Thursday, June 07, 2007

Speed Skater: Transgender Athlete

Chile: Transgender murders go unpunished

Chilean court freed Andrea Sanchez's confessed killer. Album de familia de Andrea Sánchez

Benjamin Witte. Jun 6, 2007

Hate crime is on the rise.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee turned its attention to Chile this year — something it has not done since 1999. And, for the first time ever, the committee made a brief reference to problems affecting the country’s sexual minorities.

The Committee praised Chile for finally doing away with legislation in 1998 that criminalized homosexual relationships.

But “the Committee is still concerned about the discrimination to which certain people are subject because of their sexual orientation. Among other areas, [discrimination] exists in the courts and in access to health care,” the UN body concluded, following its 89th session in March.

The report went largely unnoticed in Chile. The country’s mainstream press made no mention of the Committee’s conclusions nor local media note that on March 23, a court in the northern desert city of Calama — as if to illustrate the Committee’s observations exactly — concluded a two-and-a-half-year-old case involving a murdered transvestite by allowing the confessed killer to walk free.

Ana Sánchez, a middle-aged woman from Santiago’s impoverished La Granja district has neither read nor even heard of the recent Human Rights Committee report. Without realizing it though, she is familiar with its contents. After all, it was her son — Calama resident Andrea Sánchez (born Fernando Andrés) — who on Nov. 12, 2004 was brutally beaten to death by a man who bought her sexual services for 2,000 pesos, less than US$4.

The attacker, later identified as Víctor Vicencio Marín, was arrested at the scene of the crime. He spent the next three days in jail, but then went free on bail. “Turns out it’s cheap to kill a faggot,” he was quoted as telling reporters upon his release.

Despite the killer’s admitted guilt, the case dragged on. Vicencio was able to hire a private lawyer. Ana Sánchez was not. Finally, in late March, the Calama criminal court reached a decision: a four-year suspended sentence thanks to Vicencio Marín’s plea bargain. Unless he commits another crime, the confessed murderer will not spend a single additional day in prison. . . .

Transgender in Russia

(Approximately 33% of the clicks on my blog come from outside the US. Russia is the low count with typically 1% or less.)

Transphobia in Russia
Brian Dark / LGBT center together (RUS)

Unfortunately, there are few transgender specialists in Russia. They work only in big cities, such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk. They say there are some transgender specialists in Rostov-Na-Donu, but anyway the situation is far from perfect. Doctors (psychiatrists) often don’t see the difference between transgender inclination and schizophrenia . They mix up self-idendification with sexual orientation. There is no fixed document in Russian legislation, which lets a determine sequence of changing the documents simultaneously or before changing the sex. Few people can change documents before the operation. The transgender problem is considered to be a completely medical one. That means that only doctors deal with transgenders, but there is no social support for them.

Transgender people often face homophobia and transphobia, especially in small towns. Transgender people are often abused, insulted and raped. However, victims seldom go to the police. There are cases, when transgender persons went to the police, but they were refused any help, because there is also great homophobia among policemen. In the media this topic has scandalous and marginal trace, most „normal people“ think that transgenders are prostitutes or people, lost for the society.

We would like to find new friends among foreign transgender people, to learn their experience with homophobia and transphobia and their adaptation after the change of the sex. We are interested in everything connected with the life of transgender people abroad.


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Interview: We're Here, We're Queer ... Kind of

Authors Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall on mystery and being second-born

By Amy Atkins

Jacob and Diane Anderson-Minshall

Blind Curves, the first in the Blind Eye mystery novel series by husband-and-wife writing team Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall, opens with investigative reporter and lesbian Velvet Erickson flipping off passing motorists as she cruises down San Francisco's 101 North freeway. Velvet is soon the prime suspect in the murder of a prominent lesbian publisher and turns to Yoshi Yakamota, her blind lesbian, private investigator friend, and Yoshi's assistant, Tucker Shade, an ex-Idaho lesbian, for help.

Yes, there's a pattern here. The publisher of Blind Curves is Bold Strokes Books, a company that publishes lesbian-themed fiction by lesbian authors that appeals to not only a lesbian audience, but also a larger lesbian-gay-bi-transgender (LGBT) audience. And, before 2005, Diane and Jacob would have been called lesbian authors because until 2005, Jacob was Susannah prior to undergoing female-to-male sex reassignment surgery. Now the couple, who are both from Idaho and met at a Pride rally, are husband and wife. . . .