Law and Justice

Trans woman raped by corrections officer at Rikers, files federal lawsuit

A transgender woman, identified only as M.T., who is a former inmate at Rikers Island has filed suit in Manhattan Federal Court claiming she was sexually assaulted repeatedly by a corrections officer at the Robert N. Davoren Complex after having been harassed for months by the officer.

M. T. claims she was raped by Officer L. Galan on Dec. 2, 2012.

Galan stated that Plaintiff ‘could do this the easy way or the hard way,’ Plaintiff did not feel that (she) could walk away or call out for help.

--the lawsuit



Pemberton just defending his honor

Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton testified yesterday in his trial for the murder of Fillipina transgender woman Jennifer Laude.

Reporters have not been allowed in the court room, so all information about the proceedings has come from news conferences held by the various lawyers.

Pemberton testified yesterday that his sister is a lesbian, so he is not a if his sister being lesbian automatically implies he could not be transphobic.

Then he proceeded to prove that statement to be in error.

Pemberton testified that he had gotten drunk while on furlough in Olongapo City and had been deceived by transgender sex workers Barbie Gelviro and Jennifer Laude.




Federal Judge nixes Title IX legal theory

Gavin Grimm sat quietly in the audience last November as dozens of parents at a school board meeting in Gloucester County, Va., demanded that he be barred from using the boys’ restrooms at school. They discussed the transgender boy’s genitals, expressed concern that he might expose himself and cautioned that being in a men’s room would make the teenager vulnerable to rape. One person called him a “freak.”

When Gavin, 16, got his turn at the podium, he was remarkably composed. “I didn’t ask to be this way,” Gavin said. “All I want to do is be a normal child and use the restroom in peace.”

Today, Judge Robert Doumar of Federal District Court in Virginia was scheduled to consider whether Gloucester school board's banning of Gavin from the men's restroom consitutes unlawful discrimination.

Judge. Doumar said in federal court in Norfolk on Monday that it was "highly unlikely" that he will grant a preliminary injunction that would require Gloucester County Public Schools to allow a 16-year-old transgender student to use the boys' restroom this fall.

The injunction is a part of a lawsuit filed on behalf of Gavin Grimm by the American Civil Liberties Union, which seeks a court order requiring the school board to let Grimm use the boys' restroom, even though he was born female.

Doumar said he will issue a written opinion on the injunction and after that, set a trial date on the lawsuit.

Doumar did dismiss the Title IX discrimination claims in the lawsuit, saying federal law allows schools to have separate restrooms based on sex.

The DOJ had filed a statement of interest on behalf of Gavin earlier this month.



Judge, jury uphold HERO

A state judge in Texas ruled that opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) did not gather enough signatures to force a repeal referendum.

After separate rulings from both a jury and state District Judge Robert Schaffer, attorneys for both sides entered dueling counts of the valid signatures, adding and subtracting voters as Schaffer responded to motions. By early this week, the counts were closer together than ever before, fewer than 1,000 signatures apart.

Ultimately, Schaffer on Friday ruled the final count of valid signatures was 16,684, leaving opponents short of the threshold required in the city charter of 17,249 signatures, or 10 percent of the ballots cast in the last mayoral election.

(As) a matter of fact and as a matter of law the Referendum Petition is not valid or enforceable in all respects.

--Judge Robert Schaffer



The dress code is on your birth certificate

 photo broussard_zpsvne0daif.jpgTristan Brousard is a 21-year-old native of Hathaway, LA, in Jefferson Davis Parrish. The transgender man has filed a sex disrimination lawsuit against his former employer, First Tower Loan LLC, which is based in Flowood, Mississippi and has offices in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois.

Broussard says that he was forced out of his job in Lake Charles, LA, after a company executive discovered he was born female. Tower was hired in February of 2013 as a sales representative and in March a supervisor was going over his employment papers and noticed that his driver's license listed him as female. Broussard told the supervisor that he was transgender.

Most people that don't know me from before can't tell.




EEOC rules for equality again

 photo Lusardi_zpsxn3pmqcs.jpgThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that the US Army must financially compensate Tamara Lusardi for employment discrimination she experienced while working at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.

The ruling follows a verdict previous issued in Lusardi's case in October in which the EEOC labeled actions taken against her by supervisors were discriminatory. Those actions included barring Lusardi from the women's restroom and continuing to use male pronouns and her former name. The EEOC found at that time that the supervisors were violating a federal law which "which prohibits discrimination based on conduct that does not adversely affect job performance."



Stipe, John condemn treatment of transgender prisoners

Michael Stipe and Elton John issued a joint statement yesterday condemning the treatment of transgender prisoners in the state of Georgia.

Transgender women in male prisons have an equal right to protection from violence and abuse in prison, yet they continue to face horrific injustices.

The musicians referred to both the situation of Ashley Diamond, linked above, and that of Zahara Green, who was forced to perform oral sex on a prisoner at Rogers State Prison in 2012. When Ms. Green complained, she was placed in protective the same cell as her abuser. There she was raped repeatedly for 14 hours before a guard came to check on the situation.



DOJ intervenes in case of Ashley Diamond

 photo Ashley_Diamond_zpsva39xxxv.jpgThe Department of Justice has filed a 19-page brief in the case of Ashley Diamond v Owens, et al. in a District Court in Georgia.

Ms. Diamond, 36, lived openly as a transgender woman since she was a teen, but was arrested for theft, probation violation, escape, and obstruction of justice. She was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of 11 years. She was, of course, sent to a male prison.

You’d have thought she murdered a small village. But it was their final chance to get her out of Rome, and they did.

--Charles Neal Sumlin, victim of the theft



Gender Prison: Trial begins in the killing of Jennifer Laude

 photo Laude_zpsegwflf54.jpgThe trial of Marine Pfc. Joseph Pemberton in the murder of transgender Fillipina Jennifer Laude began yesterday.

 photo Pemberton_zpsoox2j9xa.jpgPemberton arrived in court with what was called a security escort but appears to the casual observer to be his entourage.

Laude's mother, Julita Cabillan, when approached by reporters was reported to have said that she would not drop the case, even is she was offered a million dollars.

Lawyers for the Laude family say that prosecutor Emilie Fe de los Santos had taken that statement as a sign that the Laude family was open to a plea bargain and that the prosecutor promoted that idea with defense attorneys.

Laude's relatives say they received a letter from Pemberton offering 21 million pesos (US $468,000) in exchange for their approval to lower the charge from murder to homicide. Murder carries a 40 year sentence, while homicide gets 20 years.

No amount of money could pay for the years I spent raising my child.

What they did to my child was gruesome. Just because we are poor doesn't mean we can't fight for justice.






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