The first state-sanctioned gay rights demonstration in Russia was disrupted Saturday by antigay protesters in St. Petersburg, including older women and skinheads who threw eggs. Advocate.com: Daily News
Radio Free Europe reports: "Local reports say Orthodox Christians and other radicals attempted to forcibly break up Russia's first state-approved gay rights march in St. Petersburg. The report said police arrested at least 10 people and that the march was broken off after 40 minutes due to violence."
Hateful protesters, which reportedly included "old ladies and skinheads," shouted and threw eggs at the gay rights advocates and also, after grabbing the rainbow flag out of the hands of the marchers, proceeded to tear it up.
According to the AFP news agency, despite the violence, participants are looking at the positive side of this: "'the fact that this demonstration was authorised is a step forward for us and for all of democratic Russia,' said Maria Efremenkova, one of the organisers. The group was outnumbered by counter-protesters and were guarded by police."
On November 16, 2010, just days after the 72nd anniversary of the Nazi’s opening salvo against the Jews, Kristallnacht, the United Nations voted to remove sexual orientation from the UN resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
“This is a shameful day in United Nations history. It gives a de facto green light to the on-going murder of LGBT people by homophobic regimes, death squads and vigilantes. They will take comfort from the fact that the UN does not endorse the protection of LGBT people against hate-motivated murder,” said U.K. gay rights and human rights leader Peter Tatchell.
Very timely then that Queer Rising and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST), New York City’s synagogue for LGBTQ Jews, had just released this video. The video draws parallels between Kristallnacht and the increasing, largely unchallenged violence faced by LGBTQ people around the world, and announces the upcoming action In God’s Name: Hate is the Abomination.
On December 16th, the eve of the 10th of Tevet, the National Remembrance Day of those who have died in violence whose names might not otherwise be remembered, the group will march to Prospect Park in Brooklyn and recite together the Mourner’s Kaddish so that Jews and non-Jews may remember of all those whose lives have been destroyed due to anti-LGBTQ violence.
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi of CBST:
Seventy-two years ago, a lifetime away, state-sponsored terrorism chose to attack our people, the Jewish people in the lands then governed by Germany, but soon to be spread to counties all over eastern, western and southern Europe.
The significance of Kristallnacht is not only that 91 people were killed that night, or that close to 2,000 synagogues were destroyed forever – buildings, houses of worship which had been sacred in our community for hundreds of years. Nor that 30,000 men were arrested and taken to concentrations camps, a thousand of whom died there. Most were returned.
But the significance of Kristallnacht was not the just individual experience of Jews in those cities that night. It wasn’t just that the Nazis levied a tax on the Jewish people to actually clean up from the damage done that night by the hate-filled pogroms. But it was that moment, that night on November 9 and November 10th that the words of hatred which had been fueling the fire since the rise of National Socialism in 1933 turned from language to violence.
From 1933 to 1938 there was a series of laws enacted which slowly and inexorably separated out the Jews from the rest of the German population. The Nuremberg Laws made it impossible to Jews to own businesses, to hire non-Jews, to be hired, to go to certain theaters, to be in public spheres of life.
But what really changed on this night 72 years ago was that all that language that started to isolate Jews made it possible for neighbors who had been neighbors for hundreds of years to take up the machete, to take up the gun and to shatter these houses of worship and kill Jews.
After that there was no going back and in some ways we know that Hitler was using these moments in history to see precisely how the world would react. Would there be silence, or would there be condemnation? Would there be an uprising, an outrage from Jews and non-Jews from countries all over the world saying this kind of treatment of citizens would not be tolerated? There was silence, and we all know the outcome of that story.
Hitler only gained more and more power in attacking the Jews, and it was not far from this night of November 9th and 10th, 1938 to the unrolling of the Final Solution itself in the 1940s.
What we are doing here today is to first of all say words matter. How words are used and how words target and isolate individuals and groups matter. And as Jews we reject the idea that any language is OK in order to describe someone differently or in ways that are painful. We reject that.
And most importantly, we will put our bodies on the line to protect those whose physical beings are at risk, not only their spiritual and their emotional beings.
So I’m proud to join together with Jake Goodman and with Queer Rising to make sure that 72 years from today, we can say we were among those who heard the glass shattering in our own cities, in our own states, understood it was our own kind of Kristallnacht happening, but we did whatever we could do to make sure the silence was shattered not just the glass. To make sure that this would not go any further and that there would be those of us who would stand up with full voice and with full body to prevent anything from going inexorably on.
Join us in December and join us on this path. Join us through the Queer Rising website or the CBST website. Join in community as we fight these forces that depend on us to be silent.
To many people, statistics on anti-transgender violence are just numbers. Astounding, perhaps frightening, but still just numbers.
Winter Mullenix is the face of one of those numbers. One of many.
Mullenix was attacked when she was 9 years old by someone who had apparently been stalking her for a while.
“He was disgusted by my behavior. I was living as a boy, but it was obvious to everyone,” she said, describing herself. “I would dance and prance and I hung out with the girls.”
Mullenix said that when she was a child, she would sneak out of the house at night and go to a nearby playground. She isn’t sure now what time she left the night she was attacked, but, she said, she knows she had waited until everyone in the house was sound asleep.
“He jumped me,” she said. “He was hiding near the playground.”
Mullenix said her attacker jumped out from behind a tree or maybe even from inside the hollowed-out old tree. Then he grabbed her and dragged her down to a creek near the playground.
“If you want to be a woman, you have to learn to bleed like a woman,” he told her.
Then he put a knife into her rectum and cut the skin around her tailbone. Then he raped her, using her blood as lubricant, she said.
Before he left her, Mullenix said, he asked, “You don’t want to be a little girl anymore, do you, faggot?”
Those words are burned into her memory, proof that the attack was a hate crime and not just the actions of a violent pedophile.
When he was done, he left Mullenix for dead, laying in a pipe connected to the sewer.
Her memory of getting home is blurry. She told no one about what happened and healed without medical attention. Her attacker was never caught, at least not for this crime. Mullenix never reported the rape.
“I became numb,” she said. “I cut myself off from the world.”
Mullenix said she became delusional and entered a fantasyland to mask her pain. But things started to change five years later when she began the process of coming out as transgender at age 14. She was having severe nightmares.
“I’d doodle a lot during class,” she said. “My Spanish teacher noticed I was drawing very violent things. She worried about what was happening to me and sent me to a school counselor.”
The school counselor referred Mullenix to outside counseling until she achieved her goal at age 20 of having sex reassignment surgery.
“I was focused,” Mullenix said.
She had determination uncommon in a teenager.
Although continuing to dress as a male until age 17, Mullenix knew who she was when she began going to counseling. Throughout her teens she was determined to complete her transition early. She worked, saved money and paid for the surgery herself.
Despite the words of her attacker, Mullenix knew exactly what she wanted and who she was.
“I felt as normal as I could when I completed the transition,” she said.
But Mullenix still suffers the psychological effects of the brutal attack. She has panic attacks and a fear of the dark.
“I can’t sleep without a light on,” she said.
She’s paranoid that someone is going to sneak up behind her and jump her. She scares easily. She’s uncomfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.
“People think I’m a creature of habit,” Mullenix said. But she actually just avoids unfamiliar places.
“I survived,” she said. “But I have friends who died from violent crimes.”
“The homicide rate for transgenders is so high,” said Marla Compton, the coordinator for GEAR, the transgender program at Resource Center Dallas.
Human Rights Campaign estimates that one out of every 1,000 homicides in the U.S. is an anti-transgender hate crime.
“We do have to be more careful,” Mullenix said. “Violence is more likely for us.”
Despite her experiences, Mullenix said that she can’t let what happened control her life.
“[You] have to take control and take proper precautions,” she said. “For me, I’m happily married now and I have some great, supportive friends.”
Mullenix also stressed that a violent situation doesn’t have to mean the end of a normal life.
“I want transgender youth to know they shouldn’t let fear control them if something terrible happened and they survived it,” she said.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is important to Mullenix because it displays unity within the LGBT community.
“It acknowledges us as part of the community,” she said.
“The day gives us a chance to pause and remember those who left us and cherish those who are still here,” Compton said.
She said that having friends and allies attend a TDoR event is emotional and uplifting to her. But she also said that it helps others understand the violence the transgender community faces.
“Fortunately, I’ve never had to read the name of a friend at TDoR,” Compton said.
But too many others have.
Dallas’ Transgender Day of Remembrance observance takes place at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope Sunday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m.
Organizers asked people to participate in the memorial by bringing a flower. Speakers will include Cece Cox and Andy Moreno, with performances by Voice of Pride 2010 winner Mel Arizpe, Women’s Chorus of Dallas ensemble MosaicSong and the Youth First Texas choir PUMP!
In Fort Worth, TDoR remembrance will be held during morning worship at Agape Metropolitan Community Church on Sunday, Nov. 21.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 19, 2010.
Stephen Fry claims to know straight women: "I feel sorry for straight men. The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want. Of course, a lot of women will deny this and say, 'Oh no, but I love sex, I love it!' But do they go around having it the way that gay men do?"
Julianne Moore on gay parents: "I really think a two-parent family is the goal. I think whether they are men or women, or a man and a woman it's all pretty good."
Hate crime: wig snatched off of Fargo drag performer JustNtyme's head after assailant calls him a "faggot."
Courage Campaign mounts drive against Texas television station for its homophobic newscast about marriage equality.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs releases report on LGBT domestic partner violence in the United States: "The report found that LGBTQ domestic/intimate partner violence reports rose 15% since 2008 and is a pervasive social problem at a time when LGBTQ-specific programs were losing staff or closing altogether due to the economic crisis. In 2009, NCAVP documented 6 murders related to LGBTQ domestic/intimate partner violence, representing a 50% rise since 2007."
Watch the trailer for Out: The Glenn Burke Story, a documentary about the first openly gay MLB player.
Zach Galifianakis smoked during a live taping of Real Time with Bill Maher – and I don't mean a cigarette.
Ugh. It appears the Uganda newspaper Rolling Stone's attempt to incite violence against its Top 100 list of homos is working: "Several people have been attacked in Uganda after a local newspaper published their names and photos, saying they were homosexual, an activist has told the BBC. Frank Mugisha said one woman was almost killed after her neighbours started throwing stones at her house. He said most of those whose names appeared in Uganda's Rolling Stone paper had been harassed." Not that backers of the two-month-old Rolling Stone are taking responsibility: Editor Giles Muhame says that despite a call to "hang" the people on his list, he wants only for law enforcement to investigate those "recruiting children to homosexuality." And then execute the guilty.
The Art Conspiracy people call what they do street-level philanthropy. We call it greatness. This year’s lineup was filled in 13 minutes. That may be a record. The annual event raises money for nonprofits with this year’s proceeds going to Today Marks the Beginning which educates children on non-violence through art. If that’s not enough, then the reasonably priced art and local live bands will make the night more worthwhile. Local gay artist Robb Conover, pictured, is among the artists featuring work.
We were all holding out hope that it wouldn't happen, but it did. A day after a large anti-gay march in Serbia's capital, violence disrupted today's pride parade in Belgrade, the first one held in that country since 2001. hundreds of right-wing protesters. attacked and injured at least 100 people, including many of the thousands of police officers who were present to protect the pro-gay activists.
Several parked cars were set on fire or damaged, shop windows were broken, garbage containers were overturned and streets signs destroyed. Several shops were looted. The rioters fired shots and hurled petrol bombs at the headquarters of the ruling pro-Western Democratic Party, setting the garage of the building on fire. The state TV building and other political parties headquarters were also attacked, with many of the house windows shattered by stones. The protesters, chanting "death to homosexuals!" hurled Molotov cocktails, bricks, stones, glass bottles and firecrackers at riot police. Police responded by firing tear gas and deploying armored vehicles to disperse the charging protesters in the heart of the capital even after the brief pride march ended.
The protesters hijacked a bus, ordered all of its passengers and the driver out, and pushed it down a steep street before it hit an electric pole on a main Belgrade square. An organizer, Lazar Pavlovic, said that staging of the pride march was a "historic event." He condemned the violence and noted that the incidents and immense security measures illustrate the dangers the gay people in Serbia are facing.
Apparently the protesters also caused about .3 million in damage.
Reactions from Belgrade officials:
Serbian President Boris Tadic: "Serbia will guarantee human rights for all its citizens, regardless of the differences among them, and no attempts to revoke these freedoms with violence will be allowed,"
Led by well-known drag performers, hundreds marched in Amsterdam today in protest of the city’s recent rash of violence against LGBT citizens. The rally was organized by the LGBT group Right To Feel Safe. Posters with the details of each of the attacks were affixed to street poles at the incidents’ locations along the march route. A fuller account of today’s action can be found in Dutch here.