Law and Justice

South Carolina DMV sued in federal court over gender policing incident

Last March Chase Culpepper, 16, applied for a South Carolina driver's license. Chase is gender non-conforming but still uses male pronouns. At the DMV Chase was told that he could not have his license photo taken unless he removed the make-up he uses on a daily basis.

I covered the story at the time: Disguise and Deception, complete with the basic concept:


No amount of makeup remover can erase how he feels.

The government should not be in the business of telling men and women how we are supposed to look as men and women.

--Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF)

On Tuesday TLDEF filed a federal lawsuit against the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles brought by Theresa Culpepper on behalf of her minor child, asking the court to rule that denying Chase the freedom to wear his everyday makeup in his license photo constitutes sex discrimination and violates his right to free speech and expression under the United States Constitution. The suit also seeks a ruling that the DMV's policy (roughly, that it cannot take the photo of anyone who is "in disguise") is unconstitutionally vague, too broad, and allows DMV employees to "police gender" (i.e. to arbitrarily decide how a driver's license applicant should look without regard to the rights of the people they are supposed to serve).



VotSquare for Saturday, 30 August 2014

A Lead Arts & Entertainment Story: Top Ten Labor Day Songs, By Peter Rothberg at The Nation.

Or click on the headline to go to the embedded paper here at the Voices on the Square site. Note that the embed is not compatible with all devices.



Gender Prison: Apparently we deserve the murders we get

Dantijer Dominick Powell, 19, of SanBernadino, CA had a hearing yesterday in the case of the murder of transwoman Fontana resident Domonique Newburn in 2013.

Powell has been held without bail since his arrest in Springfield, MO in February and extradition to California. Newburn, an actress who appeared in the web reality series Hollywood Houseboys about four gay friends trying to make it in the entertainment business, also had her car and other items stolen. Her Black Mercedes Benz was found abandoned at Perris Hill Park.

 photo newburn_zps3a1aaa22.jpg

There’s a possibility Powell and Newburn were involved in a relationship of some sort. 

--Police Spokesman Doug Imhof, at the time of the killing

Police also said they were looking in the possibility that Newburn was involved in the sex trade...I guess in an attempt to paint the murder as justified.

Lots of transgendered people turn to the sex trades during their transition. Sometimes it’s the only job they can get.

--transwoman, Tara Wallace, 26, at the vigil outside Newburn's apartment in the days after the murder

Jamie Nicole Cotton, 26, of Highland, is charged as an accessory in the murder for helping Powell flee prosecution.




Doing the right thing

crossposted from: Humanitarian Left

from Humanitarian Left, 24 June, 2014

* Originally posted at Daily Kos

We have rules in society, and for the most part, generally speaking and at their most basic level, they are good ones: don't rob, steal, kill, set your neighbor's house on fire, etc. But not all rules are equal, and while playing by them is usually good and the right thing to do – that's not always true.

henry-david-thoreau-daguerreotype-1856 72dpi copy

“If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.”

Henry David Thoreau



Real Times in Baltimore

I have been offline for the past month during our move to the Los Angeles area. But life has gone on for other people elsewhere, so I have a lot to report over the next week or so.

 photo henderson_zps051dee77.jpgTwo African American transwomen have been murdered in Baltimore in the past six weeks. Most recently the body of Mia Henderson was found in a northwest Baltimore alleyway.

When other folk are killed, you know all about it,. But where are the flowers, where are the candles and cuddly toys for Mia? Where are the leaflets asking people to come forward with information? There’s none of that.

--Michele Moore, 31

As usual media reports revealed Henderson's birth name and past criminal history.



glorifying war is a sin

I have several old friends who turned into rwnjs. One of them, who never had a political thought in his head, married into republican money and now he is one. He disowned me when he found out I wasn't, and we were once best friends (we hitchhiked across country together when we were teenagers). Another of them is a staunchly pro-military rw christian who served in the navy decades ago and still can't get the martial music out of her head. She hasn't disowned me but is mystified why I don't see everything in the same simplistic terms that she does. It's all very simple to her.

She has included me on her mailing list and is in the habit of blasting the list with rightwing spam. We have had issues with it over the years. I resent being sent such mindless crap and have explained that to no avail. I still get blasted with it. I know, I should just not open the email...but I can't help myself. That she keeps sending me this stuff, knowing full well how I feel about it, pisses me off. We've been over all this quite a few times as I have tried valiantly to make her see that Jesus wouldn't approve of all the killing.



The problem with presidents

crossposted from: Humanitarian Left


* Originally posted at Daily Kos

We tend to think of presidents and presidential candidates as autonomous actors. They are not.

We'd like to believe that if we just elect the right person, someone with the right stuff, a reformer, a visionary, someone with a dream for America, that they will, by the sheer force of who they are, change the sad and tragic trajectory of our nation. They won't.

The presidency is both a shiny object and a heat sink. It distracts us from what's being done to us, and to others in our names, while taking the heat off of those doing it. The Presidential cult of personality is but the shiniest of a whole raft of shiny objects that keep we, the little people, distracted while the 'smart money' has their way with us.



50 Years After Freedom Summer

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against blacks and women, including racial segregation.
It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that
served the general public ("public accommodations"). Powers given to enforce the act were initially weak, but were upplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment.

This year also marks the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer,
also known as the Mississippi Project, a campaign to register as many
African-American voters as possible, especially in the state of
Mississippi. That campaign was marked with violence by the locals directed against the outsiders.




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