TV & Radio
17日行われたニュージーランド総選挙（一院制・定数120＋α)は即日開票され、世界でただ一人のトランスジェンダーの国会議員、Georgina Beyerさん(労働党・比例代表単独立候補)が三選を果たした。また、オープンリー・ゲイの現職議員Chris CarterさんとTim Barnettさん(いずれも労働党・小選挙区・比例重複立候補)は、いずれも小選挙区で勝利し議席を守った。任期は2008年までの3年間。
Provisional List of Successful Candidates -- 2005 General Election - Preliminary Results
New Zealand Rainbow Labour
ＮＺ総選挙与野党が伯仲、１議席差、連立協議スタート、野党・国民党、減税公約で躍進 (日本経済 2005/09/18朝刊)
Legacy Of Gwen Araujo: Death Of Gay, Trans Panic Defense
by Michelle Locke, Associated Press
Posted: September 16, 2005 9:00 pm ET
(San Francisco, California) In the early hours of Oct. 4, 2002, 17-year-old Gwen Araujo was punched, gashed, choked, tied up and strangled.
And that, a jury decided, was murder, despite defense claims Araujo provoked the attack by not telling her male companions - and occasional sex partners - that she was born biologically male.
The verdicts, which followed murder convictions in the beating death of gay college student Matthew Shepard as well as those in the murder of Brandon Teena, whose story was told in the movie "Boys Don't Cry," may suggest a shift in societal attitudes.
Getting murder convictions is still tough; defendants continue to use "gay panic" or "trans panic" defenses, and often avoid more serious charges in such killings.
Still, transgender advocates hope the Araujo verdicts mean that Americans are much less likely to believe that people who defy traditional gender definitions were asking for brutal retribution.
"It has been such a long time up to now before juries got around to the point of believing that it actually wasn't OK to do this to people," said Clarence Patton of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a coalition of gay, transgender and other groups. "People are not buying the concept of 'gay panic' or 'trans panic."
A gay, or trans panic defense is that a defendant killed or hurt someone of the same sex in a rage after they had sex or thought they were on the receiving end of a sexual overture.
While Araujo jurors apparently weren't convinced of that, at least for two of the three men charged with killing Gwen, other decisions have gone differently.
In Central California, a Fresno man recently pleaded guilty to manslaughter and got the minimum sentence, four years, after claiming he panicked when he discovered the woman he'd brought home was biologically male. He had stabbed the victim 20 times. (story)
And in Kentucky, a man charged with murdering a gay man and stuffing his body into a suitcase was convicted of a lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter earlier this year after arguing that he'd defended himself against an unwanted sexual advance from the victim. (story)
Probably the best-known panic defense was evoked in the 1998 murder of Shepard, who was tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyo., pistol-whipped, robbed and left for dead in the cold, dying five days later of massive head injuries. Defense attorneys claimed one of the two men charged in the case flew into a rage after Shepard made a pass at him.
The judge disallowed the defense and the men received multiple life sentences.
Panic wasn't raised in the case of Teena, a 21-year-old Nebraskan who was born a woman but identified as a man. Prosecutors said he was killed in 1993, along with two witnesses, after reporting being raped by two men who had discovered his biological identity. A 2001 court opinion found that the sheriff at the time callously referred to Teena as "it" after he reported the rape and didn't immediately arrest the suspects.
One of the men was sentenced to death; the other, who testified for the prosecution, got life in prison. (story)
The Araujo verdicts weren't a sweeping statement. Jurors decided against first-degree murder for Michael Magidson and Jose Merel, convicting them of second-degree instead, and hung 9-3 on second-degree murder for the third defendant, Jason Cazares. They also didn't agree with prosecutors this was a hate crime. (story)
Araujo was born a boy named Edward but grew up to believe her true identity was female. She met the defendants, all 25, in late summer 2002 and they became friends. Magidson and Merel had sexual encounters with Araujo on separate occasions and grew suspicious of her gender after comparing notes, according to a fourth member of the group, 22-year-old Jaron Nabors, who was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for testifying.
There was a confrontation at Merel's house in the San Francisco suburb of Newark. Araujo's underwear was roughly pushed aside; the secret was out.
Magidson had sought a manslaughter conviction, admitting that he beat and tied up Araujo but saying he couldn't remember strangling her. Merel's attorney asked for no more than felony assault, saying his client slapped Araujo and hit her in the head with a pan, but didn't kill her. Cazares sought acquittal, saying he was outside when the killing took place and only helped bury the body.
A first trial ended in a mistrial, when jurors were unable to reach agreement on whether to find the men guilty of first or second degree murder. (story)
In the second trial, Magidson and Merel were found guilty of second degree murder, but the jury could not reach a verdict for Cazares. (story)
Although they took different strategies, none of the three lawyers allowed that there was premeditation in the case, calling it manslaughter, a crime committed in a heat of passion provoked by sexual deception.
Magidson's attorney, Michael Thorman, said after the verdict that he hadn't been claiming a panic defense. He defined that approach as justifying violence in response to a mere sexual overture from someone of the same sex. In this case, he said, actual sex was involved, leading to "a surge of rage and violence" fueled by emotions, deception and alcohol.
But others disagreed.
"What the panic was caused by was their reaction to someone not falling into one gender or the other as neatly as they had in their heads," said Brad Sears, director of the Williams Project, a UCLA think tank dealing with sexual orientation law and public policy.
He believes courts should reexamine manslaughter arguments in such cases.
"We really need to question if our state, our society still wants to say it's justified to act with a murderous rage when things happen, like you find out someone's of a different gender or is gay or your girlfriend is sleeping with somebody else," Sears said.
Since Araujo was killed, four other transgender people have been killed in the San Francisco Bay area - all unsolved slayings.
After the verdict, Araujo's mother, Sylvia Guerrero, who has taken on an active role speaking out for other transgender victims, said she was satisfied with the verdicts against Magidson and Merel.
"Nothing is going to bring Gwen back," she said. "But this is at least a step toward closure and healing for my family."
"This is not a vengeful community," said Patton. "We just want some acknowledgment and justice served. That is all that we've ever really asked for."
2005年 09月 17日 土曜日 18:01 JST
［国連 １６日 ロイター］ 国連総会特別首脳会合は１６日、貧困とテロリズムの根絶、安全保障や人権保護などをめぐる協議に限られた進展しか見られないまま、国連改革の道筋を示した「成果文書」を全会一致で採択し、閉幕した。
2005年09月17日11時19分 - 朝日
Most US teens have had oral sex: survey
Thu Sep 15, 2005 05:06 PM ET
By Anthony J. Brown, MD
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The findings from a new survey indicate that 54 percent of teenage girls and 55 percent of teenage boys have had oral sex, according to a report released Thursday by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
The report also shows that oral sex is now more common among teens than sexual intercourse. In fact, about one in four teens who have not had sexual intercourse have experienced oral sex.
"This is a topic that has been covered a lot in the press over the last 3 or 4 years," Bill Albert, communication director for the National Campaign, told Reuters Health. "But past reports were based on anecdote rather than fact. For the first time, we have some data that helps shed light on this subject."
The findings are based on analysis of data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, which was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Albert said that roughly 10,000 adolescents were included in the survey.
Other highlights from the study include:
-- The likelihood of having had oral sex increased with age. For example, 42 percent of girls between 15 and 17 years of age reported having oral sex compared with 72 percent of 18- to 19-year-old girls.
-- Among boys who have had sexual intercourse, the percentage that engaged in oral sex rose between 1995 and 2002. By contrast, oral sex rates did not increase significantly among boys who had not had sexual intercourse.
-- Among teens who have experienced sexual intercourse, at least 80 percent have also engaged in oral sex.
-- Among teens who have not had sexual intercourse, the percent who have had oral sex varies according to the reason for not having sexual intercourse. The lowest rates of oral sex -- around 19 percent -- were for teens who cited religious or moral reasons for not having sexual intercourse. The highest rates -- around 38 percent -- were for teens who reported the time was not right for sexual intercourse.
"For parents, I think these data show that conversations about sex need to be both broader and more specific," Albert said. "For healthcare providers, the implication is that we have to do a better job in getting messages to teens about the potential health risks of oral sex."
米最高裁長官指名のロバーツ氏、公聴会乗り切り承認か (読売 2005/09/16)
The New York Times
The Normality of Gay Marriages
Published: September 17, 2005
There's nothing like a touch of real-world experience to inject some reason into the inflammatory national debate over gay marriages. Take Massachusetts, where the state's highest court held in late 2003 that under the State Constitution, same-sex couples have a right to marry. The State Legislature moved to undo that decision last year by approving a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages and create civil unions as an alternative. But this year, when precisely the same measure came up for a required second vote, it was defeated by a thumping margin of 157 to 39.
The main reason for the flip-flop is that some 6,600 same-sex couples have married over the past year with nary a sign of adverse effects. The sanctity of heterosexual marriages has not been destroyed. Public morals have not gone into a tailspin. Legislators who supported gay marriage in last year's vote have been re-elected. Gay couples, many of whom had been living together monogamously for years, have rejoiced at official recognition of their commitment.
As a Republican leader explained in justifying his vote switch: "Gay marriage has begun, and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry who could not before." A Democrat attributed his change of heart to the beneficial effects he saw "when I looked in the eyes of the children living with these couples." Gay marriage, it turned out, is good for family values.
Some legislators who strongly oppose gay marriages also switched their votes this year for tactical reasons. They realized that the original measure was headed for defeat, and they had never really liked the part that created civil unions anyway. They are now pinning their hopes on an even harsher proposal, endorsed by Gov. Mitt Romney, that would ban gay marriages without allowing civil unions.
We can only hope that this new appeal to fear and bigotry will stumble over the reality, already apparent, that gay marriage is no threat to the larger community. States that rushed to ban same-sex marriages after the Massachusetts court ruling were succumbing to misplaced hysteria.
Gay marriage: Votes vs. edicts
Published September 16, 2005
The Massachusetts legislature voted this week to reject a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a development that, curiously, was greeted enthusiastically by both sides of the intensely emotional issue.
This may signal that Massachusetts is getting comfortable with the idea of gay marriage. Last year, the legislature voted overwhelmingly to support a proposed amendment to ban gay marriage. This year, it overwhelmingly rejected the amendment, which legislators had to approve in two consecutive sessions before it could go before the state's voters in 2006.
Almost all freshmen lawmakers voted against the ban, and some conservatives shifted. "I do think that a lot of people have been thinking over the last year," Senate GOP leader Brian Lees said in The Boston Globe. Lees, once a sponsor of the amendment, no longer supports it.
The important thing is, lawmakers voted. They represented the people of Massachusetts in a declaration of the will of those people.
Though supporters of gay marriage cheered when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that a ban was illegal and cheered again when the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 2003 ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages, it was almost inevitable that those adventurous court rulings would create a political backlash. Many people didn't like having courts determine the definition of marriage, something that should be decided through the political process.
We're seeing the political process assert itself, as it should on this issue. Massachusetts citizens may well be deciding that they are fine with the state's recognizing marriage between same-sex couples. That's not a given. Some lawmakers voted this week against the amendment because, while it would have prohibited same-sex marriage, it would have recognized same-sex civil unions. They plan to push for an amendment that would ban gay marriage without establishing civil unions.
That effort, which could go to Massachusetts voters in 2008, has the support of Gov. Mitt Romney, who is a possible GOP candidate for president. By all signs, though, the political momentum in Massachusetts is toward the acceptance of gay marriage there.
That is not the case elsewhere. Last November, voters in 11 states approved constitutional amendments declaring that their laws will recognize only marriages between a man and a woman. Other states have adopted similar amendments. At the same time, movement on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage has stalled in Congress.
The view here has been that Congress should reject such an amendment and leave this decision to the people of the various states. As a political matter, it would be wiser to press for public support of civil unions, which confer the legal rights and protections of marriage but don't run into the thorny debate about whether the very definition of marriage should be changed. Political support and government recognition of civil unions are much further along in many places than is backing for gay marriage.
Supporters of gay marriage need to build public acceptance community by community, state by state. That won't be accomplished by court edict. It may, however, be accomplished by dogged work in the legislatures, and Massachusetts may wind up leading by example.
San Francisco Chronicle
Governor -- please sign here
Friday, September 16, 2005
GOV. ARNOLD Schwarzenegger kept his promise to promote healthier eating in schools by signing three bills Thursday. He said the measures amounted to "the most progressive school nutrition reforms in the nation."
His leadership clearly helped advance SB965, which would ban the sale of sugar-filled sodas in high schools, through the Legislature. The ban had previously applied only to grades K-8. His signature on the bill, authored by Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Whittier, ends years of fierce battle. Shamefully, self-interested opposition to such restrictions came not only from the soft-drink industry, but also many school administrators who had struck exclusive deals with Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
Schwarzenegger also signed Escutia's SB12 to establish much-needed nutrition standards for foods sold at schools and SB281 by Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-San Luis Obispo, to promote the use of more fresh fruits and vegetables in school-meal programs.
Regrettably, the governor took the easy political route in recently announcing his intent to veto two bills that could have made a big difference in the lives of many Californians: AB849, to legalize same-sex marriage and SB60, to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.
Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who authored AB849, noted that Schwarzenegger's stated objection to AB849 is his belief that it defies the voter-approved Proposition 22, which limits the definition of marriage to a man and a woman. With Prop. 22 being fought in court -- and the most recent ruling, by a San Francisco judge, that it was unconstitutional -- Leno suggested that Schwarzenegger should allow AB849 to become law without his signature.
"He knows (AB849) would immediately draw a legal challenge," Leno said. "If he thinks it belongs in the court, this option will get it there."
Our preference, though, would be for Schwarzenegger to take a long look at AB849 -- and the matters of equity it addresses -- and sign it.
Schwarzenegger's anticipated veto of the driver's-license bill is especially disturbing because its author, Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, made a major concession to accommodate one of the governor's key demands -- amending the bill to stipulate that undocumented workers would be issued a license with a distinct and readily identifiable design.
Here are some of the other bills on Schwarzenegger's desk that merit his signature:
-- AB772 by Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, D-Alameda, would create a program (modeled after several successful ones at the county level, including San Francisco and Santa Clara County) to extend health care to most low-income California children.
-- SB600 by Sens. Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento, and Don Perata, D-Oakland, to establish a statewide "biomonitoring" program to track the presence of lead, mercury, pesticides and other chemical contaminants in the human body.
-- AB698 by Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Riverside, and SB239 by Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, are virtually identical bills to restore media access to prison inmates. Reporters would again be allowed to schedule interviews with inmates and to bring pens, notebooks and broadcast equipment with them.
-- AB22 by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-San Jose, in concert with San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, would crack down on the growing crime of human trafficking with a comprehensive package of tough penalties for culprits and social services for victims -- with provisions for asset forfeiture and restitution.
-- SB37 by Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, would establish a list of banned supplements for high-school sports and prohibit the manufacturers of performance-enhancing drugs from sponsoring school events.
-- AB1179 by Assemblyman Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, would restrict the sale and rental of ultra-violent video games to minors.
-- SB576 (Ortiz) would require health insurers to provide coverage for smoking cessation, a mandate that would not only advance public health, but should benefit businesses through increases in productivity and lower medical costs.
Let the governor know your views on these bills. His e-mail address is email@example.com. Or you can send postal mail to him at the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Page B - 10
Schwarzenegger aides to meet with gay leaders
Same-sex marriage bill isn't on agenda, spokeswoman says
- Wyatt Buchanan, SF Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, September 16, 2005
Top aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have agreed to meet with leaders of gay and lesbian rights groups next Wednesday, two days before the same-sex marriage bill the Legislature passed this month is due to arrive on his desk.
The 90-minute meeting is not a sign that Schwarzenegger is considering changing his mind about vetoing the bill, said Margita Thompson, his spokeswoman.
In fact, the marriage bill will not be a topic of conversation between gay leaders and the governor's acting chief of staff and other top aides, she said.
"This is an outreach meeting that happens within the normal course of business, and I understand there is heightened media interest," Thompson said. "The legislation is specifically not going to be discussed."
Schwarzenegger has said he believes the issue of same-sex marriage should be decided by the courts, not the Legislature. A separate challenge to Proposition 22, the initiative voters approved in 2002 that limited marriage to heterosexual couples, is making its way to the California Supreme Court.
But gay leaders said they would continue pressing the governor on the issue until he actually vetoes the bill -- and they plan to bring it up during the meeting.
"There are real people he's going to harm with the veto pen," said Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California, the LGBT rights organization behind the marriage bill. "Instead, he could be a shining example of a strong leader and someone who is going to stand for equality."
If the governor believes the issue should be left to the courts, Kors said, he should sign the bill and let it face an inevitable court challenge.
Kors' organization has been holding town hall meetings across California on the issue and started a campaign Monday highlighting different segments of the population that would be affected by the bill. More than 20,000 people have signed an online petition asking the governor to approve the bill, and 50,000 have sent e-mails to his office the first two days of the campaign, Kors said.
If the legislation is brought up, Thompson said, "it will be cordially listened to, but it won't have any impact on the decision."
E-mail Wyatt Buchanan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page B - 3
［週末映画館］メゾン・ド・ヒミコ 日常の機微見据え、生を凝縮 (読売・多摩版 2005/09/16朝刊)
映画で活躍、オダギリジョー 「メゾン・ド・ヒミコ」、「ＳＨＩＮＯＢＩ」公開 (読売・大阪版 2005/09/09)
シュワ知事、再選出馬の意向表明 (読売 2005/09/17)
シュワ知事、再選出馬表明 (産経 2005/09/18)
シュワ知事が再選出馬表明 人気低迷に歯止め狙う (共同 2005/09/17)
シュワ知事、再選出馬を表明＝支持率は低迷－米加州 (時事 2005/09/17)
San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News
Los Angeles Times
San Diego Union Tribune
Trans, gay evacuees face harassment as waters recede
Gay groups raise thousands for Katrina relief effort
By ANDREW KEEGAN
Friday, September 16, 2005 - Washington Blade
As Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters slowly recede in New Orleans, cases of discrimination against gay and transgendered survivors are beginning to surface.
Gay organizations stepped in to help last week after a transsexual evacuee spent five days in jail for using a women’s shower at a Texas shelter and a gay man suffered vandalism of his personal belongings at a shelter in Shreveport, La.
The majority of people experiencing discrimination from relief agencies are transgendered, according to Ann Robison, executive director of the Montrose Counseling Center in Houston.
The non-profit agency, which provides services to those dealing with sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV issues, now offers twice-weekly support groups for the many gay and transgendered hurricane victims relocated to the area.
“While they are isolated cases, when it does happen it’s bad,” Robison said. “We plan to talk with the Red Cross when this settles down. We have reports of transgender individuals not being allowed to take donated female clothes. That’s ridiculous.”
New Orleans evacuee Sharli’e Dominique, a preoperative transsexual, was arrested Sept. 4 by police at Texas A&M University in College Station after using the women’s shower at Reed Arena, a temporary relief shelter for storm victims.
Dominique, 20, said her 16-year-old cousin, also a preoperative transsexual, was detained for using the women’s shower but eventually released to the care of an older sister who was staying at the shelter.
Dominique, a middle school substitute teacher who is undergoing hormone treatment, arrived at the shelter Sept. 3. It wasn’t until the third shower that a problem arose, she said.
“I asked the volunteer posted at the shower if I could use it,” Dominique said. “She said, ‘sure.’”
When campus security arrived to arrest Dominique for criminal trespass, she said she thought it was a joke, until police handcuffed and booked her.
“They didn’t tell me anything in jail except that the court system was backed up for six months to a year and I should expect to be there that long,” Dominique said.
Texas A&M police, who booked Dominique under her legal name of Arpollo Dominique, did not respond to interview requests.
John Van Alstyne, corps of cadets commander for Texas A&M, was in charge of the shelter and declined to comment on the arrest.
“All decisions were mine and I have no comment,” he stated via e-mail.
Dominique’ story became public only by chance. A reporter for the College Station Eagle stumbled upon her arrest record while looking for another case, according to Dominique.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group, and Mara Keisling, president of the National Center for Transgender Equality, then contacted the university demanding charges against Dominique be dropped.
“We were made aware of the situation on [Sept. 8], after business hours,” said David Smith, HRC’s vice president of policy. “I contacted the detention center that evening and got nowhere after speaking with an extremely homophobic sergeant.”
Texas A&M Vice-Provost Bill Perry contacted Smith on Sept. 9 indicating all charges against Dominique were being dropped.
The Montrose Counseling Center relocated and arranged housing for Dominique and her relatives, Smith said.
Gay man harassed
A gay man housed at the Louisiana State University Shreveport relief shelter experienced harassment from other evacuees, according to Ken Beatty, director of the Philadelphia Center, Shreveport’s AIDS service agency.
Beatty said he received a call from a nurse working at the shelter expressing concern for the man’s safety. The nurse indicated that everything the man brought to the shelter had been covered in shaving cream.
“The housing stock is almost gone in our area,” Beatty said. “I, personally, along with a few friends, am helping the gay person in the shelter return to New York.”
Officials at the LSUS shelter did not respond to phone calls for comment.
Anticipating further cases of discrimination, the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund posted a toll-free number, 1-866-542-8336, for gay men and lesbians affected by Katrina to report problems.
The gay legal group offers legal assistance for evacuees denied relief services based on sexual orientation; denied access to HIV medication; asked to provide documents to prove a relationship; or denied the right to handle the affairs of a deceased loved one.
The agency has not received any complaints from gay evacuees to date, according to the group’s national headquarters in New York.
Rumors circulating on the Internet about relief agencies refusing to assist gay men and lesbians asking for assistance in locating their domestic partners could not be confirmed.
Calls to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Louisiana Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness were not returned.
In addition to helping individual hurricane victims, national and local gay groups have joined in the deluge of relief funds created to aid those hurt by the disaster.
But the gay-specific funds take two decidedly different tacks when determining how to distribute what they raise: Some, like the Rainbow World Fund, forward the money to general relief agencies, while others plan to give their funds directly to gay groups.
The Rainbow World Fund, a gay humanitarian agency, has raised more than $250,000 to feed evacuees, according to Jeff Cotter, the group’s director.
Rainbow World Fund then gives the money to America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s largest food bank network, to provide food to the survivors of Katrina.
By giving through the Rainbow group, instead of directly to America’s Second Harvest, gay donors show a positive face to the general public, Cotter said.
“It’s important our efforts are public and people see we contribute positively to the world, regardless of sexual orientation,” he said.
Last week Rainbow World Fund faced criticism from Equality Mississippi, a gay rights group, which expressed concern money raised would not go toward local recovery efforts.
At press time, Equality Mississippi had received about $2,000 in donations, according to its director, Jody Renaldo.
“Most people are informing us they have already given to another agency,” Renaldo said. “We’ve paid for a lot of supplies — from drink and food to clothing and bedding.”
The Montrose Counseling Center has received about $3,000 in donations, according to Robison. Two additional organizations, Pride Houston, which raised $29,000, and the National Youth Advocacy Coalition are also collecting donations for the center, she said.
Coors Brewing Company and Steamworks, a national chain of bathhouses, each donated $10,000, Robison said. Donations are being used to provide housing, clothing and food vouchers for around 50 people, she said.
“We anticipate this being long-term assistance, which is why we encourage all evacuees to get their fare share from FEMA and the Red Cross, and we’ll fill in the rest,” she said.
Robison said whether to give to a local agency or a national charity comes down to the individual preference of each gay donor.
“I’m certainly not going to tell people how to give,” she said. “What I will say is that we do business in the community and give our money to the community. Personally, I see it as a way to promote unity and pride in our community.”
The Hurricane Katrina LGBT Relief Fund, promoted by a coalition of national gay rights groups, generated approximately $50,000 as of Sept. 13, according to Craig Bowman, executive director of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition,
The funds have not been distributed, Bowman said.
“We want this money to be targeted to the people who need it,” he said. “We are waiting for the federal response to die down so we can see exactly what people need.”
Cold water poured on trans Katrina refugee
After five homeless days from Hurricane Katrina, all trans New Orleans evacuee Sharli’e Dominique wanted was a shower. It landed her in jail for another five days. Friday, September 16, 2005 - Washington Blade
AFTER FIVE HARROWING days stuck on an Interstate 10 bridge and then at the completely lawless New Orleans Convention Center, with precious little food or water, all Sharli’e Dominique wanted was a shower.
But less than 24 hours after Dominque arrived at Texas A & M University in College Station, where she was housed at the campus’ Reed Arena with other evacuees fleeing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Dominique found herself in jail.
Simply for taking a shower.
THOUGH SHARLI’E DOMINIQUE lives her life as a woman, she was born male, as Arpollo Vicks.
As a pre-operative male-to-female transgendered person, Dominque appears female in the only clothes she escaped New Orleans with: a tight white shirt with the word “sexy” on it in silver glitter, a pair of jeans and flip flops.
But in the shower, it was clear Dominique was born male. The commander who runs the shelter at Texas A&M, John Van Alstyne, says he received a complaint from another shelter resident about Dominique using the women’s rest room. He warned her not to use it again.
But Dominique says she felt unsafe using the men’s rest room, particularly to take a shower. So, she says, she asked and got permission from a shelter volunteer to take a shower in the women’s rest room.
After she came out of the women’s facility, Dominique was arrested for criminal trespassing. Having endured the life-threatening perils of Hurricane Katrina, the 20-year-old African American, who hopes to someday be a journalist, thought being bused to Texas A&M was going to be a lifesaver.
She could have never guessed she would land in a county jail for five days for wanting to get clean.
DOMINIQUE’S CASE IS one of the more dramatic illustrations of how already potent discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens adds an extra layer of burden to those of us who are also victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Unfortunately, GLBT people are likely to face more hurdles, not fewer, as they struggle to get their lives back to some semblance of normal.
One of the big challenges is for people with HIV and AIDS, who have been stranded without their medicines or access to doctors. An estimated 8,000 people with HIV were left homeless after Katrina ripped through the Gulf States.
Many of those people are at temporary shelters, and fled without their medications. Others were trapped for days without electricity. Many of the HIV medicines require refrigeration.
Some patients now do not have access to their doctors, or to refilling prescriptions. Others may fear disclosing their HIV status to the shelters where they are staying, mindful of the prejudices that persist against the HIV-positive.
When a heterosexual person loses a spouse to Katrina, he or she would be entitled to surviving spouse Social Security benefits. Since the federal government does not recognize gay unions, surviving partners in a gay or lesbian relationship will not receive any such help to get their lives back in order.
Lawyers from Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, a national gay rights group based in New York City, have already expressed concern that the Federal Emergency Management Agency — which is bound by federal rules and regulations, including not recognizing gay relationships — excludes gay partners from family benefits offered to married couples.
But beyond the monetary benefits, some of the most simple, basic dignities remain in question: Will same-sex partners be housed together? Will separated partners get help to find each other, as other separated families do? Will people with injured partners be allowed to accompany them to hospitals and make important medical decisions with them, or for them, if needed?
Some of those questions are legal ones, and that does not fare well for gays in the states hardest hit by the hurricane: Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. None of these states are exactly known for their groundbreaking gay rights laws. Neither is Texas, where many of the refugees have been evacuated.
But at least in the short term, the legal issues take a back seat to the more basic and immediate questions of how gay and trans people will be treated by their fellow refugees, and by the people on the front lines who are supposed to be helping them.
MAYBE SHARLI’E DOMINQUE’S CASE offers a glimmer of hope.
While it is almost unfathomable that Dominique was forced to spend five days in jail for taking a shower, particularly given the circumstances she endured before arriving at the university shelter, the good news is that the county attorney who reviewed her case refused to press charges on the “criminal trespassing” charge.
Brazos County Attorney Jim Kuboviak became aware of Dominique’s case after she received local media attention. After reviewing her file, Kuboviak ordered Dominique to be released from jail. She “lacked criminal intent to violate the law,” he said in published reports.
After Dominque was released from jail, Claudette Peterson, a former director of an HIV clinic in College Station, took Dominique into her home so she wouldn’t have to face the dilemma of whether to use the men’s shower or the women’s shower at the shelter.
Peterson also connected Dominique with the Montrose Counseling Center, a Houston organization providing housing and support for GLBT evacuees of the hurricane. The Center’s executive director said once word of Dominique’s plight hit the news, offers to help her had been pouring into the Center from around the country.
Perhaps most importantly, the publicity from her case helped Dominique find her mother and other family members. Dominique had become separated from her family during the hurricane, and hadn’t known where they were or even if they had survived. Luckily, Dominique’s mother and family had been evacuated to the George Brown Convention Center in Houston.
Perhaps most amazingly, Dominique has come through this trying ordeal with her spirit in tact.
“I’m not angry,” she told the Eagle, the university’s student newspaper. “It’s good to finally get a little support. Maybe this will make people more aware of transgendered and transsexual people.”
Mubarak Dahir is editor of the Express Gay News, a publication affiliated with this paper, and can be reached at email@example.com.