RIP Reverend BobbieJean Baker

Reverend BobbieJean Baker, 49, of City of Refuge United Church of Christ in San Francisco and Oakland had officiated at a New Year's Eve Watch Night worship service in Oakland, along with Bishop Yvette Flunder from the same church.

Baker moved to the Bay Area in 1992 from Memphis, TN. She served as west Coast Regional TransSaints Minister of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries and Lay Minister at Transcending Transgender Ministries at City of Refuge. She was also lead singer of the all transgender member Transcendence Gospel Choir. She also worked at San Francisco's Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center as a substance abuse and transgender health counsellor.

My purpose is to help you break whatever it is that had you bound so that you can move to better yourself. I'm willing to hold hands and walk you through every phase, but I am not willing to be your babysitter. There comes a time when you need to really step up and do the work for you.

--BobbieJean Baker, to her clients

At the service Bishop Flunder says Baker seemed to know she didn't have much time left.

She gave best wishes to everyone, wonderful, kind words. She went way out of her way speaking to everyone and wishing them the best for the coming year. It was incredible the space that she was in.

--Bishop Flunder

After the service Reverend Baker went to the home of gay deacon Bobby Wiseman where there was to be a traditional meal of corn bread and black-eyed peas.

[It was almost as if she knew] that something was coming, because she was so unusually specific in many of the ways she was going around talking to different people and encouraging them through their own struggles.

--Bishop Yvette Flunder

Wiseman says that at about 2:30 am he was driving his Ford Expedition west on I-580 in Oakland to take Baker home, "remembering the good times and the friends that we've lost over the years" when a silver and black car bumped his SUV on the left before swerving away. Wiseman's vehicle fishtailed and then rolled two or three times before landing upside down at the Park Boulevard exit. Wiseman managed to crawl out of the vehicle through the window, but he and a bystander were unable to free Baker. Both of them had been wearing seat belts.

Baker died at the scene.




We don't come to steal or destroy gender. We are here to liberate it.

The LATimes recently ran an article by Robin Abcarian in its L.A. Now section entitled Right wing frenzied over transgender students choosing bathroom.

Of course the target of all the hate is specifically the School Success and Opportunity Act, better known as AB 1266…and incidentally the state's transgender students.

The School Success and Opportunity Act, the first of its kind in the nation, did not sit well with California’s waning conservative Christian base, which has lately been in danger of becoming the political equivalent of the polar bear stranded on the ice floe.


Now there's an interesting image.



Gender Prison: Californians voting on transgender student rights seen as "unlikely"

Earlier this month, those opposed to California's new law AB1266 (who call themselves Privacy for All Students), which would provide transgender students with equal access to academic programs, submitted 613,120 petitioner signatures in an attempt to qualify repeal of the bill as a November, 2014 ballot initiative. Initiative rules stipulate that 504,760 of those signatures have to be valid for the initiative to take a place on the ballot.

Simple math shows that calls for 82.3% of the signatures to belong to registered California voters. Not so simple reasoning says unless the number of valid signatures required is actually 95% of the 504,760, which would be 479,522, the bill would fail to qualify for the ballot.

Currently the the signatures are averaging just 75% authenticity, which would only garner 459840 valid signatures, nearly 20000 short of the number necessary. Thus the appeal referendum currently appears unlikely to qualify.

The Executive Director of Equality California, John O'Connor, says that"it's unlikely, [but] not impossible" that the measure will come up for referendum.




Bullying of Transgender Student in California...but there is no need for AB1266?

I should not be surprised that the Pacific Justice Institute has not spoken out against the attempt to keep a Texas trans teen's photo out of his high school yearbook…or the recent bullying incident in Hercules, CA. That is, except for the fact that I have expected the PJI to speak out in favor of the bullying by the administrator in the former case and the other students in the latter.

The PJI, along with the National Organization for Marriage, is the muscle behind the ballot initiative to halt implementation of California's AB1266, which provides equal access to educational programs to transgender students. The PJI and NOM think equality for transkids would be an awful thing…a sign of the coming of the apocalypse.

Hercules, CA? Most of us have never heard of it, I'm sure. Hercules is an East Bay city, a former company town, established to house the workers who assembled explosives used for much of the 20th Century. Hercules is 22% White, 19% African American. 46% Asian and 15% Hispanic/Latino.

And they have is a transgender girl in the high school. A cellphone video is circulating which appears to to involve mutual combat involving the transgender girl and three other girls. School officials are saying, however, that the fight was a direct result of bullying.

Police and school officials are investigating [the incident] as a possible hate crime.



New game: "Burn the Tranny"

Richard Thomas' mother is defending him. According to her, the 16-year-old Thomas is not homophobic and didn't mean to hurt anyone last Monday.

My son is not a hateful person. He's not homophobic. He was joking, and he didn't know it would go that far.

I am very sorry, very sorry for my son's actions. I did not raise him that way.

--Ms. Jackson, Thomas' mother

 photo sasha_zpsd2829755.jpgHis mother says Richard is very sorry and is writing a letter of apology to his 18-year-old victim, Sasha Fleishman. Fleishman identifies as gender-neutral…which is sometimes called neutrois. Fleishman made the mistake of dozing off on a public bus in Oakland. Thomas thought it would be funny to set fire to Fleishman's skirt.

The intentional and callous nature of the crime is shocking and will not be tolerated in our community.

--Nancy O'Malley, Alameda County District Attorney



Gender Prison: Erasing transgender

The Privacy for All Students campaign is inappropriately named because transgender students are excluded from the "all." But the group, which began in California to fight for the repeal of AB 1266 (a bill passed to ensure education equity for transgender students) and has already gained the support of the National Organization for Marriage, is gaining more support around the country from conservative groups around the country. Most recently throwing their support behind the repeal is the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

Brandon McGinley of the PFI has penned a screed entitled Saving Our Locker Rooms, in which he details the dangerous "[e]fforts to remove gender distinctions from public facilities".

In my home state of Pennsylvania, official legal guidance published by the city of Philadelphia on its gender identity ordinance declares that discomfort with sharing personal facilities with those of the opposite biological sex stems from “unsubstantiated fears and discriminatory attitudes” that employers are bound by law to attempt to “eliminate.”


So McGinley proposes what he claims are "cogent, rational arguments against non-discrimination laws" that would benefit transgender people. I do not think the word "rational" means what he think it means.





Assumptions can be dangerous to people who are habitually marginalized. One of the big assumptions that people make about the concept of "transgender" is that transgender is a subset of homosexual. It is not. I do not have data to turn to, but I have heard, as I shared in a diary last week, that about 1/4 of transgender people are gay or lesbian, 1/4 are heterosexual, 1/4 are bisexual and 1/4 are asexual.

What exactly that says about the influence of the normalized control of gender and sexuality by our culture is something I'll let other people discuss.

But the assumption has a large impact on the everyday lives of gender-variant people. Even scientists studying sexually-transmitted diseases jump to the conclusion that transgender women are "men who have sex with men." And even direct evidence to the contrary often does not dissuade people from adopting the assumption.

Tonight I have two cases in point.



Gender Prison: NOM dumps protecting marriage in order to attack transgender kids

NOM, the self-proclaimed National Organization for Marriage, has decided to branch out. Not content to stand up for the downtrodden Americans who believe in marriage inequality, Brian Brown and his minions have decided they need to interfere with the lives and liberties of transgender students in California.

NOM has decided that treating transgender people equally in public schools just won't do. So they have set their sights on attacking transgender teenagers.

As a 501(c)(4), the organization has to have a mission statement, which is the following:

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.

At least, that was the Mission Statement as recorded in 2010 by PewResearch's Religion & Public Life Project.

While its name may suggest it is a one-trick operation, the National Organization for Marriage has serious range when it comes to being completely awful. Far from just focusing its advocacy and lobbying work to deny gay people equal marriage and adoption rights, NOM also uses its (marginal) political heft to do things like oppose basic protections for transgender teenagers.

--Katie McDonough, Salon




Again and Again

 photo melony_zps5844d578.jpgOn the afternoon of September 9 Leticia Alvarado, cashier at a motel in the 13900 block of Francisquito Avenue in Baldwin Park CA, discovered the body of her friend Melony Smith in her motel room.

Alvarado says that Smith had been staying in the motel on and off for three years.

We became very close. She called me sister. I was her sister.

Before I go to work, I always stop by her room and we have breakfast. That day she wouldn’t answer her phone.


So Alvarado went to the room and had the maid open the door and found Smith's body lying on the floor.

She was all bruised up. She had blood on her head. She was lifeless. I could tell she was dead.




Hellraisers Journal: Taking It Straight to Walmart Board Member Marissa Mayer’s Penthouse

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Wednesday September 9, 1903
From the Appeal to Reason: "How We [Socialist] Move in Alabama"

An encouraging report on Socialist organizing in Alabama from the party's state secretary, F. X. Waldhorst:

Socialism in the South-in Dixie! Well, who would have thought such a thing possible? Only two years ago we had two small locals in the state and no agitation. To-day there is a good state organization. In 1902 we had nominees for state office and polled 2,312 votes, with absolutely no campaign money, no organization worth mentioning. To-day we are claiming and getting the attention of the public to such an extent that the plutocratic dailies are giving us space every time we ask for it....





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