Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Transwoman Murdered Behind Apartment Dumpster

"Miss Nate Nate" Davis, 44, murdered transwoman

Houston, Texas – A 44-year old transwoman was shot to death behind a North Houston apartment dumpster just after midnight on Monday morning.  Known as “Miss Nate Nate,” the victim, née Nathan Eugene Davis, was pronounced dead on the scene.  Trans community members are rallying to call attention to this latest brutal murder perpetrated against the Houston transgender population.  Ms. Davis was known by merchants and residents in the area, and had contact with the police in the days prior to the fatal attack, according to Click2 Houston. The Houston Police Department has released a composite drawing of the suspect in the killing, described by witnesses as a 5’11” tall African American male in his 20’s or 3o’s with a muscular physique.  No motive has been announced for the murder as of this writing. Issues of gender identity, self-naming, and popular misconceptions concerning transgender people are swirling around this story.  The local and regional media, picking up on the misreporting of the Houston Police as to the gender identity of the victim, have mis-identified Ms. Davis as a “man.”  For years, Ms. Davis chose to identify herself as a female, and lived her life accordingly.  Police are calling her a sex worker.  Most news stories reflect the none-too-sublte bias of law enforcement officers and media professionals, that the life choices, dress, and habits of the victim somehow explain why and how this crime happened.  The transphobia embedded in the culture often comes to the fore in such critical moments, when the character and legitimacy of whole populations of trans people are called into question by the dominant culture.  Ms. Davis was described by local merchants as “respectful,””nice,” and “courteous.”  There are no leads to the whereabouts of her killer as yet but according to ABC News 13, a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect has been posted as an incentive to the public.  A memorial of fresh-cut flowers and rainbow flags was placed near the site of “Miss Nate Nate’s” murder on Tuesday, thanks to the leadership of Cristan Williams, local activist.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, GLBTQ, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Media Issues, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Popular Culture, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gays Seek Safer Houston in Last “Unfinished Lives” Pride Month Session

Dr. Sprinkle speaks to a full house at Resurrection MCC Houston on "Unfinished Lives" book

Houston, Texas – Strategies for mobilizing the LGBTQ community to act for a safer Houston will be the focus of the concluding “Unfinished Lives” Session at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church this Friday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, professor at Brite Divinity School and author of Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2011), will offer Houstonians effective ways to prevent hate crimes, wrestle with with issue of anti-LGBTQ teen school bullying and suicide, and close ranks with transgender Americans to staunch the alarming number of violent attacks upon then in today’s world.  Attendance and enthusiasm remained strong at the June 10 session on lessons and insights the stories of hare crimes victims teach the wider community.  Dr. Sprinkle lifted up five lessons we stand to learn from LGBTQ people who have died because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.  In brief, these were: 1) confront head on the rising number of violent attacks against the queer community with educational efforts, 2) deal with the amnesia of the LGBTQ community, media, and the general public about queer hate crime murders, 3) begin the long-overdue conversation about transphobia and transgender hate crimes in America, 4) use the language of outrage when speaking about LGBTQ hate crimes, not the language of “tragendy,” and 5) the necessity of dealing with the religious and theological roots of anti-gay and transgender hate violence.  The stories of Ryan Keith Skipper of Wahneta, Florida and Talana Quay Kreeger of Wilmington, North Carolina were highlighted to illustrate Dr. Sprinkle’s lecture. Session Three: Strategies for Mobilization and Activism will continue this no-nonsense approach to the crisis of anti-LGBTQ hate violence in contemporary church and society.  The series is co-sponsored by Resurrection MCC Houston, Cathedral of Hope Houston, and the Transgender Foundation of America.  As always, a light supper is provided and the public is invited at no charge.  Make Pride Month count for more than a parade and a party, and come out to this important final session.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-Gay Hate Groups, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Asian Americans, bi-phobia, Bisexual persons, Bullying in schools, Florida, gay bashing, gay men, gay teens, gender identity/expression, Gender Variant Youth, GLBTQ, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Legislation, Lesbian women, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ, LGBTQ suicide, Matthew Shepard Act, Media Issues, North Carolina, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Politics, Public Theology, Queer, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Remembrances, Resurrection MCC Houston, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Progressive Houston Clergy Oppose Gov. Perry’s So-Called “Day of Prayer”

Rick Perry wants to be Governor PrayPal

Houston, Texas – Governor Rick Perry is beating the hate drum in Houston again, under the guise of a Christian prayer rally.  Perry, in partnership with a known anti-gay hate group, the American Family Association, plans to pack out Reliant Stadium on August 6, 2011, in a crass attempt to camouflage a rightwing, anti-gay, anti-choice agenda.  Hitching his political ambitions to evangelical Protestant and conservative Roman Catholic religion is a well-worn strategy of Perry’s.  In 2005, he launched a political campaign by a showy signing ceremony for a bill curtailing abortion practices in Texas at Fort Worth’s Calvary Cathedral International, a large church pastored by a man who held anti-abortion views. Houston’s clergy are not taking this most recent charade of the Governor’s passively.  According to the Houston Chronicle, 24 local leaders, representing thousands of fair-minded Houstonians, issued an open letter to the Governor on Monday.  The full text of the letter follows, so Unfinished Lives Blog readers may see the full power of Progressive Religious leadership in opposition to this thinly-veiled attempt to co-opt Christianity for extremist right wing purposes.

June 13, 2011 As Houston clergy, we write to express our deep concern over Governor Rick Perry’s proclamation of a day of prayer and fasting at Houston’s Reliant Stadium on August 6th. In our role as faith leaders, we encourage and support prayer, meditation, and spiritual practice. Yet our governor’s religious event gives us pause for a number of reasons: We believe in a healthy boundary between church and state. Out of respect for the state, we believe that it should represent all citizens equally and without preference for religious or philosophical tradition. Out of respect for religious communities, we believe that they should foster faithful ways of living without favoring one political party over another. Keeping the church and state separate allows each to thrive and upholds our proud national tradition of empowering citizens to worship freely and vote conscientiously. We are concerned that our governor has crossed the line by organizing and leading a religious event rather than focusing on the people’s business in Austin. We also express concern that the day of prayer and fasting at Reliant Stadium is not an inclusive event. As clergy leaders in the nation’s fourth largest city, we take pride in Houston’s vibrant and diverse religious landscape. Our religious communities include Bahais, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Unitarian Universalists, and many other faith traditions. Our city is also home to committed agnostics and atheists, with whom we share common cause as fellow Houstonians. Houston has long been known as a “live and let live” city, where all are respected and welcomed. It troubles us that the governor’s prayer event is not open to everyone. In the publicized materials, the governor has made it clear that only Christians of a particular kind are welcome to pray in a certain way. We feel that such an exclusive event does not reflect the rich tapestry of our city. Our deepest concern, however, lies in the fact that funding for this event appears to come from the American Family Association, an organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The American Family Association and its leadership have a long track record of anti-gay speech and have actively worked to discriminate against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. The American Family Association and its leadership have also been stridently anti-Muslim, going so far as to question the rights of Muslim Americans to freely organize and practice their faith. We believe it is inappropriate for our governor to organize a religious event funded by a group known for its discriminatory stances. As religious leaders, we commit to join with all Houstonians in working to make our city a better place. We will lead our communities in prayer, meditation, and spiritual practice. We ask that Rick Perry leave the ministry to us and refocus his energy on the work of governing our state.  Signed//: Members of the Houston Clergy Council

June 15, 2011 Posted by | American Family Association, Anti-Gay Hate Groups, bi-phobia, Bisexual persons, gay men, GLBTQ, Governor Rick Perry, Heterosexism and homophobia, Houston Clergy Council, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Politics, Protests and Demonstrations, Public Theology, religious intolerance, Resurrection MCC Houston, Social Justice Advocacy, Southern Poverty Law Center, Texas, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

   

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