Complaint: LGBT immigrants abused, neglected at detention centers run by Homeland Security

The National Immigration Justice Center has filed civil rights complaints on behalf of 13 LGBT immigrants who were allegedly abused and neglected at detention centers run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in nine states, including one in Houston. The Heartland Alliance’s NIJC filed the complaints today in a letter addressed to Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, calling on the department to investigate and implement new policies.

The group has also launched a petition calling on the DHS and President Barack Obama to end the abuse of LGBT immigrants in detention.

The 13 complaints include allegations of sexual assault, denial of adequate medical care, long-term solitary confinement, discrimination and abuse, and ineffective complaints and appeals process. Below are a few examples from the letter, which you can download in its entirety here:

• [Juan] was sexually assaulted by two other detainees. Despite repeated requests for a transfer to another facility because he feared for his safety [Juan] was not transferred until three months after the incident, when ICE Headquarters intervened. In the meantime, the only “protection” that the Otero County Detention Center offered was placement in the “hole.” (Otero County Detention Center, New Mexico)

• [Delfino] was held in segregation for four months, justifying their decision on the basis that [Delfino] presented “effeminately.” Facility staff refused to provide [Delfino] a Bible and permitted him only one hour of recreation – in a cold nine- by-thirteen-foot cell – per day. (Houston Processing Center, Texas)

• [Monica] continues to be denied hormone therapy, despite her use of hormones for ten years prior to immigration detention, and her physical and psychological reliance on them. [Monica], now detained for over five months, told NIJC staff, “I can’t even look at myself in the mirror anymore,” due to returning facial and body hair and other distressing changes. [Monica], an asylum seeker who has suffered grave past abuse in Mexico, also received no treatment for her trauma- related depression. She attempted suicide in February 2011 – the facility put her in solitary confinement as punishment. (Santa Ana City Jail, California)

• [Alexis] was repeatedly called a “faggot” by guards, who also made jokes about her dying of AIDS. They singled her out for public searches in which they forced her to remove her outer clothing and mocked her exposed breasts. (Theo Lacy Facility, California)

—  John Wright

If You’re Lonesome Tonight, John Bickle Is Taking Requests

John Bickle, a 57-year-old gay former Roman Catholic priest, will be on the piano tonight (as he was last night) at Knock Restaurant and Bar in Philadelphia, where he'll "play for the people who have nowhere else to go. It's for the people who've outlived their friends, whose families have disowned them. We're very much like our own family."


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Queerty

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Montana Attorney General Requests Dismissal of Gay Rights Lawsuit

Montana Back in July I posted about a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and seven same-sex couples in Montana, seeking the same rights as heterosexual married couples in the state. 

The state's attorney general today filed a motion for dismissal:

"Spousal benefits are limited by definition to married couples, and the Montana constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, Attorney General Steve Bullock said. The court does not have the jurisdiction to require the state to extend spousal benefits beyond that definition, Bullock said in a motion to dismiss the case. "Courts may not exercise the power to enact laws and revise, alter or amend the constitution," Bullock said. Such policymaking power belongs to the Legislature and the people of the state, he added. District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock has set a Jan. 25 hearing on Bullock's motion to dismiss the case."


Towleroad News #gay

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