Tag Archives: HIPS

April 11: Action to support Monica Jones and end Prostitution Free Zones

Join HIPS, DC Trans Coalition, GLAA, and Best Practices Policy Project and groups around the U.S. and the world standing in solidarity with Monica Jones on her trial date, April 11, 2014. We are joining this global day of action against criminalization and profiling of trans women of color, and calling on DC to repeal the discriminatory Prostitution Free Zones.

Monica Jones, a human rights defender in Arizona and an advocate for the rights of transgender people and sex workers, was profiled and wrongfully arrested for “manifestation of prostitution” by a police sting operation and anti-prostitution diversion program known as “Project ROSE”. Ms Jones had been a speaker at a rally protesting Project ROSE—which is run by Phoenix police and Arizona State University’s School of Social Work—the day before. At the time of her arrest, she was not engaging in sex work, but was in fact walking down her street to the local bar.

On April 11 at 8:30 am (U.S. Mountain Standard Time) Monica’s case will go to trial at Phoenix Municipal Court. She will plead not guilty and an action is planned outside the court to show the City of Phoenix Prosecutor that we won’t tolerate the systematic profiling and criminalization of transgender people of color and sex workers. In DC, we will rally at noon in front of the Wilson Building in solidarity with Monica and trans women of color throughout the U.S. subject to such mistreatment. We will also call on the DC Council to repeal the discriminatory Prostitution Free Zones and promote the human rights of sex workers in our city.

What: Rally against criminalization of trans women of color and for human rights of sex workers
WhenApril 11, 12pm-2pm
Where: Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Click here to RSVP on Facebook.

Trans Awareness Week 2011

This week we’re raising awareness about trans rights, demanding justice for all trans people, and remembering those we’ve lost to anti-trans violence. Here’s how you can take part:

Tuesday, November 15
DCTC will host its bi-monthly meeting at 7:30pm in the Austin Center at Whitman-Walker Health, 14th & R Streets NW. Get updates on our needs assessment project, our work regarding the police and jails, and help us create our upcoming community forum on December 3 (stay tuned for details). Plus much, much more! Anyone who wants to fight for justice is welcome to attend.

Thursday, November 17
We’ve teamed up with TLGB Police Watch and a number of other local organizations for Trans Day of Action. Join us at 1:00pm for a rally in front of Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters, 300 Indiana Avenue NW. We’ll proceed from there to the US Attorney’s Office, at 555 4th Street NW. Check out our goals and demands for the mayor, the police chief, and the US Attorney, and feel free to share details with your friends on Facebook.

Sunday, November 20
Please join us for the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance service, organized by Transgender Health Empowerment, at 5:00pm at the Metropolitan Community Church, 474 Ridge Street NW. We’ve lost at least two members of our community to violence this year, and many more have been injured. Help us to honor their memories.

Several Anti-Violence Events THIS WEEK

Friends of Gigi Gopalan, who was killed two weeks ago, are holding a candlelight vigil this evening (Sunday) from 7-10pm. People will be gathering at Dupont Circle at 7, and will then be walking to 11th & Fairmont NW, where Gigi was found. Please spread the word, and come out and show your support. Details are available on facebook here. [Note: Gigi is still being referred to as Gaurav Gopalan in most accounts. However, in a letter written to friends shortly before her death, Gigi clearly articulated that she was trans and intended to begin transition. Therefore, we have updated this to reflect her chosen identity.]

This week

Monday, September 28
Mandy Van Deven, coauthor of “Hey, Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets,” will facilitate a discussion about the community organizing work led by teen women of color at Girls for Gender Equity to end gender-based violence in public space. The conversation will use the book as a jumping off point to speak about street harassment, sexual harassment in schools, and strategies to increase the safety of girls, women, and LGBTQ folks. This event will also feature street harassment expert Holly Kearl, members of the DC Trans Coalition, SMYAL, Holla Back DC, and HIPS. 6:30pm at Busboys and Poets on 14th and V Sts NW.

Tuesday, September 27
Come to our Needs Assessment meeting at 7:30pm! This week is super-important, as we’ll be discussing the draft survey for the next phase of our research. We’ll also be skyping in with some of our awesome research helpers from the Williams Institute in LA. Call us at 202.681.3282 or email us for location details.

Wednesday, September 28
The Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs is hosting a Public Safety Open House with members of the Metropolitan Police Department and Fire & Emergency Medical Services at 6:30pm in the community room at the Reeves Center, 14th & U Streets NW. Make your voice heard!

Thursday, September 29
We’ll be participating in a discussion on recent hate violence in DC following the 8pm performance of STOP KISS, a play by Diana Son, produced by No Rules Theatre Company at the H Street Playhouse (1365 H Street NE). More on the play can be found from Metro Weekly here, and you can purchase tickets online here. Use code LGBTQ10 to get $10 off.

Looking ahead
Be sure to come to our October meetings, October 4 and 18. Also, stay tuned for details about an upcoming town hall meeting, a DC Council hearing on hate crimes, a trans day of action, and the annual trans day of remembrance.

Update on This Week’s Violence

As is now well known, our communities suffered more violence over the weekend. Most recently, we were alerted by the Metropolitan Police Department at about 3:15am Monday morning of a trans woman who was non-fatally shot on the 2300 block of Savannah Street SE and had been transported to a local hospital. The victim had met up with her assailant, whom she had known previously, and they got into an argument in his truck, at which point he fired a shot at her, which grazed her neck. The victim was able to walk into 7th District police headquarters to seek assistance. Yesterday, MPD arrested the assailant, Darryl Willard, and he was charged with Assault with Intent to Kill While Armed. We will keep you posted as this case moves through the courts.

 

Flowers left on 11th Street NW where Saturday's victim was found.

Earlier in the weekend, at around 6:10am Saturday morning, we were informed by MPD that a body had been discovered at 11th & Fairmont Streets NW in Columbia Heights. According to MPD, the deceased person was believed to be a Latina trans woman. DCTC members arrived at the crime scene within an hour, and received an update from MPD’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit. Throughout Saturday morning and again later that evening, several Latina trans community members made phone calls and went door to door in Columbia Heights checking on friends and acquaintances and trying to track down anyone who could not be reached. Around 9:00am on Sunday, DCTC member Ruby Corado was presented with a photo of the deceased by MPD homicide detectives, but was unable to make an identification. The case is being investigated as a suspicious death, and the DC medical examiner has been unable to determine a cause of death.

 

On Monday afternoon, MPD Assistant Chief Peter Newsham held a press conference focused on these two cases, and released a photo of Saturday’s victim taken by the medical examiner. Throughout the press conference, Newsham persistently referred to the deceased as “he” and “a possible transgender male” and used phrases like “he was wearing make-up” and “feminine clothing.” While it is likely impossible for anyone to ever know the victim’s true gender identity, it is important to note that DC’s Human Rights Act, which is supported by MPD’s general order on handling trans people (general order 501.02), also mandates respect for a person’s gender expression. Given the many unknowns surrounding the victim’s death and identity, Newsham — like all officers — should have chosen gender neutral pronouns and should understand the difference between a trans man and a trans woman. We believe that Newsham’s reckless language represents a violation of MPD’s General Order 501.02 and its mandate to be respectful of gender identity and expression, and we will be raising that with both MPD and the Mayor’s office.

 

Within a day after the autopsy photo’s release, a member of DC’s South Asian LGBT community came forward and identified the victim, who is of Nepalese descent. As noted above, MPD’s initial belief was that the person was possibly Latino, which on Monday was expanded to also include possibly of Middle Eastern descent. This raises obvious questions about assigning a racial identity based solely on appearance. Further, the improperly assigned race in this case almost certainly contributed to the four-day delay in identifying the victim, and definitely caused intense fear within the Latina trans community. We understand that members of KhushDC have expressed that they will be planning a remembrance for the victim, we will keep you posted on details as they become available.

 

We also want to acknowledge statements made to the media by DC Mayor Vince Gray and DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown expressing their concern over the extreme violence our communities have faced this year. We look forward to working with them to take concrete action to prevent such violence inthe future.

 

As always, if you have been a victim of violence, or if you know someone who has, you can reach out to us at 202.681.3282 or email dctc@dctranscoalition.org. You can also reach out to Transgender Health Empowerment at 202.636.1646 or HIPS via their 24-hour hotline at 1.800.676.HIPS. If you need police assistance, dial 911 or call the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit at 202.506.0714.

Take Action! Next Steps After the Rally Against Police Violence

Thank you to everyone who came to the emergency Rally Against Police Violence! Around 70 people turned out with under four hours notice. (Click here for photos and media coverage.) Violence takes an emotional toll on all of us, and seeing such tangible support goes a long way toward community healing and regaining our sense of empowerment. We heard from representatives of DCTC, HIPS, Latin@s en Accion, Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, and Rainbow Response. Ward 6 City Council member Tommy Wells and individual survivors of violence also spoke. You all have our deep, heartfelt thanks!

So, what next? Already in 2011, MPD has reported 1 murder, 3 assaults with deadly weapon, 1 rape, 2 simple assaults, and 1 incidence of threats against trans women linked to anti-trans bias. Due to police failures in recording bias-motivated crimes and many trans people’s distrust of police, community groups unsurprisingly report much higher numbers. HIPS noted a 300% increase in violent incidents reported to them since last year. Most of these crimes targeted transgender women of color, and most were never reported to police. This must stop immediately.

Here are two ways YOU can get involved to stop violence against trans women:

*Demand Justice: Keep the Heat on MPD! DCTC and our allies will continue to put the pressure on Police Chief Cathy Lanier and to demand accountability and transparency. We want to see consequences for both Officer Furr and Officer Radon, who also assaulted a trans woman while off-duty last year. Regardless of Officer Furr’s motivation for harming members of our community, MPD must be held responsible for re-instating an officer who opened fire on innocent people while drunk and unauthorized to carry a weapon. Additionally, we demand that MPD:

  • Expand training for its entire force on the existing laws and protocols to protect trans people,
  • Take crimes against trans and queer people seriously,
  • Track and report crimes against trans people accurately, as they are required by law to do,
  • Notify DCTC and the Critical Response Team immediately with any developments in incidents that impact trans people,
  • Stop profiling trans women of color and abusing communities they assume to be sex workers, and
  • End the the disastrous Prostitution Free Zones and other anti-prostitution initiatives that force sex workers into dangerous situations where they are more likely to encounter violence.

Let the Police Department know that you are concerned about it’s treatment of transgender women. You can contact Chief Lanier at cathy.lanier@dc.gov. Also, Officer Furr’s trial and investigation are getting underway. Follow our blog or Facebook for updates!

*Work Toward Prevention: Fight Poverty, Unemployment and Job Discrimination! Trans communities face a rate of unemployment and levels of poverty that are double the already devastating rates in the United States. D.C. Mayor Gray recently promised to create a jobs program specifically targeting trans communities. Social programs will help decrease violence by solving the underlying housing instability and job precarity that put so many trans people, especially of color, in harm’s way.

Support our efforts to decrease barriers to employment and increase access to jobs for trans people in DC as we follow-up on Mayor Gray’s promised jobs program. Learn more and write him in support of these initiatives at eom@dc.gov.

***

For background on the recent apparent rise in violence against transgender women in D.C. (including how it relates to police, racism, sex work, city budget cuts, gentrification and more) … see here!

DCTC Recommends Priorities for District Government

Last week, newly-elected Mayor Gray’s Director of the Office of GLBT Affairs, Jeffrey Richardson, attended a DC Trans Coalition meeting. Members of DCTC educated the Director about the needs of trans communities in the District, and we were assured that trans people (along with youth and aging LGBT people) would be among the administration’s top concerns.

For the occasion, DCTC prepared a list of priorities for the Gray Administration, and shared this with the Director. We broke it down by agency and listed the most pressing and achievable goals for each. Among our list were:

  • End the Prostitution Free Zones and move toward decriminalizing sex work;
  • Nominate one or more trans people to serve on the Commission on Human Rights;
  • Enforce the gender-neutral bathroom provisions of the DC Human Rights Act;
  • Restore funding to vital trans-sensitive social services like HIPS and T.H.E.;
  • Develop plans to address unemployment in the trans community;
  • Expand the Dept. of Corrections and MPD trans policies to include other criminal justice agencies in the District;
  • Fund the DC Trans Needs Assessment

..and much more. You can read the comprehensive list here.

BE NICE TO SEX WORKERS ~ HIPS Fall 2010 Volunteer Training!

Like HIPS? Want to get more involved?

Come learn more about volunteering with us! Led by Cyndee Clay (Executive Director), Elizabeth Saracco (Director of Programs), and JD Rosario (Peer Education Program Manager) this orientation is a Sex Work and Harm Reduction 101!

Time: Saturday, Octobert 16 – 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Location: 1309 Rhodes Island Avenue NE WDC 20018

After you’ve completed the orientation, you will be invited to the Outreach Volunteer Training (November 6-7 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.). Outreach Volunteers hit the streets Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 11 P.M. to 5 A.M. to do harm reduction counseling and support sex workers.

Email hips.outreach@gmail.com for more info, an application, and to register for both events!

Looking forward to working together! FORWARD WIDELY. Your support is appreciated!