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Posts Tagged ‘hate crime’

No, I am not going to be a bride tomorrow. The age old advice to brides about what to wear going down the aisle also applies to the big step I will take tomorrow. I embark on something new–speaking to a group of victims’ advocates about LGBT crime victims. In a way it is something old for me as I began my career years ago in New York City working in criminal justice at an alternative to incarceration for youth offenders. I first worked as a teacher and then the director of education. As a result, I spent time in the courts, and I got to learn about victims of crimes firsthand.

Throughout the United States (Canada and beyond too I imagine) on the local and state levels there are people who work directly with victims of crimes. They may do direct work almost immediately after a crime is committed, particularly physical or sexual assault, to assist the victim  navigate the medical, legal, personal morass as a result of a violent crime to an individual or a loved one. The work of the advocate becomes especially important when domestic violence is at the heart of the crime. On the state level, victims’ advocates help update victims as the perpetrator goes through the system, comes up for parole, or is ready to be released from incarceration.

Tomorrow I will spend time with a group of victims’ advocates, administrators, parole officers, and others involved in the welfare of victims,  and I will speak specifically about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer concerns. As LGBTIQ people we often face multiple complications when we are victims of crimes. Sometimes law enforcement officials exacerbate the trauma we face instead of lessening it. Sometime medical staff cause more harm than healing. Sometimes we face a direct bias that effects the help we need. Other times we suffer because of the ignorance or misunderstanding from a well meaning but ill informed professional who wants to help us.

I am going to borrow from my performance work and present my play Queer 101–Now I Know my gAy,B,Cs, which serves as a primer about many LGBTIQ issues, identities, and intersections of identities. This will give us a jumping off point to help talk about basics–proper terminology, differences between gender and sex, going beyond binaries, etc. Then we will go deeper.

No don’t things will get blue–no not in the x-rated sense or a delicious cobalt blue frock. Things may get blue meaning they might get sad because of the sad realities many LGBTIQ people have faced in addition to the crimes  perpetuated against them. Police, press, lawyers, family, medical personnel sadly  can deepen the nightmare many of us have fast when dealing with crimes against us.

I am pleased that this group wants to meet. I know they care about victims, and they want to do the best job possible. This encourages me. As I have done research the past few weeks, I have soaked in all kinds of stories. Still I would like to hear more  if you are willing and able to share.

Have you been a victim of a crime–not exclusively a hate crime–any crime? What was your experience as a victim of a crime when dealing with police, medical personnel, legal professionals, and others? What did you need? How did those who were supposed to help you actually end up failing you? What did someone do or say that was helpful to you? I would love to carry your story with me.

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For further reading visit The National Center for the Victims of Crime and see their recent study: Why It Matters
Rethinking Victim Assistance for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Victims

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Tonight as I sat in the silence of a Quaker Meeting for Worship, we each spoke out of the silence to mention someone who we want to hold in the Light. I suddenly felt moved to tears as I realized anew that we can share concerns with each other and hold each other in the Light. This is a spiritual way of bringing comfort, support and aid to those in need.

Timothy Travis, a Quaker in Portland, OR writes about the expression as he reflects our Friend Bonnie Tinker, who last week died in an awful accident as many of us gathered for our North American annual conference.  Timothy writes about the transformational nature of the Light. Light brings tenderness, growth, challenge, and change.

As we settled back into the silence in our worship service tonight I began to think of Teish Green and her family.

From the Facebook group Justice for Teish Green,

Lateisha “Teish” Green (born Moses Cannon), a 22-year old transwoman, was murdered in Syracuse, NY on Friday evening around 8:45pm, November 14, 2008. Teisha was sitting in the front seat of a car with her younger brother Mark when a man with a rifle walked up to the car and fired his weapon. The gunman was alleged to have made a number of hate remarks about Teish. Mark was wounded while Teisha was declared dead at the hospital.

FAR TOO MANY YOUNG TRANSWOMEN OF COLOR HAVE BEEN MURDERED IN THE PAST 10 YEARS, OFTEN WITH NO ARRESTS OR A LOW CONVICTION RATE. THIS INJUSTICE CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE!

It’s time for all of us to take a stand and declare young African-American LGBT peoples’ lives are NOT expendable and that violence against them will NOT be ignored or tolerated. The killing must stop. Tell your friends about this site and talk about this case with people you know.

The trial begins tomorrow Monday July 13. Please hold Teish’s family in the Light and remember all of the proceedings they will endure. Some of you may even feel led to hold  Teish’s accused murderer, Dwight DeLee, also in the Light. I find that difficult to do but imagine that he needs transformation and Light in his life.

If you are a spiritual person, please join the many people supporting Teish’s family and friends in prayer remember the trans community as they are reminded afresh of Teish’s death. Friends, join me in holding this trial, and no doubt it will be a trial for Tesih loved ones, in the Light.

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