Trans woman murdered in Baltimore
Baltimore City Police announced July 16 that they are investigating the murder of trans woman Mia Henderson, sister of NBA player Reggie Bullock. Henderson, 26, is at least the second trans woman killed in Baltimore in as many months. According to a press release from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, her murder is “the latest in a string of Baltimore area homicides in the last two months in which transgender women have been killed.”
Baltimore police Investigators said officers serving a warrant just before 6 a.m. in the 3400 block of Piedmont Avenue found Henderson’s body in an alley. They said the victim had “suffered severe trauma.”
Police said it was too early to tell if the case is related to a similar one a month ago in which another transgender woman was killed. The body of 40-year-old Ricky Hall, known as Kandy, was found stabbed on June 4 in a field near Coldstream Park Elementary-Middle School in northeast Baltimore, according to reports by WBALTV News 11.
USDA adopts trans protections
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added gender identity protections to its federal nondiscrimination regulations regarding programs or activities conducted by the department. This makes USDA is the first federal agency to issue regulations banning gender identity discrimination in all activities conducted by any employee of the department, according to an NGLTF press release issued today.
“Fifteen years ago, the USDA paved the way on federal rights for LGBT people by becoming the first agency to add sexual orientation nondiscrimination protections. Yesterday, the USDA once again demonstrated their leadership and commitment to equality by extending nondiscrimination protections to transgender people in every program the department operates,” NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey said.
Report: Nearly two-thirds of Massachusetts trans people suffer discrimination
The Fenway Institute and Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition have released their Project VOICE report on transgender discrimination in public accommodations, which found that nearly two-thirds of trans residents of Massachusetts have experienced discrimination in a public accommodation setting in the last 12 years. Those experiencing discrimination were nearly twice as likely to report adverse physical and mental health outcomes, the report indicated.
The state’s Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act, passed in 2011 and implemented in 2012, does not cover public accommodations.
Other findings reported in the study include:
• Overall, 65 percent of respondents reported discrimination in one or more public accommodation settings in the past 12 months.
• The five most prevalent settings in which discrimination was experienced were transportation (36 percent), retail (28 percent), restaurants (26 percent), public gatherings (25 percent) and health care facilities/services (24 percent).
• Those reported incidences of discrimination had an 84 percent increased risk of adverse physical symptoms, such as headaches, upset stomach or pounding heart, in the last 30 days and 99 percent increased risk of emotional symptoms in the past 30 days.
• 28 percent of respondents reported they had not seen a doctor in the last year.
• 29 percent reported having to teach their health care provider about transgender health issues in the last year.
The Massachusetts Legislature is currently considering passage of the Equal Access Bill, which would improve access to public accommodations for trans people there.
Download a copy of the complete report here.
European Court of Human Rights rules against trans woman in marriage case
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the country of Finland did not violate the human rights of a trans woman by requiring that her marriage be downgraded to a registered partnership in order for her to be legally recognized as a woman.
Before gender reassignment surgery, Ms. Hamalainen had married a woman, and Finnish authorities argued that legally recognizing her gender as female without ending her marriage would result in a same-sex marriage, which is not allowed under Finnish law.
Evelyne Paradis, executive director of ILGA-Europe, said: “The Finnish authorities argued and the European Court agreed that Ms Hamalainen’s family did not suffer disproportionately by their marriage being downgraded to a registered partnership as a registered partnership is almost identical to marriage in terms of rights and protections. Nevertheless, the court missed an important opportunity to condemn humiliating and discriminatory practices across Europe requiring trans people to end their existing marriage to obtain legal gender recognition.”
Trans people must end existing marriages to partners of the same-gender as they are post-transition to obtain legal gender recognition in 32 of 49 European countries.