civil rights

When will we move to impeach certain Supreme Court justices? (Part 2)

Flickr/creative commons

Flickr/creative commons

“In the Potemkin justice of the Roberts
court, the right to vote 
is under attack,
while the power to buy elections

is sanctified by law. Corporations
are called people under a
faux doctrine
of free speech, while women are denied
to combat discrimination.”
– Brent Budowsky Editorial from The Hill, April 9, 2014.



Most of us came of age with nearly blind trust in this once-austere body, this third branch of government charged with deciding the most challenging questions of our time. But times have changed, and so has the purpose and direction of the Supreme Court. It’s literally gone off the rails, insane. 

So, yesterday, we formally joined the national conversation by asking when the grassroots-at-large will rise up, start paying more attention to this judicial menace, and act by using the formidable power vested in the people to reshape The Supreme Court?

Budowsky’s April 9 editorial offers a prescription for us, a place to start in the near term:

Democrats, liberals and populists should promote a constitutional amendment to reverse Supreme Court decisions, propose statewide ballot initiatives to take back America from special interests, and make corruption in Washington a defining issue to mobilize the Democratic base, rally political independents and transform the 2014 and 2016 elections.


It’s one thing to make corruption in Washington a defining issue, but what of the larger picture? Which body reigns above us all and makes possible the Koch Brothers and their spawn? stands with the National Rifle Association in its total misunderstanding of the Second Amendment? restricts voting among known Democrats wherever and whenever possible? The list of shame goes on and on.

We have seen the rise of something worse than winning or losing a couple of elections. Pre-eminent constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe calls it the “Roberts Anti-court Court,” not just for the Court’s dismal showing, especially in the last several years with it’s rash of constitution-shredding decisions in favor of monied, self-interested litigants, but for it’s dramatic restructuring of the procedures and rules they formerly operated within, delimiting class actions, and forcing involuntary binding arbitration.

Tribe’s must-read book is entitled, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution.

“Since 2005, the Roberts Court has issued a string of decisions that make it harder to hold the government accountable in court when it violates the Constitution.”

“The result is a shrinking judicial role in enforcing the Constitution and protecting our liberty.”

[The Roberts Court is] “far more sensitive to the substantial burdens of litigation than to the potential benefits of lawsuits.”

“Whereas the midcentury court saw itself as a protector of the powerless, the Roberts Court is mostly uninterested in that role . . . it has dealt critical legal rules a death of a thousand cuts—leaving many of our rights intact but making them effectively impossible to enforce in any court”

Tribe urges us to “seek justice elsewhere . . . the democratic process, social movements, arbitration, our communities and families, consumer report websites and other means of ensuring that everyone comply with the law. Indeed, the Constitution presumes that democracy, not litigation, is how we’re supposed to resolve many disputes.”

Arthur Bryant, Chairman of Public Justice, a national public interest law firm, writing Thursday for the National Law Journal, agreed with Tribe’s analysis but goes a step further, “We must keep fighting for justice in the courts” and “keep working hard to make the Supreme Court a pro-court court. We need courts to provide access to justice to all.”

First, we need to keep using the courts, as much and as best we can, to hold corporations, the government and the powerful accountable—exposing the truth, righting wrongs and making the wrongdoers pay.

Second, we need to keep fighting to preserve and expand access to justice. Nothing could be more important.

The bottom line is that we cannot accept an anti-court Supreme Court. We need to develop a pro-court court. Then we need to do what everyone in America should be able to do: Go to court and get justice.


You can learn more about some of the more egregious recent decisions by the Court by taking a look at  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, unconscionably awarding people’s free speech to corporations who have exploited this new right only further consolidate corporate and political power; Shelby County v. Holder, a gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, legalizing political graft.

Educate yourself for this inescapable campaign to unseat the worse of the worse as it revs up into full gear. Sign the petitions against Chief Justice John RobertsAntonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. And, connect with organizations and people in your own community who want to step forward to rescue America from these misguided justices. We need really, really wise justices to protect the voiceless, and these three are not that.

Click here for yesterday’s Part 1.

For more:

Budowsky: History to Impeach Roberts

We Cannot Let and “Anti-court Court Eliminate Access to Justice

Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution

And, to learn why VenusPlusX thinks this is important, read A Manifesto for The New Age of Sexual Freedom, and catch our unique mix of posts and videos 24/7 that will get us all to that better future, sooner rather than later.

When will we move to impeach certain Supreme Court justices? (Part 1)

“Five conservative Republican men serving on the Supreme Court,
led by a chief justice who has violated 200 years of judicial precedent,
despite pledging under oath during his confirmation hearings to respect
judicial precedent, are waging a legal war of mass destruction against
core principles of American democracy . . .”

Brent Budowsky Editorial from The Hill, April 9, 2014.


Antonin Scalia Flickr/creative commons

Antonin Scalia
Flickr/creative commons

Every June, I get nervous about the Supreme Court, and the Roberts’s court in particular. My knees have been shaking at the very idea that they may rule anyway now to give Hobby Lobby and all corporations/employers’ the right to disallow contraception coverage, something that is mandated by and totally funded by for the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

When I was growing up in the 50s, my parents impressed upon me the reverence they paid to the Supreme Court, whose justices served selflessly for life to decide the hardest decisions American’s face. I held this view up until the retirement of Justice William J. Brennan in 1990. At the time, I was close friends with his daughter and happen to be privy to the fact that he stayed on longer than he wanted to boost the progressive voices then on the court. But a lot has changed since then. George Bush was elected in 2000 and proceeded to pack the court with conservative judicial activists instead of stalwarts of justice. So now, we find ourselves looking for grounds for impeachment starting with the two of the worse, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, along with their enabler, Chief Justice John Roberts.

This right-wing majority in the Supreme Court is now forcing us to endure the most terrible, constitution-shredding rulings I never could have imagined: In 2009, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission opened the floodgates by giving organizations free speech prerogatives, formerly reserved for individuals, in allowing political spending by outside groups, something that has since clearly hijacked the democratic political process. Then in 2013, the court decision in Shelby County v. Holder gutted, savaged really, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, striking down its Section 4 as unconstitutional, the formula that subjected certain jurisdictions (mostly in the South with its bad voter protection histories) to pre-clearance by the Department of Justice before implementing new changes in their voting laws and practices. And, also last June, in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Court held that aggregate campaign contribution limits were invalid under First Amendment, newly legalizing a long-ago rejected form of outright political graft.

There are already numerous petitions to call for the impeachment of Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. Roberts has even prompted a petition from his own right wing, for siding with the progressive side of the court which upheld that people can be forced to get coverage under Affordable Care Act, just as with car insurance, a widely accepted premise.

Both Thomas and Scalia have been participated in partisan fundraising, which would be be considered a clear violation of ethics. Thomas’ wife, Ginni, was also on the payroll of at least one of these organizations, Thomas says he “forgot” to disclose. An analysis of Scalia’s public statements and speeches could hold the key to his ouster because they were seditious. Unfortunately, ethics censure is voluntary for Supreme Court justices. They are not held the same standard of conduct that all other federal judges are held to, and under which they can be impeached.

Budowsky urges us to mobilize:

Democrats, liberals and populists should promote a constitutional amendment to reverse Supreme Court decisions, propose statewide ballot initiatives to take back America from special interests, and make corruption in Washington a defining issue to mobilize the Democratic base, rally political independents and transform the 2014 and 2016 elections (from The Hill)

What will you do to address this most important threat to American democracy in our history?

This post continues in Part 2 with a discussion and analysis of Laurence Tribe‘s new book, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution.

For more:

Budowsky: History to Impeach Roberts

We Cannot Let and “Anti-court Court Eliminate Access to Justice

Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution

And, to learn why VenusPlusX thinks this is important, read A Manifesto for The New Age of Sexual Freedom, and catch our unique mix of posts and videos 24/7 that will get us all to that better future, sooner rather than later.



Rape Victim Faces Criminal Charges for Tweeting Names of Attackers

Creative Commons: Matthais M.

No matter how you look at it, there’s something wrong when a rape victim is threatened with fines and jail time for speaking out about her horrible experience. Not only had Savannah Dietrich  endured the hardship brought upon her by attackers, but she now faces a $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail. She showed great courage in breaking her silence but she violated a court order that demanded she not speak out.

A brave and defiant Savannah Dietrich explained her outrage, “So many of my rights have been taken away by these boys. I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it. If they really feel it’s necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don’t understand justice.” (

Not only is this indignation completely called for, but it also brings about a vital government responsibility to both Dietrich and all people who are victims of any crime: the justice system should be there to protect us. In this case, however, that is clearly not happening. Not only is Dietrich’s free speech being violated, the court order doesn’t help her recover by speaking out which further victimizes her, only helping her attackers by keeping their names out of the public view. Something is seriously wrong when our courts are helping those who perpetrate violent sex crimes to keep their names clear, even in a juvenile court.

Lesbian and Gay Rights in the World—Geography of Bigotry and Oppression

Click to enlarge

This amazing map, developed by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Organization, portrays, as of May 2012, the status of critical LGBT protections and persecutions world wide. We hope all people interested in international issues will examine it and understand where progress is being made and where horrible persecution and enforced neglect endure.

It is encouraging to see signs of great progress in areas of South America and most of Western Europe, where a modicum of equality is emerging, in spite of entrenched religious opposition by atheistic religionists deeply embedded in the pastoral hierarchies of these societies.

It is painful to see how pervasive persecution and ignorance continue unopposed and unabated throughout Asia, Africa, and North and Central America, omitting only Canada. This horror persists and advances in such economically advanced nations as the United States, Russia, and China.

At the same time, the atheist leadership of the false religions of fundamentalism—regardless of the mythological origins of their beliefs—have made it their worldwide business to oppose education, and anything else which would broaden people’s perspectives on the realities of living in a modernizing society.

Nowhere is this atheistic negation of the most basic tenets of the faith they claim to espouse more apparent than in the United States, where the bigoted leadership of christianist cults, who know nothing of the “Christ” they claim to extol, expend vast sums to export their hatred to the third world in hope of colonializing the minds of uninformed citizens while quietly seizing financial control of undeveloped natural resources for personal advantage.

There are seated U.S. Congressmen that hold allegiance to their egocentric interpretation of “god’s law” as supreme. They respect neither teachings of great world religions, nor the U.S. Constitution, which they once swore to uphold. Their behavior hovers on the border of treason. They encourage bizarre religious hysteria in client country populations, while personally profiting from abuse of their government position to influence U.S. Foreign Aid, taken from your tax dollars, into back-end income from third world development projects and exploitation of those countries’ rich natural resources.

Editor’s note: This is one of a series of position papers Dan Massey and I are creating and will soon index on our home page. They briefly explore the evolution of our points of view about a range of issues related to sex, gender, and racial freedom. Your feedback is always welcome.

Sweden’s “Forcible sterilization” and Creating Change

Sweden: Transgender actress mourns her “forcible sterilization” – “Many countries typically seen as progressive on LGBT rights continue to mandate the practice.”

“’Forcible sterilization’ has been quietly practiced for decades in countries typically cast as progressive on LGBT rights: France, the Netherlands, Australia and a number of U.S. states still require it. Italy and Germany have just recently overturned similar legislation.”

Having just returned from Creating Change (3000 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender activists and allies, annually), I found this coverage of actress Aleksa Lundberg, a well-known Swedish transwoman, particularly ridiculous.

Although Swedish actress Aleksa Lundberg made her complete transition in her late teens, before her career, her birth gender just entered the public’s consciousness 4 years ago when she started telling her story to the press and on stage to take a stand against efforts to block the repeal of this heinous law.

Transwomen in Sweden cannot obtain their desired gender documentation (the completion and certification of their transition in the governments eyes) unless they undergo a full surgical removal of all male sex organs, while being prohibited from pre-freezing sperm for future use. These forced surgeries are a clear violation of human rights, something 50 Swedish transwomen, in a population of only 9 million, needlessly suffer every year.

This practice unfortunately harkens back to Sweden’s questionable medical research experiments on humans that didn’t officially end until the early 70s, as pointed out by Par Wiktorsson, president of the organizing committee for this year’s Stockholm Pride Festival.

“. . . the current law is reminiscent of eugenics programs that Swedish academics and doctors began to pursue in the 1930s and actually continued to practice until 1976.

“Supporters of the law don’t want the sterilization referred to as ‘forcible,’ but they didn’t want to call it that in the past either,” he says. “But . . . the state has always stood behind this demand with the threat of [withholding medical] treatment. It is shameful that we have forcible sterilization in the year 2011.”.

“Forcible sterilization” has been a practice for a century in America, notably in the southern states. Women and men, trans or not, are rightly seeking compensation as highlighted recently in North Carolina, where an intrusive state government shattered life aspirations of 1000s who were forced to undergo this despicable practice, by force and/or without informed consent. In the 60s, just being an unmarried teen mother was justification for sterilization.

‘They cut me open like I was a hog,” testified Eliane Riddick, who was sterilized by  North Carolina at age 14 under the premise that she was promiscuous and didn’t get along with others. “I couldn’t get along well with others because I was hungry. I was cold. I was a victim of rape.”

This is a practice that is disturbing especially to human rights defenders in this 21st century. I know that centuries ago, people didn’t have many choices in regard to rights and the governments were left largely unchecked. England exiled its own citizens, those deemed undesirable by the state, to primitive and barren lands 1000s of miles away. This business of creating a perfect world in places through erasure has been going on for a long time but civilization cannot stop banning practices like forced sterilization and others forms of disenfranchisement or it will stay in this modern dark ages.

“It infuriates me that a group of people think they have a right to tell another group of people what they can and cannot do,” Lundberg says.

As a human rights activist, I say, They don’t!”

It’s high time every lover of liberty and equality is coming together to denounce such heinous acts and continue to CREATE CHANGE.


Sign Our Petition to Stop Harmful Prostitution-Free Zones

Tomorrow in DC we will be delivering testimony, reprinted below, in opposition to  Bill 19-567, a proposed new law that would allow police to designate permanent Prostitution-Free Zones (PFZs), which have been dubbed by local activists as Trans Profiling Zones.

If you cannot attend tomorrow, you can watch online.

In any case, in the coming two weeks, please join us by signing the petition. Each time someone signs, the DC Council gets email notice. We want to deluge these officials’ in boxes and make sure that this legislation is never passed, and that even our current temporary PFZs disappear in the waste bin of stupid ideas.

Prostitution is illegal, but PFZs, temporary as they are now or permanent, constitute legalized sex discrimination and a direct challenge to civil rights. Any discussion of PFZs is, therefore, part of a larger discourse on human rights.

As others will attest tomorrow, the establishment or continuation of PFZs is clearly unconstitutional, ignoring due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution, so any law making them permanent will be subject to unending legal challenges costing our city hundreds of thousands of tax dollars defending a foolish law.

Putting the question of constitutionality aside for the moment, however, these PFZs are a menace to public safety by creating “papers please” profiling zones threatening people in the neighborhoods where they wish to live and work in peace. Police haven’t curbed prostitution or decreased crime that is imagined to be associated with prostitution, just relocated most of these activities to outlying neighborhoods away from downtown.

All residents and visitors to our nation’s capital have the right to be free from unwelcomed, coerced encounters with police, and the harassment that ensues during such forced encounters. Because most if not all of these coercive encounters have been shown to be biased, based entirely on the personal judgments and viewpoints of the police officer/s, rather than extant police procedures and special orders and human rights laws in the District of Columbia. Many of these unsolicited encounters with cross-purposes result in unwarranted arrests, further harassment, mistreatment by the police while incarcerated, and sometimes injury or even death.

DC government has the opportunity to step back and consider that the path of the PFZs is not only a losing proposition, it goes against the very principles of existing local laws and the very integrity of those who serve the Council. Rather then roiling ‘red meat’ for a small group of noisy busybodies in select neighborhoods, so as not to ‘appear’ as favoring prostitution, lawmakers should instead focus their attention on finding systemic and sustainable solutions that offer better employment options to this most vulnerable class of people, often forced through economic necessity to seek sex work for their very survival.

VenusPlusX’s testimony, prepared by Dan Massey, points to a future where sex workers are not victims of police overreach such as these PFZs. Here it is:

A Statement Opposing Establishment of Permanent Prostitution-Free Zones in the District of Columbia

You are today considering legislation that would create permanent “prostitution- free zones” (PPFZs) in certain areas of the city. I strongly urge that the Council table this matter for the time being and instead initiate a combined government and community-based effort, emphasizing transparency and harmony, to effectively address the real underlying problem which the PPFZ proposal fails to address.

There is little to gain in enacting laws that sound responsible to a vocal minority in the community, but which depend solely on the government to deploy violence against fellow citizens. Such laws deserve only ridicule when examined in the light of reason.

Sex workers provide an important function in society by filling a market need that cannot be eliminated, since it comes about through the choices and desires of the individual members of the population as a whole.

Criminalization of sex work simply forces sex workers to practice their profession at times and places where they can be free from police observation, while remaining accessible to their clientele.

Unfortunately, this means the solicitation and delivery of services will most often occur at times and in areas of the city where the participants will necessarily be more vulnerable to crimes of violence because of reduced police oversight.

At this time, I am not suggesting that the Council immediately de-criminalize and regulate sex work. Rather, I want each of you to honestly examine how much better it would be for the city to establish “Prostitution Zones” (PZs), under police protection. in which sex work is legal, licensed, and medically supervised.

Such zones would become havens for legal, socially beneficial sexual healing, and create opportunities for sex worker cooperatives to emerge, owning real estate and paying license fees and property taxes.

At the same time, with the establishment of such centers of expertise, open sex trade would be drawn away from unaccepting areas of the community, to everyone’s satisfaction.

At the moment, such a change in the underlying approach to prostitution in the city would be misunderstood and misinterpreted by many who hold strong opinions, simply because they have not yet actually been engaged in a rational discussion of alternatives and choices.

The Council can show it supports a rational approach by providing a public forum charged to find systemic and sustainable solutions for the District’s challenges in this area. Its current course in considering establishment of PPFZs will only complicate matters further, since court challenges based on considerable precedents in other locales are inevitable.

This forum should be established with a view towards providing the same respect, rights, and safety that all District residents desire from our society and our government, and should draw on community resources advocating every possible viewpoint and attitude, while providing full transparency in the decision-making process.

The outcome of such a discussion would be broad public education on the challenges of governing a modern city, the emergence of agreement on common goals and purposes, and anticipation of the benefits of agreed changes.

Such results would be visible through the reduction in crimes of violence, especially those motivated by racial and sexual hatred, as well as improvements in the health of all District residents.

At present, many people find themselves trapped into sex work by economic situations, many of which arise directly from social prejudice, hiring biases, and unfounded presumptions.

In this respect, I applaud the work of Project Empowement, which is demonstrating the fallacy of social prejudice. The ongoing effort to help our local LGBT youth gang find a constructive outlet for their commitment and energy also deserves recognition.

To summarize, I am advocating that the Council, working with MPD and the Mayor’s Office, begin to support and listen to an emerging discussion that would educate the entire DC community in wholesome ways to address the serious social problem created by public misunderstanding of legitimate, morally responsible services.

On a closely related subject:

Law enforcement management is maturing technically in many US cities. In 2009, the National Institute of Justice funded a Phase 1 trial of Predictive Policing in seven cities, including Washington, DC. I have seen no published report from this work; however, Shreveport and Chicago have received grants of $0.5M and $1.5M, respectively, to implement Phase 2 of their plans.

Building on earlier successes in Los Angeles, Memphis, and Richmond, Predictive Policing involves the collection and analysis of large bodies of data about crime times, locations, conditions, victims, methods, etc., as well as detailed environmental data about the organization of the city and its infrastructure.

Results help identify and pinpoint places, times, and conditions conducive to crime. Often, they identify environment, infrastructure, and organization that leads to the emergence of these “hot spots.” In Memphis, for example, the incidence of public rape, assault, and theft was significantly reduced simply by shifting the locations of public pay phones that were shown to be “hot spots” from street locations to the interiors of businesses open 24×7.

It is clear that legislation that criminalizes prostitution and then, having given up on fair enforcement of the original law, seeks to occasionally apply it more forcefully and arbitrarily in specific areas, is itself responsible for the formation of “hot spots” for serious criminal activity.

Making these zones permanent is merely another step backwards into a system of regulation that, like the proverbial ostrich, hides its head in the sand.

I urge Council members concerned about crime prevention in DC to examine some of the reference material on Preventive Policing cited in the attached References.

I firmly believe that, if the city will openly and honestly examine these issues, free from unreasoned prejudice, it will be possible to reform our practices in a way that can be a light to the entire nation.

The time has come for our city to take steps that will surely lead to the achievement of full civil liberty and freedom under a system of laws that fully represents to the nation and the world our highest ideals of excellence in law and government.

Let us again proclaim to the world that the District of Columbia aspires to be a shining example of full liberty and freedom for all, as was demonstrated in the establishment of Civil Marriage Equality in 2010 and many prior victories for human rights.


The Deparment of Pre-Crime. James Vlahos in Scientific American, Vol. 306, No. 1, pages 62-67, January 2012.

Self-Exciting Point Processes Modeling of Crime. G. O. Mohler, M. B. Short. P. J. Brantingham, F. P. Schoenberg, and G. E. Tita in Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 106, No. 473, pages 100-108, 2011.

How New York Beat Crime. Franklin E. Zimring in Scientific American, Vol. 305, No. 2, pages 74-79, August 2011.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports:

Scientific American Online:




My Guantánamo Nightmare

(También en Español)

My Guantánamo Nightmare

On Wednesday, America’s detention camp at Guantánamo Bay will have been open for 10 years. For seven of them, I was held there without explanation or charge. During that time my daughters grew up without me. They were toddlers when I was imprisoned, and were never allowed to visit or speak to me by phone. Most of their letters were returned as “undeliverable,” and the few that I received were so thoroughly and thoughtlessly censored that their messages of love and support were lost.

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is too far from the thoughts of most Americans. We hold people for 10 years without trials, a modern day concentration camp, complete with medieval torture techniques. How does America get away with this kind of behavior? I suppose Guatanamo is out of sight and out of mind. Let this man’s story sit with you for more than a quick minute as this shames our entire country. We are better than this.

Creative Commons image: source

A Mission Accomplished

We are pleased to report the DC TLGB Watch’s Transgender Day of Action in Washington, DC, was, and continues to be, a notable success by any standard.

Even a few days ago, when elected/appointed officials became a little nervous on rumors that street demonstrations and set of demands with deadlines were coming to their doorsteps, the Trans community leaders were offered some coordinated face-time with the Office of Mayor Vincent Gray together with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the US Attorney for Washington, DC (USAO), a fresh approach to replace their usual divide and conquer strategy to make these problems magically disappear. (Because we still do not have statehood in Washington, DC, our justice system is federally administered by the USAO, and this causes obstacles of its own that interfere with bringing justice and equality to the Trans community.)

So, even before the first boot hit the ground or the first demand leapt from our bullhorn, we saw a new willingness among these officials to start responding proactively on a level this crisis of anti-Trans violence and police bias warrants. But that was just the beginning.

After marching in front of the MPD with 40+ Trans victims, activists, and allies, with chants like “Hey, Hey, Ho Ho, Transphobia has got to go,” and delivering our demands in writing directly to MPD Police Chief Cathy Lanier, we read each demand out loud from the sidewalk as a media scrum pressed in to interview spokespeople in the Trans community. Minutes later, while headed over to the federal building a few blocks away that houses the USAO, to rally again and deliver our demands to the US Attorney, we were chased down in the street by a press aide from Police Chief Lanier’s office with a an official statement.

Lanier’s incredible “rebuttal” of our demands was an insult and misrepresentation of the countless hours and years community leaders have spent in meetings with her and her predecessor with little to show for it except for increasing anti-Trans violence and murder. With just a few sentences, she tried to blame the Trans community for its failure to send representatives to an unannounced, hastily organized MPD meet-and-greet last week, a sign, in her mind at least, that we were the ones not being serious about working in partnership with them to bring about change. This was at once ironic, ludicrous, and infuriating because this defensive statement was so obviously hastily prepared a few floors up simultaneous with our street demonstration, and at the same time, indisputably and so sadly demonstrates to everyone who can read how unserious and off the page she and her department have been.

We’re talking about a spike in anti-Trans murders, two in the last 4 months, rampant anti-trans violence, including attempted murders at the hands of police, and police bias and police profiling especially within DC’s highly questionable and indeed unconstitutional “Prostitution Free Zones.” What are they focused on? They want to argue with us about who came out for a coffee, a completely cynical deflection carried out in the most petty, amateurish, and self-disclosing way. The Chief cannot help but fail each time she approaches these important issues because she first must change her own very bad attitudes, and then be in a position to get serious about the gravity and urgency this shame in the nation’s capital deserves.

Today, the emails to our community are buzzing back and forth from Chief Lanier and her commanders. They are scrambling to reach out now that we have taken to direct action to bring this crisis to the attention of every American and established what their priorities must be. Maybe now they can begin to change the situation by changing themselves and understanding just how they discriminate against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and, especially, Trans people by offering public relations tricks in place of honest dialogue. At least now, they are on notice that they must turn that corner and rise to their responsibilities.

We have come together in coalition with a set of demands we all agree on and we have set dates for completion. Now it is up to the Trans community leaders to press them in high level meetings with our elected/appointed officials, telling these decision-makers that they can keep the street activists at bay only if and when real progress starts and continues. We are a strong coalition representing a dozen prominent organizations dedicated to improving life for DC Trans residents. Now, at a moment’s notice, we can put boots on the ground, again and again, until real, systemic, and sustainable change comes to Washington, DC. We will do this until the anti-Trans violence and police bias in DC comes to an end, including the harmful Prostitution Free Zones.


Call to action this Thursday, November 17, Washington, DC

This urgent Call to Action for Thursday, November 17 starts at 1 PM in front of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD300 Indiana Avenue NW). Local activists have mobilized on behalf of Trans people in the District who have unfairly suffered police profiling, police bias, police harassment, undertrained police, and, indeed, violence at the hands of police. The disproportionate statistics in our nation’s capital reportedly tower over any other city or state.

WHAT: Transgender Day of Action

WHEN: Thursday, November 17, 2011, starting at 1 PM

WHERE: MPD Headquarters (300 Indiana Avenue NW) to the US Attorney’s Office (555 4th Street NW) and City Hall.

WHY: Because you don’t want to miss joining the trans community and its allies coming together to demand change.

HOW: Activists deliver a set of written goals and demands with date certain expectations and consequences.

WITH: Transgender Day of Remembrance, Sunday, November 20, 5 PM, at Metropolitan Community Church (474 Ridge Street NW)

MEDIA: Miguel,, 571-218-7505; Alison,, 202-290-7077

The grim media reports trumpet the District’s rise in violent crime against Trans people, including two murders this summer, LaShai McClean, 23, on July 20, and Gaurav Gopalan, 35, on September 10, while experts content that crimes against Trans people are generally under reported or misrepresented by the police. And MPD’s clearance rate for assaults and murders involving trans victims is just a quarter of the average rate, 20% versus 80% of crimes solved, respectively, according to Police Chief Lanier.

The coalition called DC TLGB Police Watch organized this summer to support our community leaders who have tried for years to bring about systemic and sustainable change and instead have seen violent crimes and the Trans murder rate skyrocket. TLGB conveys our assertion of Trans issues when advocating on behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans (LGBT) rights.

On November 17, working in concert with our community leaders and the upcoming DC Transgender Day of Remembrance (Sunday, November 20, DC’s Metropolitan Community Church474 Ridge Street NW), we will take to the sidewalks and street to expose publicly this national shame to every American, and in this way also participate in remembering and honoring the many trans folk who have laid down their lives in the struggle for dignity and equality. On their behalf, we will hand-deliver to our city and federal officials, including MPD, a set of specific, written demands with date certain expectations signaling unrelenting public pressure until they take the serious, emergency measures this urgent crisis warrants.

Help us end the culture of transphobia and homophobia that exists within the MPD, city government, and DC’s federally administered justice system.

Volunteer to participate at Facebook/Transgender Day of Action or Download the Poster for your homepage or blog, listen to TransFM’s Ethan St. Pierre’s interview with Ruby Corado and Alison Gardner, and catch up with last Wednesday’s recent Hearing on Hate Crimes before members of the DC City Council. (Media contact 202-290-7077.)

We are counting on your boots on the ground at the November 17 Transgender Day of Action, and your welcomed presence a few days later at the November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Work with us to demand systemic and sustainable change in Washington, DC.

DC TLGB Police Watch (to date): DC Trans Coalition (DCTC), Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), GetEQUAL DC,International Socialist Organization (ISO), Woodhull Sexual Freedom AllianceCedar Lane UU Church LGBT Task Force, Rainbow ResponseTransgender Health EmpowermentGender Rights Maryland, and VenusPlusX.