August '97 GenderNews

CONTACT: Riki Anne Wilchins, (212) 645-1753,
Online Editor: Clare Howell,

Men Convicted in Gay/Trans Murder

Member of NYC SM Community Found Murdered

Congressman Calls Trans-Employee Immoral

Trans-Protection Unanimous in Illinois

Activists Rally for Transexual Prisoner

Turkish Trans-rights Activist Assaulted, Re-Arrested After Receiving US Award

New Group on Capitol Hill


(Fayetteville, AR: 12 Jul 97) TWO MEN HAVE BEEN CONVICTED for murdering Alan Walker and sentenced to life in prison.

Walker, dressed as a woman, picked up Yitzak Marta and Adam Blackford outside a gay nightclub last November and took them home with him. The men beat and strangled Walker to death after Walker revealed to them that he was a man.

Judge William Storey declared, "This is nothing more than a hate crime. This person was killed because he was gay."

The Associated Press reports that Walker's body was discovered three days after the murder when neighbors became suspicious because of his absence and slashed tires on his vehicle. "KKK" in large letters was scrawled in blood on a closet door of the black man's home.


(New York, NY: 25 July 97) NADIA FREY, who also worked as a dominant under the name of "Mistress Hilda," was found murdered in her New York City apartment over the weekend.

As in other trans and gay murders, the police and media immediately began speculating that her lifestyle was the cause. Both TV and print media lead with gaudy stories which effectively blame her for her own murder, and highlighted alternative sexual practice as "deviant" and "bizarre." The Daily News headlined its coverage "Whipper Gets Whacked" while the New York Post's lead began, "Her business was violence."

In response, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom immediately sent letters to each of the media outlets, complaining about their biased coverage.

Said Executive Director Susan Wright, "Your coverage of the murder of Nadia Frey was both trivializing and derogatory toward those involved in alternative sexual practice. By blaming the victim and holding her up as an object of mockery, you make likely that such murders will happen again [and] less likely that police and courts will vigorously prosecute these types of crimes. Your coverage of alternative sexuality [contributes] to the perception that we are disposable people."


(Ocala, FL: 26 July 97) CLIFF STEARNS (R-FL) IS ASKING state officials to set dress standards for government work places after a transexual woman, Sabrina Robb, began transitioning on the job.

Formerly Dale Robb, Sabrina began wearing dresses to work after gradually feminizing her appearance in her workplace over several months. Some employees in Ms. Robb's office complained that her attire distracted and offended them.

Said Rep. Stearns, "It sends the wrong signals to our children and people in this county... I think the public would have a high level of discomfort with his work activities... It's antithetical to our morals in Ocala."

The following day, representatives from GenderPAC, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, and TOPS called on Rep. Stearns' office yesterday, spending an hour discussing the case and explaining that Sabrina is following a medically prescribed program of cross-living preparatory to surgery.

They also highlighted GenderPAC's recent national survey on violence against transpeople--which found that 60% of respondents had been assaulted because of being transgendered--pointing out that stigmatizing Ms. Robb as a moral deviant dramatically increases the likelihood of her being the subject of some kind of assault.

Robb's supervisor, Dotti Pohleven, said Robb's change of dress has not affected her work. "He's [sic] an excellent employee and a great asset... He's very dependable. He's thorough."


(Evanston, IL: 29 July 97) LAST NIGHT THE Evanston City Council became the first city in Illinois to extend human rights protection to transgendered residents.

The Council voted unanimously in favor of Ordinance 61-O-97, which adds transgendered individuals as a protected class to their Human Rights Ordinance.

The vote was the result of extensive lobbying by representatives of It's Time, Illinois! (ITI), a transgendered political advocacy organization. The effort was spearheaded by Miranda Stevens, vice-chair of ITI, and began with a series of meetings with Paula Haynes, Director of the Human Relations Commission.

ITI's strategy was the same used to pass trans-protection in Minnesota state, which re-defines "sexual orientation" to include both affectional relationships and gender identity. That strategy was eventually unanimously adopted by the Commission, and then introduced into the Evanston City Council.

At the July 28 meeting, Ms. Stevens spoke in support of the measure, explaining, "For most of you, this is the first time you've encountered a transgendered person, outside of stereotypical caricatures on television or movies. We hope that by the end of the evening, we would have put a more human face on our community."


(Walla Walla, WA: 14 July 97) LOCAL TRANSGENDER ACTIVISTS GATHERED at the County Superior Courthouse here to protest alleged abuse of transgender prisoners in the Washington state prison system. The case that sparked the protest was the sexual assault of transexual woman Crystal Schwenk by a corrections officer. Protesters expressed outrage that the guard who committed the alleged assault of Ms. Schwenk has not been disciplined.

Protesters also highlighted accusations of medical neglect, a common form of abuse. Diana Courvant of It's Time, Oregon! stated, "Prison officials will often discontinue a transexual's hormone treatment, even though it has been prescribed by a doctor and even though it can be life-threatening to discontinue it." Public response to the protesters was largely positive.


(Istanbul, Turkey: 22 July 97) DEMET DEMIR, THE TURKISH TRANSEXUAL and human rights advocate, returned home to Turkey from the U.S. after receiving an award from the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) for her human rights work, was re-arrested within hours when she intervened to stop a police from beating a young girl.

The girl was selling handkerchiefs made in a workshop designed to help transgender people earn their livelihoods outside of prostitution, into which many Turkish transexual are driven.

"When I tried to save the girl from them," said Ms. Demir, "they started to hit me and I was bruised on several parts of my body." She was taken to the police station and charged with insulting the police.

Ms. Demir has endured more than fifteen years of harassment, violence, and time in prison because of her activism to gain basic rights for gay, lesbian, and transgender people.

Despite the obstacles she faces, Ms. Demir stated, "I will keep on struggling for every right. Yesterday I started as a child and I am going on as a mother today. And tomorrow I will go on as a grandmother. I do not care if they kill me or put me in prison again."


[Washington, DC : 24 July 97] REPRESENTATIVES OF the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) made the rounds of Capitol Hill today and met informally with a number of congressional office and progressive organizations, taking the first steps towards building a national consensus that violence and discrimination against those involved in alternative sexual or affectional practice must stop. The mission of the newly-formed NCSF is to combat violence and discrimination due to "sexual orientation, identity, or desire."

Declared NCSF founder Susan Wright, "People involved in alternative practice have been stigmatized for too long. The bottom line is, we are people who lose our jobs, our children, and sometimes our lives because of sexual or affectional preference. All we are seeking is equal rights."

To document bias-related crimes, NCSF has announced a series of community- based research projects, beginning with a "National Survey on Sexual & Affectional Violence" this fall.

(c) 1997 InYourFace, an on-line, news-only service for gender activism.
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For prior press releases, check the GenderPAC web site at http://WWW.Gpac.Org

Previous Issues of IYF News Roundup:
Mid-June '97
June '97
May '97
April '97
March '97

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