Today is December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. There have been many days related to sex work and violence over the last month or two and many days that remember a myriad of other causes. The danger of days of rememberance is that each special day obscures the next. Will we remember today tomorrow? Is a day sufficient for such an important subject? Don't other causes have awareness months? Will violence against sex workers have ceased by tomorrow?
(Co-authored with Elizabeth Wood.)
Emily of Sexual Ambiguities has rightly called for the recognition and addressing of the real issues of transgendered people that so often get ignored or dismissed even within the broader framework of the equality movements of feminism and gay rights.
We have not blogged about any of the recent heartbreaking and horrifying stories in recent months, not because we don't think they are important - we think they are incredibly important - but because we have been at a loss for words, unable to think of anything new to say. After reading her call, we believe that we don't need to have anything new to say. It is enough to add another voice to those calling for attention to stories like these:
Angie Zapata, 18, of Greeley Colorado, was killed on July 16, 2008. She was killed because she was transgendered. The New York Times reported yesterday morning that Allen Ray Andrade, the 31-year old charged with killing her, is being charged with murder as a hate crime.
Andrade reportedly confessed to police that he bludgeoned Zapata to death the day after they had met. When they met, he said, Zapata performed a sex act on him. The next day some pictures in Zapata's apartment made him wonder about her gender. Reportedly he asked her. She answered "I'm all woman," he grabbed her crotch, found a penis there, and started beating her up with a fire extinguisher.
He told police that at one point during the assault he thought he had "killed it." Then he realized he hadn't. And then he did.
Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell, and Annette Nicholls
Those are the names of the five women, sex workers each one, who were murdered in 2006. I vividly remember attending the vigil here in New York in December of 2006 when their names were read among the many names of sex workers who had been killed that year.
Yesterday Stephen Wright was convicted of their murders. He will be sentenced today. He faces life in prison.
The New York Times today offers more evidence that when we complain about sex and violence in the media we are really just upset about the sex. The evidence? Christian churches using the violent video game Halo as a way to draw teens into church. One youth director explains: “We have to find something that these kids are interested in doing that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol or premarital sex.” It is interesting to note that the violence in Halo gets it a "M" rating (for "mature" audiences only) which means that for the most part the young people playing the game in their church basements wouldn't be able to buy it legally on their own. Does this make youth pastors pushers of "adult material"?
September 19, 2007 – New York, NY - Susan Wright and Larry Iannotti would like to announce the launch of the second national Survey of Violence & Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities, being conducted in cooperation with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. This survey includes all of the questions asked on NCSF's ground-breaking 1998 Violence & Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities survey, and includes new questions on personal, business, and Internet discrimination experienced by BDSM-leather-fetish practitioners.
The link to the survey is on NCSF's website: www.ncsfreedom.org
Please take a minute to fill out this anonymous survey even if you have not been a victim of violence or discrimination. Demographic data and information about participation in a variety of BDSM-leather-fetish activities are also being gathered. This survey will be distributed for one year, and the results will be released in early 2009.