Marcal Camero Tye, 25, was a friendly, outgoing young woman who got along well with most people in the small town of Forrest City, Ark., where she lived — despite the fact that she was openly transgender in such a conservative atmosphere.
But sometime after leaving a party at a friend’s house on the evening of March 7, somebody murdered Marcal Tye.
Investigators say that Tye, whose body was found early in the morning of March 8 on a rural road outside Forrest City, was shot in the head and then run over by a car, her body apparently getting caught in the vehicle’s undercarriage and dragged for some distance.
St. Frances County Sheriff Bobby May has insisted that the killing was just “a regular murder” and not a hate crime. But those who knew Tye and LGBT activists who have been following the crime believe Tye was killed because she was transgender.
Marcal Tye is just one of the 22 trans people murdered over the last 12 months who will be remembered by name during Transgender Day of Remembrance services on Sunday at the Interfaith Peace Chapel in Dallas. And she is just one of 221 trans people murdered worldwide in the last year, according to the Trans Murder Monitoring Project.
Transgender Day of Remembrance began in November 1999 when trans activists and their allies gathered in San Francisco for a candlelight vigil to remember Rita Hester, a trans woman who had been stabbed to death a year earlier in her apartment in Allston, Mass., just outside of Boston.
Her murder has never been solved.
“There had been a candlelight vigil the year before in December, right after she was killed, there in Boston. But a year later, people felt the need to do something to bring attention to her murder and to the murders of other trans people,” explained Erin Roberts, one of the organizers of this year’s TDOR service.
“Just six weeks before Rita Hester was murdered, Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming, and that made headlines around the world. Everybody was talking about his murder, talking about doing something about hate crimes. But when Rita Hester was killed, very few people paid any attention. It seemed like nobody really paid attention when a trans person was murdered,” Robert said.
“And it’s not that we have any problem with all the publicity around Matthew Shepard’s murder. It was a horrible thing, and it deserved that attention,” Roberts continued. “But there was just such a stark contrast in the way the two murders were treated, especially in the press. People wanted to do something to bring attention to the fact that trans people are murdered every day in horrible, brutal ways.”
Also on the list of those killed in the past 12 months are six trans women who were killed in a 60-day period in the Honduras, beginning last November. The most recent additions to the list of 22 are 19-year-old Shelley Hilliard, who was killed then decapitated, dismembered and burned on Oct. 23 in Detroit; and Jessica Rollon, 32, who was strangled to death in Bergamo, Italy on Oct. 30.
Roberts pointed out that when transgender people are killed, the murders are often characterized by extreme violence and “overkill.” They aren’t just shot, they are shot and beaten. They aren’t just stabbed, they are stabbed over and over and over.
“And as long as trans people continue to be dehumanized, it will continue to happen,” Roberts said. “We are real people, with real emotions. We feel love and pain and joy and sorrow, just like anyone else. But people don’t see us that way. They see us as ‘other,’ and something besides regular human beings.”
Roberts said this week that “one of the last things I did as a boy” was to attend TDOR services last year in Dallas. And after transitioning earlier this year, she said, she got involved in helping organize this year’s service. And she will do it again next year, too.
“As long as we continue to be killed and brutalized, we will continue to have Transgender Day of Remembrance events,” Roberts said. “Because everyone deserves to be mourned.”
TDOR services in Dallas will be held Sunday, Nov. 20, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. The evening will include a performance by the singing group Mosaic and speeches by Rafael McDonnell with Resource Center Dallas, Roberts, Oliver Blumer and Rosemarie Odom.
The names of the 20 victims will be read aloud, and flowers will be placed on the podium in memory of each one. There will also be a candlelight vigil.
Blumer and Nell Gaither were co-organizers of the event with Roberts.
Fort Worth TDOR
Agape Metropolitan Community Church of Fort Worth and Trinity Metropolitan Community Church of Arlington are joining forces to hold an interfaith gathering for TDOR on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. at Agape MCC, 4615 E. California Parkway in southeast Fort Worth.
The Rev. Stephen V. Sprinkle from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University will speak on the topic “Unfinished Lessons,” explaining “five lessons that LGBTQ hate crimes murder victims have to teach us, if we will only learn them.”
Tori Van Fleet, a forensics expert with the Fort Worth Police Department who came out as a trans women when she joined the fight to get the city of Fort Worth to add protections for trans people to its nondiscrimination ordinance, will also speak during the service.
Van Fleet said this week, “I am looking forward to the day when the TDOR bells are silent due to there not being any more violence against my transgender brothers and sisters. Until then, we will continue to bring attention to the violence we face due to bigotry, hate, fear and even misinformation, simply for being ourselves and trying to live our lives as best we can.”
Several Brite Divinity student clergy have also been active in planning and will participate in the service through music, media and readings.
REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS
The 20 trans people who will be remembered by name during Transgender Day of Remembrance services Sunday in Dallas are:
• Idania Roberta Sevilla Raudales, 58, Comayagüela City, Honduras; died Nov. 29, 2010; had her throat slit.
• Luisa Alvarado Hernández, 23,Comayagüela City, Honduras; died Dec. 22, 2010; was stoned, beaten and burned.
• Lady Óscar Martínez Salgado, 43, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; died Dec. 22, 2010; was burned and stabbed.
• Reana ‘Cheo’ Bustamente, age unknown, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; died Dec. Jan. 2, 2011; was stabbed multiple times in the chest.
• Génesis Briget Makaligton, mid-20s, Comayagüela City, Honduras; died Jan. 7, 2011; was strangled to death.
• Krissy Bates, 45, Minneapolis, Minn.; died Jan. 10, 2011; was stabbed multiple times.
• Fergie Alice Ferg, age unknown, San Pedro Sula, Honduras; died Jan. 18, 2011; was shot multiple times in the head and chest.
• Tyra Trent, 25, Baltimore, Md.; died Feb. 19, 2011; was strangled to death.
• Priscila Brandão, 22, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; died March 2, 2011; was shot in the head.
• Marcal Camero Tye, 25, Forrest City, Ark.; died March 8, 2011; was shot in the head, run over and dragged by a car.
• Shakira Harahap, 28, Taman Lawang, Jakarta, Indonesia; died March 10, 2011; was shot to death.
• Miss Nate Nate (or Née) Eugene Davis, 44, Houston; died June 13, 2011; was shot to death., Washington, D.C.; died July 20, 2011; was shot to death.
• Didem, 26, Findikzade, Istanbul; died July 31, 2011; had her throat slit.
• Camila Guzman, 38, New York City; died Aug. 1, 2011; was stabbed repeatedly in the back and neck.
• Gaby, age unknown, Jalisco, Mexico; died Aug. 6, 2011; was beaten and burned.
• Unidentified male dressed in women’s clothes, estimated age 30; Paris, France; was stabbed to death.
• Gaurav Gopalan, 35, Washington, D.C.; died Sept. 10, 2011; suffered subarachnoid hemorrhage due to blunt-force head trauma.
• Ramazan Çetin, 24, Gaziantep, Turkey; died Oct. 6, 2011; was shot to death by her brother who claimed to be defending the family’s honor.
• Shelley Hilliard, 19, Detroit, Mich.; died Oct.23 but body was not identified until Nov. 10; was killed, decapitated, dismembered and burned.
• Jessica Rollon, 32, Bergamo, Italy; died Oct. 30, 2011; was strangled to death.
• Astrid Carolina López Cruz, 30, Madrid, Spain; died Nov. 4, 2011; was beaten and stabbed.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.
About 45 people attended a candlelight vigil in downtown Dallas on Tuesday night to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. A number of pedestrians also stopped along the sidewalk to listen to speakers at the JFK Memorial.
The evening began with singing and an invocation by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Maeve O’Connor spoke about transphobia. A video of her talk is below.
BiNet Dallas president Morgan O’Donnell and event organizer Elizabeth Jayne Webb addressed biphobia by the gay as well as straight communities. Jesse Garcia, Steven Sprinkle and Davlin Kerekes spoke about homophobia.
After the speakers, there was a candlelight vigil along several downtown blocks.
This is the first time Dallas participated in IDAHO. The event has been marked in Europe and Canada since 2004 and is held on May 17 because that is the date in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
Activists will gather at the JFK Memorial in downtown Dallas as part of the worldwide recognition of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, known as IDAHO, on May 17.
The event began in 2004 but this is the first time Dallas will participate.
“It’s celebrated around the world and we’ve never had one here in Dallas,” said organizer Daniel Cates.
The May 17 date was chosen by the Paris-based IDAHO committee: Although U.S. groups like the American Psychological Association had already removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, the World Health Organization did so on May 17, 1990.
That was a major step for the LGBT community in many countries in gaining equality based on sexual orientation.
Cates said that the day is celebrated differently in different parts of the world.
“Some places it’s as simple as showing a film or having an art exhibit,” he said.
In countries where a Pride Day celebration is banned, a demonstration against homophobia might be permitted.
In Dallas, Cates said, “We’re doing a candlelight vigil, not a loud, screaming march. Chicago is doing a boisterous protest.”
Cates said the march through downtown would be on sidewalks with police escorts but would not close streets. The route is be short, about a half mile, Cates estimated.
He said the second Stonewall March set for June 25 will also be held downtown and will again close streets, as it did last year.
“The two events seem to be attracting two different groups,” Cates said.
He called the IDAHO event a more mature crowd.
“The march appeals to a younger crowd who wants to know, ‘Why the hell don’t I have my rights?’” he said.
Cates said the Dallas IDAHO vigil will concentrate on homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Other cities have expanded their focus to include other groups also experiencing discrimination.
He cited Islamophobia as an issue that will be addressed in some places.
The march returns to the JFK Memoril where speakers will address the crowd, including Maeve O’Connor, a transgender member of the Resource Center Dallas board of directors. Her three-minute speech at Dallas County Commissioners Court is reportedly the story that convinced John Wiley Price to vote for the county nondiscrimination policy to gender identity and expression.
Elizabeth Jayne Webb, who is an event organizer as well as speaker, is an organizer of Walk for Choice.
She recently planned the Slut Walk to call for an end to blaming the victims in cases of in rape and violence.
Rainbow LULAC President Jesse Garcia will speak about building bridges between the Hispanic and LGBT communities. He hosts a morning talk show on KNON.
Other speakers will include Davlin Kerekes, an activist with the International Socialist Organization Dallas Branch, and Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, associate professor of religion at Brite Divinity School and theologian-in-residence at Cathedral of Hope. Sprinkle is also the author of Unfinished Lives, a book about LGBT hate crime victims.
Cates said the evening will also include songs and speakers will be followed by an open mic.
National Day of Silence takes on special meaning this year after a number of highly publicized suicides highlighted the bullying faced by LGBT youth in schools. The observance is held on Friday, April 15, this year.
During the day, hundreds of thousands of students nationwide bring awareness to the problem of bullying and harassment in schools by taking a vow of silence. Some wear tape over their mouths.
Participating students hand out cards to explain the reason for their silence. In less sympathetic school environments, some are silent only during lunch or before and after school. The event is organized nationwide by GLSEN.
Youth First Texas will hold a breaking the silence candlelight vigil at the YFT center at 5:30 p.m. Then they will go to Cathedral of Hope for dinner and a dance at the Interfaith Peace Chapel.
Last year, a group from YFT met at Rosa Parks Plaza in Downtown Dallas to break the silence. During the evening commute, they sat in a circle near the West End DART station with mouths taped and handed out information to those who stopped.
At University of Texas at Dallas, National Day of Silence will be observed at the Women’s Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday.
At Southern Methodist University, students held a silent worship service followed by an open mike talent show sponsored by the LGBT student group Spectrum in the Hughes Trigg student center on Thursday in advance of the official day. Then on Friday they planned to set up a table in the middle of campus to hand out information silently about Day of Silence.
GLSEN advises students that they have a right to participate in Day of Silence between classes and before and after school but not necessarily in class.
According to a document for students prepared by Lambda Legal, the right to free speech includes the right to not speak. But free speech doesn’t necessarily extend to the classroom. If a teacher tells a student to answer a question during class, the student doesn’t have the constitutional right to refuse.
According to GLSEN, Day of Silence encourages schools to adopt comprehensive anti-bullying policies. Staff needs to be trained to recognize anti-LGBT harassment and implement these policies.
Students are encouraged to form Gay-Straight Alliances on campus to address bullying at school. GLSEN works with GSAs and schools to create curricula to help students respect and understand differences within the school community.
This is the 15th year of Day of Silence, which started at the University of Virginia. Over the next few years, more schools began to participate and GLSEN took over the event in 2001.
GLSEN estimates that students in 10 percent of schools nationwide participate.
Ryan Schwartz of GLSEN’s national office in New York said that as of early this week, 362 students in Texas including participants from 12 schools in Dallas had already registered.
“There are usually dozens of students that participate for every one that registers,” he said.
Last year, 20,000 students registered with GLSEN, according to Schwartz, but hundreds of thousands participated.
GLSEN conducted a survey of 7,000 LGBT youth. Their research shows that bullying in middle and high schools has reached epidemic proportions. Four out of five LGBT students report being harassed because of their sexual orientation and two-thirds because of their gender identity.
The study also found that three out of five LGBT youth feel unsafe at school and a third have missed school over the last month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable.
• 1979: On Easter weekend three men in nun habits walk through San Francisco’s Castro District to protest problems in the gay community. Other manifestations take place later that year at a softball game, a nude beach and the annual Castro Street Fair. During the Labor Day weekend, the men attend the first International Spiritual Conference for Radical Faeries in Arizona.
• 1980: The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is officially formed and a Sister named Hysterectoria designs the first official habits, which are modeled after those worn by 14th century Belgian nuns. Engagement in more general social activism — such as the Three Mile Island protests — begins. The Sisters also begin campaigns to stop fundamentalist Christians from preaching anti-gay rhetoric in the Castro. In October, they hold their first benefit and net $1,500 to help gay Cuban refugees.
• 1981: The first international order of SPI is established in Sydney, Australia. In San Francisco, the Sisters organize the first-ever AIDS fundraiser, the Castro Dog Show.
• 1982: As a response to the AIDS crisis, Sisters Florence Nightmare and Roz Erection (who also happen to be nurses), help put together Play Fair!, a safer sex advice pamphlet that uses sex-positive language, and which the SPI distribute in the Castro community (that pamphlet is revised in 1999 as part of the SPI 20-year anniversary celebration).
• 1983: The Sisters hold the first AIDS candlelight vigil.
• 1984: After holding an exorcism of Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, the SPI are “disinvited” to the Republican National Convention in Dallas. They come to Texas anyway and perform a second exorcism of Falwell — and one for conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly — in Dealey Plaza.
• 1987: During a papal visit to San Francisco, the Sisters hold a mock exorcism of Pope John Paul II. For their efforts, they are placed on the Vatican’s Papal List of Heretics.
• 1994: The Sisters attend the Stonewall 25th anniversary celebration in NYC and lead the Drag March from Alphabet City to the Stonewall Inn.
• 1996: With more than 20 convents worldwide, the SPI are now a global force. They honor the loss of more than 30 sisters to AIDS (called Nuns of the Above) by creating four 24-foot-by-24-foot panels for Names Project Quilt, which they bring to Washington, D.C.
• 1999: The SPI celebrate their 20th anniversary with an International Conclave of Nuns and an exhibit entitled “A Consistory Conspiracy: Changing the Face of Activism.”
• 2000: During San Francisco Pride, the Sisters show support for the Californians for Same-Sex Marriage movement. They also hold another mock exorcism, this time of conservative talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
• 2001: In the wake of the 9-11 terror attacks, the Sisters hold a candlelight vigil to remember the gays and lesbians lost in the attacks.
• 2003: In a banner year for SPI fundraising, sisterly efforts bring in more than $100,000, with 80 percent returning to the community.
• 2008: The SPI are featured in Queer and Catholic, a book of collected essays, short stories and poems about LGBT life and Catholicism.
• 2009: The Sisters mark their 30th anniversary with “Nun World Order” celebrations in San Francisco’s Dolores Park.
This weekend, Texas Christian University is hosting an LGBT leadership conference that started out as a response to bullying and bullying-related suicides, organizer Jamal King said.
Last fall, as news spread about the large number of gay teens who took their own lives in a short period of time, the TCU gay-straight alliance held a candlelight vigil on campus.
But King said they felt it wasn’t enough. “[We felt] there must be something more we could do,” he said.
In November, the GSA invited a speaker from the Trevor Project to come to campus in the spring. That speaking engagement quickly evolved into an all-day conference.
King said there was an overwhelming response, not only from his own campus but also from Texas Wesleyan University and University of Texas at Arlington. Students from campuses around the state and Oklahoma have registered.
In addition to the speaker from the Trevor Project, representatives from Youth First Texas, the AIDS Outreach Center, QCinema, PFLAG, GLSEN, Dallas Voice and Pride in the Truth, a religious group founded by members of LGBT-friendly Crossroads Community Church, will participate. “We had a surprising amount of support from the faculty and staff,” King said.
He was also happy with the corporate support the project received. Pepsico and Wells Fargo are the event’s main sponsors. Z’s Café, located at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center and formed in partnership with Samaritan House, will provide lunch.
Eric Russell is a junior at TCU and vice president of the GSA. He is coordinating committees from check-in to food, entertainment and programming. “It surprised me how quickly we did this,” Russell said.
Russell said he knew they were on the right track when he heard from a psych professor that she was letting all of her students know about the conference. He said the diversity and acceptance on the TCU campus has surprised him.
Amanda Moten is president of her GSA at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, and she said she is “expecting to learn a lot” at the day-long conference.
She said that she’s been encouraging people from her campus and others in the area to attend. She said she’s been a member of a GSA since she was in high school and has opened her school’s group up as a safe space for high school students who don’t have a place in their own school. “People can come and talk,” she said. “No matter what other people have told you that you are, you’re accepted here.”
Moten said she is helping sponsor high school students who cannot afford to attend the conference. She also commented on the relationship her group has developed with TCU’s. “I love that our GSAs are becoming BFFs,” she said.
King said that it was important for TCU’s GSA to become more visible on campus. He said he hopes that students just coming to terms with coming out would be helped by just knowing the LGBT leadership conference was taking place on campus and that they are not alone.
The conference begins with a kick-off party on Friday, March 4, at 7 p.m. The $20 registration fee for the Saturday conference includes lunch. The party and conference will be held in TCU’s Brown Lupton University Union.
To register or for more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.
On Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Project TAG (Tyler Area Gays) and Tyler AIDS Services will unveil a plaque in Bergfeld Park honoring the memory of Nicholas West.
West was kidnapped from Bergfeld Park on Oct. 31, 1993. He was tortured, shot and left for dead. He was targeted because his three assailants presumed he was gay. At their trial, they confessed that they wanted to kill a homosexual.
West’s two murderers received the death penalty in the case.
The story was featured recently in the Investigation Discovery channel series Hardcover Mysteries. Dallas Voice senior editor Tammye Nash, who interviewed one of West’s killers on death row, is portrayed in the show by a svelte brunette whom we all agree is perfect for the part. The story of West’s murder was also featured in Arthur Dong’s 1997 documentary Licensed to Kill.
The Cathedral of Hope 20Something Ministries and Peace House Dallas in conjunction with other community activism groups are hosting a candlelight vigil to commemorate and express gratitude to those who struggle for peaceful equality on behalf of LGBTQ people.
They will gather with local community leaders on the grounds of the recently dedicated Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road, on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. Speakers will include representatives of Lambda Legal, Cathedral of Hope and Peace House Dallas.
The evening will conclude with a prayer for peace and strength with a progressive lighting of candles as a tribute in honor and memory.
Celebrichefs grill burgers for AIDS
A dozen celebrity chefs joined Chef John Tesar, culinary director of DRG Concepts, on the fifth floor pool deck at The House in Victory Park, for the second annual Burgers & Burgundy event benefiting Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. The chefs crafted a variety of burgers from BBQ spiced beef with smoked sausage to grilled garlic lamb sliders to raise funds for DIFFA.
This year’s event raised more than $25,000 while guests sipped burgundy wines and with downtown Dallas serving as a backdrop.
Chefs who participated in addition to Tesar included Cooking With Friends host Nick Stellino, James Beard award winner R.J. Cooper, Stephan Pyles, Kent Rathbun, Tim Byres, Scott Romano, Dan Landsberg, Samir Dhurandhar, Sharon Van Meter, Kevin Williamson, and Brian Luscher. They represented restaurants as diverse as Samar, Nick and Sam’s, Smoke, Tillman’s Road House and The Grape.
Silent auction packages included four Kenmore grills paired with a celebrity chef visit or a party with Michael Martensen.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 5, 2010.
It’s about time someone organized something locally to honor the many recent gay suicide victims, and we can’t think of anyone better to do it than The DFW Sisters. According to their Facebook page, the Sisters will host a candlelight vigil and silent march on Sunday night on Cedar Springs Road. More info on the Facebook page. The Sisters, whom you’ve probably run into if you’ve been to any gay event in Dallas recently, “are a modern, communal order of 21st century nuns dedicated to community service, fund raising, outreach, advocacy, education for safer sex awareness, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment.” The first such group was the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in San Francisco.