Missing: Police ask for help in locating Nino Jackson

Nino Jackson

Nino Jackson

Rowlett Police have asked for the community’s help in locating Nino Jackson, 26, who has been missing since Jan. 19.

According to police, Jackson was last seen the morning of Friday, Jan. 19, in the area of 911 W. Wheatland Road, in the southwest part of Dallas. His vehicle, a cream-colored Pontiac Firebird, was found by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, abandoned on the southbound side of the President George Bush Turnpike — aka Hwy. 190/George Bush Tollway — at the westbound I-30 ramp over Lake Ray Hubbard.

Jackson is about 5-feet, 8-inches tall and weighs about 198 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue button-down shirt and khaki pants.

Anyone with information regarding Jackson or his whereabouts is asked to call 9-11 or to call the Rowlett Police Department at 972-412-6200.

Oliver Blumer, a friend of Jackson’s, said that people from the LGBT community and from the North Texas River Rafters organization have stepped forward to help in searching the area where Jackson’s vehicle was found. He said the Rowlett PD is small with limited resources, so volunteer searchers are appreciated.

—  Tammye Nash

‘Creating drama’

Longtime trans activist angry over interrupted panel discussion at Creating Change

drama

Monica Roberts

DAVID TAFFET    |  Senior Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

A panel discussion featuring trans-attracted men was shut down by protesters at the Jan. 20-23 Creating Change conference in Chicago, the same conference at which protesters shouting anti-Semitic slurs and chants disrupted a reception for Jerusalem Open House.

Monica Roberts, a longtime trans activist from Houston, was at the panel discussion when a group of about 20 people entered the room and disrupted the event. She said this year’s conference should have been called ‘Creating drama.’

Roberts said a group of younger transgender attendees at this year’s conference — and at other recent conferences she’s attended — “think direct action protest is the only way to go,” and that they’ve forgotten Martin Luther King’s model. While protests were going on in the civil rights movement, Roberts pointed out, so was discussion and behind-the-scenes work needed to pass laws.

The panel discussion, put together by the National Black Justice Coalition, featured men discussing pressures and difficulties they face because they are attracted to trans women.

Roberts noted that if you look on Craigslist, one of the most popular categories is men looking for pre-operative trans women.

Because many of the murders of trans women have been a result of intimate partner violence, Roberts said, she hoped to hear a discussion about how to remain safe during the panel. “But we didn’t get to have that conversation,” she said.

She also said she had hoped to learn “what goes on in the mind of folks who claim to love us” and that it would be nice to hear men say publicly, “I love trans women.”

The protest was instigated by a trans woman who claimed one of the panelists was an abuser. That man doesn’t have any such charges pending against him, and he is about to file a suit for defamation.

Roberts said the divide was not just between older and younger trans activists. Many hoping to attend the panel live in cities without protections in place based on gender identity and expression. Protesters, she said, came from places with laws protecting the trans community from discrimination.

While Creating Change is about diverse LGBT groups coming together to discuss how to work together, Roberts said one protester summed it up: When the executive director of NBJC tried to say something, a protester simply demanded, “Sit down and shut up.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 29, 2016.

—  David Taffet

Jeremy Clarkson can now add ‘transphobe’ to ‘homophobe’ and ‘racist’ on his resume

Jeremy CLarkson

Jeremy Clarkson was probably referring to a car or a costar with the “L for Loser” on his forehead. But a quick scan of his history shows he is the real loser.

Most Americans who know who Jeremy Clarkson is know him because they watched Top Gear on BBC. I enjoyed watching the show to see the cool cars, but was never an ardent fan. So last March, when the show was initially suspended and then canceled after Clarkson was fired for reportedly trying to punch a producer, it was no big deal to me.

Now, however, I realize I should have been calling for Clarkson to get sacked long before he actually did.

Huffington Post has reported that in his most recent column for London’s The Sunday Times, Clarkson has taken very offensive aim at transgender people.

The column begins:

“Now that women can vote and homosexual couples can marry, you might imagine that the world’s student activists, trade union leaders and environmentalists would pat themselves on the back and break open a bottle of sustainable elderflower juice to congratulate themselves on a job well done.

“But no. They have decided that we must now all turn our attention to the plight of people who want to change their name from Stan to Loretta, and fight for the right for men to have babies.”

Clarkson goes on to say that as far as he was concerned, “men who want to be women were only really to be found on the Internet or in the seedier bits of Bangkok. They were called ladyboys, and in my mind they were nothing more than the punch line in a stag night anecdote.”

And it gets better. He went on to say that parents that support their transgender children are “poisoning” their children’s minds. “[Children] dream impossible dreams,” Clarkson wrote. “You don’t actually take them seriously. You don’t take them to a hospital when they’re 10 and say, ‘He wants to be a girl, so can you lop his todger off?’”

And if that’s not enough to make you realize what a “todger” Clarkson is, a quick Internet search shows that he is an equal opportunity bigot. (First two are from Wikipedia, and the rest are from Jalopnik.com.)

• December 2006: BBC upheld complaints from four different viewers angry over Clarkson’s description of the Daihatsu Copen as “a bit gay.” He also described the vehicle as “ginger beer,” which is apparently British rhyming slang for “queer.”

• December 2009: A gay couple was reportedly denied tickets to watch Top Gear being filmed. That led a BBC spokesperson to vehemently deny the claim, saying, “We do not — absolutely do not — discriminate against same sex couples … . The whole implication that Top Gear is in any way homophobic is completely wrong.” (Maybe Top Gear wasn’t homophobic, but it sure seems like Clarkson is.)

• June 2006: Clarkson pisses off members of the UK’s Transports and General Workers Union by saying in a newspaper column that any truck driver who doesn’t yield right of way to a car is an “inconsiderate jumped-up little Hitler bastard” who should be “shot in the middle of his face.”

• March and May 2007: Clarkson’s Top Gear co-star Richard Hammond suffered brain damage in a 280 mph crash during a Top Gear shoot in 2006. When he returned to work, in March 2007, Clarkson asked him if he was “a mental” now. A couple months later in May, Clarkson asked Hammond if he “dribbled.” Needless to say, advocates for the mentally disabled and those with brain injuries were not amused.

• In 2009, Clarkson and his costar James May made spoof ads for Volkswagen, once of which said the Scirocco TDI could make it from Berlin to Warsaw in one tank, and another that included an on-screen “suicide.”

• November 2009: Clarkson pissed offed Romania by calling it “Borat Country,” making jokes about communism and saying that Gypsies “can be violent if they don’t like the look of you.”

• February 2011: Clarkson and Hammond made jokes about Mexicans. Hammond referred to the Mexican-made Mastretta sports car as “lazy,” “feckless” and “flatulent,” then said, “I’m sorry, but just imagine waking up and remembering you’re Mexican.” Clarkson responded, “It’d be brilliant because you could just go straight back to sleep again!”

• November 2011: Clarkson called for the public execution of striking workers in Britain.

• July 2013: MG car company was originally British-owned but is now Chinese-owned. In a review of the company’s MG6, Clarkson managed to piss off officials in Britain and China as well as the carmaker when he said the car was “as Chinese as a chopstick.”

• March 2014: Referring to a bridge in Burma, as a construction worker was crossing it, Clarkson said, “That is a proud moment. But there’s a slope on it.” (“Slope,” in case you don’t know, is a racial slur for Asians.) That landed BBC with a lawsuit filed by an Indian-born British actress.

• May 2014: Clarkson apparently used the N-word while chanting the eeney-meeney-miney-mo nursery rhyme during unaired rehearsal footage.

There’s more, but my fingers are getting tired. Besides, surely by now you get the picture.

BBC has already dumped Clarkson and Top Gear. But you could always send The Sunday Times a note asking why they are publishing such drivel from such an absolute asshole.

—  Tammye Nash

UNT needs bisexual and/or transgender research participants

UNTThe University of North Texas Center for Psychosocial Health Research will soon complete its research study investigating quality of life and wellbeing among LGBT folks over 50.

The study is intended to advance research on health, social support and emotional happiness of the aging LGBT community (50+ years), an under-represented group in current research. Bisexual and/or transgender participants are needed. They already reached their goal for gay and lesbian participants.

The UNT research team seeks to identify needs for the community in the areas of mental health, healthcare, social services and legislation. All information collected is kept strictly confidential, and the results of the study are only published/presented in aggregate.

Participants in the study meet with research assistants from UNT’s Center for Psychosocial Health Research in public places appropriate for the task that are geographically convenient to participants.

You don’t have to go up to Denton to participate. Resource Center is providing use of their meeting rooms to conduct surveys, but researchers will are happy to meet you anywhere in the metroplex. Surveys are conducted in person on a laptop (provided), which usually takes about 2 hours complete. All participants receive a $25 cash incentive for their participation.

If you would like to help advance this important research, please contact: Center for Psychosocial Health Research, University of North Texas by email or call 214-699-7146.

—  David Taffet

No longer a fan of the Dame

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Dame Edna, aka Barry Humphries

Way back in the day, I remember being so thrilled to see “Dame Edna” on TV. It was always like getting a little glimpse to a different world that I knew, somehow, I belonged in. No, Dame Edna wasn’t a lesbian. And yes, I know that Barry Humphries, the Australian man who created and personifies her, is not a gay man. Still, he was a man in a dress, pretending to be a woman, and that was — at the time — close enough for me.

Dame Edna has, of course, always drawn a gay audience. And why not? This is, basically, a drag queen elevated to mega-stardom before RuPaul got his own reality competition TV show. But as of today, I can tell you this is one gay person (me) who is no longer a fan of the Dame. Not after hearing what Humphries had to say about Caitlyn Jenner and transgender women in general.

According to an article by Bil Browning in The Advocate, in an interview published Jan. 4 in The Telegraph, a British newspaper, Humphries called Jenner “a publcity-seeking ratbag” as part of his vigorous defense of his friend and fellow Australian, feminist Germaine Greer. It’s not that I am a big Caitlyn Jenner fan. It’s what Humphries said about trans people in general that pisses me off.

Last month, Greer attacked Jenner, accusing her of “stealing the limelight” from her notorious family, the Kardashians, and doubled down on her condemnation of transgender women in general, saying, as Browning notes, that trans women are not actually women and that they don’t “look like, sound like or behave like” women. And earlier, in a written statement she issued after canceling a scheduled appearance at Cardiff University after trans advocates protested, Greer declared: “Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a fucking woman. I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that won’t turn me into a fucking cocker spaniel… A man who gets his dick chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself.”

That right there is enough to convince me to never ever support or endorse in any way anything Germaine Greer might have to say. And Humphries, as far as I am concerned, joined Greer on my blacklist when he defended her in The Telegraph.

“I agree with Germaine!,” he told the newspaper. “You’re a mutilated man, that’s all. Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on? Caitlyn Jenner – what a publicity-seeking ratbag. It’s all given the stamp – not of respectability, but authenticity or something. If you criticise anything you’re racist or sexist or homophobic.”

He went on say that even though he isn’t particularly conservative, he is disgusted by the increasing level of political correctness in college students and feminists. He told The Telegraph, “I don’t know anything about politics. But the far left is so conservative, paradoxically, inflexible, doctrinaire and humorless. You can’t describe the world as it is any more. You get jumped on. I’m happy to say I do. I give offense therefore I am. Not too much offense, though.”

Not too much offense, Mr. Humphries? Enough, I’d say. Enough to lose this former fan.

According to Wikipedia, Humprhies said in March 2012 that he would be retiring Dame Edna at the end of his then-current tour. In 2013, however, he announced he had decided to bring her back. Too bad, if you ask me. Some old dinosaurs should stay extinct.

—  Tammye Nash

IT’S COOKIE TIME!

Girl Scout CookiesGuess who got a great big box full of different kinds of Girl Scout Cookies today?!

Yep, that’s right! I did!

Do you know what that means? That means it’s COOKIE TIME!

The 2016 Girl Scout Cookie Program begins with door-to-door and booth sales on Jan. 15. On Jan. 29, Council-hosted booth sales begin. The last day of the program will be March 1.

That means you will have just about a month-and-a-half to stock up on all those yummy Girl Scout Cookies you can’t do without. So write those dates down and make sure you get your cookies while you can.

Just so you can plan ahead, here are the Girl Scout Cookie flavors for 2016: Thin Mints (my personal favorite), Tagalongs, Samoas (Stephen Mobley stole the Samoas that were sent to me), Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, Savannah Smiths and Rah-Rah Raisons, all for $4 a box, and Toffee-tastic, the gluten-free Girl Scout Cookie option, which are $5 a box.

Here’s what the press kit had to say about the Girl Scout Cookie Program: “When the girls participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, they develop important life skills — goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics — that will set them up for success beyond anything they can imagine! The cookie program is an integral part of the Girl Scouts’ Business and Financial Literacy initiative for girls in grades K-12.”

Why should the LGBT community support the Girl Scouts of America and their Cookie Program? Because they support our community. As The Advocate pointed out in 2012, GSA posted a statement on it’s blog declaring the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness: “Girl Scouts of the USA and its local councils and troops value diversity and inclusiveness and do not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability.”

The Girls Scouts also have written policy declaring that transgender girls will be welcome.

So help the girls out and get ready to buy some cookies. You can always add a few minutes to your exercise routine to work those cookies off!

—  Tammye Nash

Congress forms new Transgender Equality Task Force

Honda.Rodriguez-Roldan

The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus announced the creation of the Transgender Equality Task Force, which will be chaired by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Silicon Valley, today (Tuesday, Nov. 17), just three days before the 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The new task force will focus on developing legislation and other initiatives to ensure that trans people have equal access and equal treatment under the law, according to a statement from The National LGBTQ Task Force. Members include Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton from the District of Columbia, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Rep. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey.

Task Force Chair Mike Honda said, “This week, as we seek to raise awareness of the issues facing the trans community, it is important to renew our commitment to help trans individuals be free of the fear of violence or bullying just for being who they are. It is my hope that by launching this workforce and holding a first-ever forum, we will reach some of my colleagues and encourage them to stand with the trans community.

“It is only through social change that we can truly elevate the conversation in this country and reach a place of true understanding and embrace all people for who they are,” Honda said.

Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, National LGBTQ Task Force’s newly-appointed director of the Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project, said, “To this day, transgender people face formidable barriers in employment, housing, health, education and other areas. And to end the ongoing violence and discrimination that transgender people experience, we need everyone’s help and support.”

She added, “We’re elated to see the formation [of the congressional task force]. We thank the LGBTQ Equality conference for their ongoing efforts to advance legislation that extends critical protections to LGBTQ people.”

Rodriguez-Roldan, who’s appointment was announced Monday,  Nov. 16, is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who started her advocacy work as a staffer for the Commonweath’s Senate campaign. While she was a student at the University of Puerto Rico, she became the first openly transgender member of student government there and pushed the school’s administration for transgender accessible student ID policies.

Rodriguez-Roldan was named a Truman Scholar in 2011 in recognition of her passion for public service, and in 2013, she was named a Holley Law Fellow by the National LGBTQ Task Force. She led a successful campaign lobbying for trans-inclusive driver’s licenses and state ID documents in Puerto Rico. Most recently she worked as an equal opportunity specialist for the U.S. Labor Department’s Civil Rights Center.

Rodriguez-Roldan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with honors from the University of Puerto Rico, and a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law.

 

—  Tammye Nash

Resource Center’s Cox calls Huffines on anti-trans statements, invites him to visit center

cece

Cece Cox

Cece Cox, chief executive officer of Resource Center, today sent an open letter to Texas Sen. Don Huffines, taking the Republican to task for Tweets he sent out Tuesday, Nov. 10, condemning Dallas City Council’s vote to clarify language in the city’s equal rights ordinance regarding protections based on gender identity and gender expression.

The ordinance, first approved by the council in 2002, originally included gender identity and gender expression under the protected class of “sexual orientation,” although sexual orientation is not generally considered to include gender identity and expression. Tuesday’s vote was intended to clear up any confusion.

Huffines, however, pointed to a Nov. 3 referendum in which Houston voters defeated that city’s equal rights ordinance following a vitriolic campaign in which opponents mislabeled the ordinance as a “bathroom bill” and focused on scare tactics claiming it would allow sexually predatory men to dress in women’s clothing to harass and attack women and girls in public restrooms. He called the Dallas council’s vote a “sneak attack” taken without giving the public a chance to comment on the change, although the amendment has been in discussion and open to public comment for a year or more.

Huffines called for the ordinance to be repealed, telling Dallas Voice in a written statement that “Civic participation and public scrutiny have been lacking in this process.”

Huffines represents Senate District 16, which includes parts of Oak Lawn, Cox points out. Although Huffines’ district includes parts of Dallas, the senator himself actually lives in Highland Park, according to records Dallas Voice reporter James Russell found online.

Huffines.Don

Sen. Don Huffines

Here is Cox’s letter in its entirety:

Dear Senator Huffines:

I am Cece Cox, the chief executive officer of Resource Center. For over 32 years, the Center has served the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, as well as all people affected by HIV/AIDS. Parts of the Senator’s district include the Oak Lawn neighborhood, the historic home of Dallas’ LGBT community.

I am writing your office regarding your recent comments about the revision of the city of Dallas’ nondiscrimination ordinance, which was slightly modified this week by the Dallas City Council. The Center is a member of Mayor Rawlings’ LGBT Task Force, and several Center employees serve on that body.

Many of your comments lack a factual basis, which is disturbing given that you are making them in public to a large audience.

Here are some statistics about the transgender community you may not be aware of, according to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Study, conducted by the National LGBTQ Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality:

1. 90% of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job.

2. 47% said they had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming.

3. 26% reported that they had lost a job due to being transgender or gender non-conforming; and,

4. A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to 1.6% of the general population.

With that in mind, I would like to invite you to come to the Center and visit with me, as well as members of the transgender community. Words have meaning, and I think it is important that you have a chance to speak with community members affected by discrimination, and positively impacted by Tuesday’s City Council vote. I look forward to your reply.

Best regards
Cece Cox, JD
Chief Executive Officer, Resource Center

—  Tammye Nash

A Veterans Day message: Repeal the ban on transgenders in the military

Trans Awareness Logo. INSET sizeA message from Barbara Satin, assistant faith work director with the National LGBTQ Task Force, trans woman and former U.S. Air Force officer, to the U.S. Defense Department:

barbara-satin-at-whcoa-crop

Barbara Satin

“On Veterans Day, as we honor those who’ve served in the military, let us also lift up the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer service members. For decades courageous and dedicated LGBTQ people served in the U.S. military while hiding their true identity out of fear of being discharged. Today, while we have made significant strides with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, transgender people are still denied the opportunity to serve openly in the military.

“That is why we’re again calling on the Defense Department to expedite their repeal of the ban on transgender people in the military.”

The U.S. Congress voted in December 2010 to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That repeal was implemented by the Defense Department in September 2011. According to a May, 2014 report issued by The Williams Institute, there are about 15,500 transgender individuals serving on active duty or in the Guard or Reserve forces, and an estimated 134,300 transgender individuals who are veterans or are retired from Guard or Reserve service.

The exclusion of transgender individuals from military service is based on medical policies that lay out exclusions for what are deemed to be “psychosexual disorders,” including transsexualism, cross-dressing or a history of gender transition. If closeted transgender men and women serving in the military are outed, they face the possibility of a medical discharge.

In March 2014, the Palm Center released the “Report of the Transgender Military Service Commission,” which was co-chaired by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joceyln Elders and Rear Admiral Alan M. Steinman, M.D. That commission found “no compelling medical rationale for banning transgender military service.” The commission report also said that eliminating the ban would “advance a number of military interests, including enabling commanders to better care for their service members.

In addition, the report noted, “Medical regulations requiring the discharge of all transgender personnel are inconsistent with how the military regulates medical and psychological conditions, and arbitrary in that medical conditions related to transgender identity appear to be the only gender-related conditions requiring discharge irrespective of fitness for duty.”

The report ended with three recommendations: 1. Lift the ban on transgender military service. 2. Do not write new medical regulations. 3. Base new administrative guidance on foreign military and US government precedents.

A Pentagon working group tasked with dismantling the ban began meeting in July, just days after Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter issued a memo outlining how the ban will fall and instructing top military officials to prepare to integrate transgender service members within six months.

The Pentagon has just under two months to end the ban to meet Carter’s timeline.

—  Tammye Nash

DOT offers clarification on nondiscrimination policy

Trans Awareness Logo. INSET sizeExisting nondiscrimination policies covering public transportation already include protections for transgender people, according to a statement issued Monday, Nov. 9, by the federal Department of Public Transportation, at the request of Dallas’ Trans Pride Initiative.

The policy “including a prohibition against discrimination based on sex can be interpreted as being inclusive of gender-identity discrimination,” the statement from the DOT’s Office of Civil Rights noted.

Nell-Gaither

Trans Pride Initiative President Nell Gaither

The statement points out that the nondiscrimination policy is referenced in the Federal Transit Authority “Master Agreement,” and that, “We will clarify that gender-identity discrimination is included in the ban on sex discrimination in our fiscal year 2016 Master Agreement.”

Nell Gaither, president of Trans Pride Initiative, said DOT issued the statement after her organization and Resource Center submitted a joint inquiry seeking clarification in June, as part of their efforts to help a Dallas trans woman who had encountered discrimination from employees in the Dallas public transportation system.

The woman “had been harassed, being called ‘sir’ and ‘mister’ in order to publicly out her” after she showed her state identification, Gaither said. “That’s not only harassment, it can her safety and her life in danger.”

Gaither said that although the woman had tried to resolve the situation by talking with transit staff, but had been unable to have the problem resolved.

“On the contrary, staff were victim blaming,” Gaither said. “At one point, a manager reviewing the issue stated that the trans woman was ‘confusing [the person who harassed her] by not getting her ID changed.’ That’s not an appropriate response.”

Gaither said that in the process of researching options to get the matter resolved, she learned about the DOT’s nationwide Master Agreement. Rafael McDonnell, communications and advocacy manager for Resource Center, was at the same time looking into an incident in which a gay man had been harassed by public transit staff, and McDonnell suggested TPI and the Resource Center submit a joint request to FTA officials asking for clarification.

The joint request, submitted June 12, also asked that the Federal Transit Authority modify the Master Agreement to include specific protections based on sexual orientation as well as gender identity.

The statement issued Monday only addresses gender identity, possibly because case law around sex discrimination as it applies to sexual orientation is less clear, Gaither said. Federal policy makers may see tying these to well-established sex discrimination coverage as a better solution than adding enumerated protected classes to the policy.

“We will continue to advocate for sexual orientation protections to be specifically added, but we certainly think [the] announcement is worth celebrating,” she said.

Gaither said that anti-trans discrimination has long been a problem in public transportation, and that such discrimination has a disproportionately large impact on low-income people who often depend on public transportation to get where they need to go.

“We are certainly happy to see this clarification, and we call on our communities and advocates around the nation to make sure public transit systems are held accountable for similar discriminatory actions moving forward,” she said.

—  Tammye Nash