On Monday Tee Tee Dangerfield, a 32-year-old Atlanta resident became the sixteenth transgender person known to be murdered this year. Dangerfield was found in her car near an apartment complex in College Park suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. She was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital but did not survive.

At this time, we have no information that points to the shooting being the result of our victim being transgender.



Georgia judge chastised by Appeals Court over transphobic rulings

A Georgia judge who denied two transgender men name changes last year has been overruled by the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Columbia County Superior Court Judge J. David Roper abused his discretion when he denied the name change petitions, the Georgia Court of Appeals decision said. The appeals court sent the two cases back to Roper and directed him to enter an order changing the names.



Georgia AG chooses not to be involved in name-change cases

A panel of three judges from the Georgia Court of Appeals will be deciding whether or not transgender Georgians have the legal right to change their names.

Two cases from Columbia County Superior Court are before the appellate court after Judge J. David Roper denied two transgender men’s request to change their names to match the gender with which they identify.



Judge refuses name change in Georgia

 photo Feldhaus_zps2xqi7miz.jpgRowan Elijah Feldhaus submitted a name change petition which Columbia County Superior Court Judge J. David Roper rejected. Rowan's previous name had been Rebeccah Elizabeth Feldhaus.

The question presented is whether a female has the salutatory right to change her name to a traditionally and obviously male name. The court concludes that she does not have such right.

--Judge Roper

Lambda Legal submitted a filing to the Georgia Court of Appeals challenging the denial yesterday.



Settlement reached with Georgia Department of Corrections

About a year ago the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a suit on behalf of trans woman prisoner Ashley Diamond, who was denied medical care and repeatedly raped and assaulted by other prisoners while she was held at a men's prison in Georgia.

Last Friday a settlement was announced in the case.

Diamond was released from prison last August after her case got publicized.

She had been serving a sentence for a probation violation stemming from a nonviolent crime. She was denied female hormones she had been receiving for 17 years – medically necessary care for her gender dysphoria. She was sexually assaulted by other prisoners at least eight times while incarcerated.

As part of the agreement, the Georgia Department of Corrections agreed to pay Diamond, 37, an undisclosed financial settlement.



Ashley Diamond paroled early in Georgia

I first reported about Ashley Diamond in April when the US Department of Justice intervened in the the Georgia transgender inmate's federal lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections. In Ashley Diamond v. Owens, et. al, Ms. Diamond sought to have the GDC provide her with the hormones that she began taking the age of 17 and had been denied by prison officials and to protect her from being repeatedly sexually assaulted.

Because of the failure to provide hormones, Ashley changed from looking like the first picture below to the appearance she had in the second.





This had a profound physical and emotional impact on Ms. Diamond. Terminating her hormone therapy created painful side effects, including chest pains, heart palpitations, clinically significant depression, and increased thoughts of suicide, hopelessness and anxiety. According to Ms. Diamond, her gender dysphoria is so severe that she has attempted suicide and self-castration on multiple occasions during her incarceration.

Ashley, in prison for theft, probation violation, escape and obstruction of justice, was sentenced to a maximum of 11 years and has since been shuffled from Georgia male prison to Georgia male prison.

Filing the lawsuit earned her a transfer to the Georgia State Prison in retaliation. GSP has had more sexual assaults between 2009 and 2014 than all but one other state prison.

Since her arrival there, Ms. Diamond has survived an attempted rape in a stairwell, dealt with inmates exposing themselves and masturbating in front of her, and faced relentless sexual coercion, she said last week in an emergency motion seeking an immediate transfer to a safer institution.

Ms. Diamond was not scheduled to have a parole hearing until November. But out of the blue she was paroled on Monday after serving less than a third of her sentence.




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



Sunday Train: Taking That High Speed Train in Georgia

I saw this news back in early January (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 8 Jan 2014):

A high speed rail line between Columbus and Atlanta would cost between $1.3-$3.9 billion over the next 20 years to build, but once up and running would more than pay for its operations and maintenance, a consultant said today.

It could also have a huge economic impact, according to Kirsten Berry, project manager consulting firm HNTB Corp., which performed the $350,000 study of the economic feasibility study of high speed rail between Columbus and Atlanta. The study was funded with a $300,000 Georgia Department of Transportation grant and the rest in private donations, according to city Director of Planning Rick Jones.

Now, the actual feasibility study itself has not been released, although the overview presentation to the Columbus GA stakeholders has been released, and I was going to wait until that feasibility study was available to talk about this on the Sunday Train. But then this happened:

Atlanta (CNN) -- Empty streets, shuttered storefronts and abandoned vehicles littering the side of the road. That was the scene across much of metropolitan Atlanta on Wednesday as people hunkered down to wait out the aftermath of a snow and ice storm that brought the nation's ninth-largest metropolitan area to a screeching halt.

... and given the severe state of auto-dependency in the greater Atlanta area, I concluded that the state of plans for HSR in Georgia merits a closer look.





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