Destiny Lauren, began this week at Snaresbrook Crown Court. Mr Fyle is alleged to have murdered Ms Lauren in her own home in north London, in the early hours of 5th November 2010, exactly two weeks before the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Prosecutor Duncan Penny said: “The Crown’s case is that it was this defendant, Leon Fyle, who telephoned Destiny Lauren on the evening of November 4 2009; that it was he who travelled across London to visit her; that it was he who went to her premises for the purposes of a sexual encounter; [and] that it was he who killed her there by compressing her neck, most probably strangulation.” [Via Camden New Journal]

The prosecution said that, on leaving Ms Lauren’s flat after murdering her, Mr Fyle – apparently carrying Ms Lauren’s mobile phone (which was later found in his kitchen) as well as a watch and a ring which didn’t belong to him – took a bus to King’s Cross where he had sex with two other sex workers.

In his opening argument to the jury, Mr Penny said Mr Fyle’s phone records and CCTV proved he was Ms Lauren’s last customer. Images from a 214 bus, he added, showed the defendant’s movements.

[..]

In the filmed interview, recorded at the time of her death, [Lyndon Samuels, Ms Lauren’s older brother] said: “I saw Destiny lying on the bed. She was naked. She had something on her arm. I phoned my brother and I phoned the ambulance.”

“I wish I ran outside to see who done it but the man on the [phone] was saying lie her on the floor, see if she’s still breathing.”

Mr Samuels had been waiting in the street outside while Ms Lauren worked, Mr Penny said, and described the man he saw entering her flat as having a “bad looking face”. [Via Camden New Journal]

Lyndon Samuels told jurors yesterday how he found Miss Lauren trussed up and only wearing a cardigan.

“You said that she had something on her wrist or she was holding something on her wrist or her arm,” said Fyle’s barrister Sally O’Neill QC.

“It was like a stocking or something,” said Lyndon […]

Miss O’Neill read out statements from police constables Wayne Clarke and Shane McMahon who attended the scene in the early hours of November 5 last year.

The barrister said Lyndon told Pc Clarke: “She wanted some space, she told me to leave her alone for half-an-hour, so I went to the off-licence at the bottom of the street and bought some lager.”

“I drank some in the gardens before coming back and finding her.”

But Lyndon denied he told Pc Clarke that Miss Lauren had “wanted space” and said he left her Leighton Crescent flat to allow her to entertain her client.

“She didn’t want space, the man was coming up there to see her,” Lyndon told the court. [Via Belfast Telegraph]

The trial continues.

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Mongolia: serious concern for trans women’s situation

June 28, 2010

Coming the day after many trans people around the world have celebrated LGBT Pride, it’s sobering to remember that even the small gains in civil rights and social justice for which many have fought are still brutally denied to others of our community. Via email from the Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide monitoring and research project comes this disturbing news from Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia about the situation for our sisters there:

Transgender Europe’s “Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide” research project receives a lot of information on the situation of trans people worldwide. At the moment we are particularly concerned about the situation in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

LGBT people in general have to live under extreme conditions and at the moment especially the transwomen of Ulaanbaatar are subject to physical violence, gang rapes, abductions, and death threats. They are being told that they will be killed if they continue to be who they are. The perpetrators belong to a well-organized ultranationalist group, which is protected by the police. We received all this information from the Mongolian LGBT Centre, the only group that cares for LGBT people and especially for the transwomen in Mongolia. They managed to get two transwomen out of the country after they received death threats. In February they produced a really shocking documentary.

Here is the documentary, called The Lies of Liberty, broken into three parts on YouTube, with English subtitles:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zBjKxycXWQ

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3bhuMQutgU

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56CK_U3vjKs

The transwoman appearing in the documentary has received a death threat after the documentary was shown. The Mongolian LGBT Centre managed to get her out of the country.

The Mongolian LGBT Centre has no funding and its activists are working voluntarily and under extreme conditions as they are threatened by the ultranationalist group, too. They already tried to abduct an activist.

I think it is absolutely important and urgent that we support them, exchange with them and include them in our networking and movement.

At present the Mongolian LGBT Centre is leading the development of non-discrimination legislation. This will be a long-term process, but it is a much-needed step forward in terms of the protection of human rights in Mongolia. Last weekend they started filming an awareness campaign for LGBT rights, using high-profile people from a range of different fields, which will be broadcasted over a series of months with accompanying informational and promotional material.

If you have any means to support them (financially, knowledge-wise, contacts etc), please do so and contact them at:

www.lgbtcentre.mninfo@lgbtcentre.mn

Thank you very much for your support!

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Curtsey to Carla at Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide for the heads-up

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Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia

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18 June: Andrea Waddell would have celebrated her 30th birthday today

June 18, 2010

Andrea Waddell (Image via Reading Post)

Following Neil McMillan’s conviction and life sentence for murder, Andrea’s brother Nick said outside Lewes Crown Court two weeks ago:

“We hope everyone who has read about Andrea over the past seven months will be inspired by her, as we all are, to live their lives true to themselves, not to judge other people for their differences and to strive to make the world a better and more just place.”[Via]

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Seattle: cis man pleads not guilty to hate crime following violent street harassment

June 18, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a cis man’s violent street harassment of a woman who was waiting at a Seattle bus stop, minding her own business. Now, via KOMO News I see the case has reached the courts (minor edits for clarity):

A man charged with a hate crime for the bus stop beating of a transgender woman pleaded not guilty to the charge on Thursday.

Daniel Patrick Woodward is charged with malicious harassment in connection with the incident at the bus stop at NW Market St. and 15th Ave. NW on May 30.

According to charging documents, Woodward approached the victim, who was dressed as a woman and identifies as one, punched and kicked [her], called [her] a derogatory term for homosexual and said, “You ought to die and go to hell!”

A witness also heard disparaging comments related to the victim’s gender or sexual orientation and told police it was clear Woodward was attacking the victim because she was transgender, charging documents say.

Woodward appeared intoxicated at the time of arrest, according to police. He currently is being held on $250,000 bail at the King County Jail.

At the time of his arrest, Woodward had a no-bail felony warrant for escape. He has had numerous prior convictions, including for malicious harassment, assault, and reckless endangerment.

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Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia

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Turkey: Life sentences demanded for alleged murderer of three women

June 7, 2010

Turkish flagA couple of months ago I wrote about the consecutive murders of three women in İzmir, one of whom, Azra, was one of the first members of Siyah Pembe, which the local İzmir government has been trying to shut down. A cis man, originally identified only by his initials (H.A.) was arrested on suspicion of carrying out the shootings, and the murder trial looks to be coming to a head.

Life sentences demanded for alleged murderer

A prosecutor has demanded three life sentences and 45 years in prison for a suspected murderer who killed two women and a transvestite in İzmir in April.

Hamdi Ayrı confessed to killing three people in İzmir and said he murdered them for money, also admitting that he doesn’t trust women. Police caught Ayrı in a hostel in Muğla’s Bodrum district, where he fled after committing the murders.

An indictment prepared by a prosecutor stated that when he was arrested a fake identity card, TL 645 in cash, a gun, newspaper clips about the murders and a photograph of the transvestite he killed were found. It was also stated in the indictment that the killer used the same 7.65 mm handgun in all three murders according to a ballistics examination by police.

The prosecutors seek three life sentences for the murders along with 45 years in prison for stealing and possession of an unregistered gun. The suspect will stand trial at the 7th High Criminal Court in İzmir.

Via Today’s Zaman

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Andrea Waddell: murder trial verdict (4 June 2010)

June 4, 2010

Andrea Waddell (Image from The Argus, courtesy of Lee's Images)Breaking now; more to follow later: Neil McMillan has been found guilty of murdering Andrea Waddell and jailed for at least 22 years.

Via BBC News, Press Association and others:

A man has been found guilty of murdering a woman he visited for sex and setting fire to her Brighton flat.

Neil McMillan, 42, applied “unremitting pressure” to Andrea Waddell’s neck at her flat in Upper Lewes Road on 15 October last year.

[…]

Addressing McMillan, of Bennett Road, Brighton, after the verdict, Judge Michael Lawson QC said : “What you did that night brought to an end a life which in many views was one of relentless difficulty faced with extreme courage.”

“The person you killed was a person who always sought to overcome difficulties.”

“On the other hand, faced with a difficulty in that flat, whatever that was, you chose to take it out on her.

“You strangled her, with relentless pressure for over 20 seconds. There was the distinction between you and her.”

And he added: “Once you lost control, for whatever reason and which cannot be regarded as justified, you formed the intention to destroy her, to kill her.”

“It wasn’t an accident and you continued to hold her round her neck, crushing the neck structures until she was dead.”

“Having done that you then dragged her back into the bedroom and set fire to her and set fire to the bed on which together you had laid.”

“The reason was that you were frightened that there would be some trace of your presence in that flat to prove that in fact you were the last person to have seen her.”

[…]

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Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia and The F-Word

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Seattle: cis man charged with hate crime following violent street harassment

June 4, 2010

Via Seattle PI and King5:

A man was charged Thursday with malicious harassment — the state’s hate crime statute — after police said he yelled a derogatory slur at a transgender woman and assaulted her.

[…]

Court documents allege the suspect, 51-year-old Daniel Patrick Woodward, told the victim she “ought to die and go to hell” after yelling the slur. [Via Seattle PI]

“The victim was waiting minding her own business when the suspect approached her and without provocation began assaulting her,” said Renee Witt, Seattle Police spokesperson. “Apparently he punched her in the face a number of times, threw her to the ground and kicked her.” [Via King5]

The Ballard victim told police she was fearful for her life and wanted to have medical attention for face and neck pain. She was taken to Ballard Swedish Hospital.

[…]

A witness who reported seeing Woodward yelling at the victim after the assault followed the suspect as he walked into a nearby store. He later pointed out the suspect to officers.

Police say Woodward was found near Northwest 54th Street and 14th Avenue Northwest and arrested for investigation of assault.

“The suspect appeared intoxicated and had a strong odor of intoxicants,” Officer Trung Nguyen wrote in an incident report. “He would not respond to my questions of whether he understood his rights.”

The victim was ashamed that someone would assault her based on gender, according to police. Nguyen photographed the victim’s injuries as evidence, and a witness said she did not fight back. [Via Seattle PI]

There’s also coverage in The Seattle Times but the misgendering by the writer, staff reporter Susan Kelleher, is pretty close to hate speech of itself, in my opinion. I realise that the police report also misgenders the victim, but I’m not convinced that is reason enough to use the kind of language that Ms Kelleher does – especially when “a police spokeswoman clarified that the victim identifies herself as a woman” [Via].

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Curtsey to Stefani for the heads-up

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Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia

Andrea Waddell: murder trial update – jury retires (4 June 2010)

June 4, 2010

Via The Argus:

Andrea Waddell (image via The Argus)The jury in a sex worker murder case is expected to retire today to consider its verdict.

Neil McMillan, 42, is accused of strangling 29-year-old […] Andrea Waddell at her home in Upper Lewes Road, Brighton, before setting fire to her flat on October 15 last year.

Ms Waddell […] used the Adult Work website, which McMillan is alleged to have visited regularly.

TV satellite installer McMillan, of Bennett Road, Brighton, denies murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

ETA: There’s a little more context in Lynn News’ report:

[…] McMillan, 42, is alleged to have applied “unremitting pressure” to 29-year-old Ms Waddell’s neck for about 20 seconds while he was in a “worked up and angry mood” on October 15 last year.

Jurors were asked to consider whether he killed her after discovering she was transgender or because she had been unable, through her physical problems, to perform sexually for him.

Lewes Crown Court heard that he went to his own nearby home afterwards to shower and wash his clothes in an attempt to cover his tracks.

Prosecutor Simon Russell Flint QC said that earlier, when he arrived at Ms Waddell’s flat at about 10.30pm, he had drunk about seven pints of beer during the previous four hours.

He spouted expletives during the taxi ride to her home, telling the driver that all people in Cork, Ireland, were a “bunch of c****”.

Mr Russell Flint said: “It was in that mood, with those parting words, that he went up the stairs to Andrea Waddell’s flat and within an hour she was dead.” […]

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