By Daisy Hernández
from Colorlines Magazine
Louis Mitchell expected a lot of change when he began taking injections of hormones eight years ago to transition from a female body to a male one. He anticipated that he’d grow a beard, which he eventually did and enjoys now. He knew his voice would deepen and that his relationship with his partner, family and friends would change in subtle and, he hoped, good ways, all of which happened.
What he had not counted on was changing the way he drove.
Within months of starting male hormones, “I got pulled over 300 percent more than I had in the previous 23 years of driving, almost immediately. It was astounding,” says Mitchell, who is Black and transitioned while living in the San Francisco area and now resides in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Targeted for “driving while Black” was not new to Mitchell, who is 46 years old. For example, a few years before transitioning, he had been questioned by a cop for simply sitting in his own car late at night. But “he didn’t really sweat me too much once he came up to the car and divined that I was female,” Mitchell recalls.
Now in a Black male body, however, Mitchell has been pulled aside for small infractions. When he and his wife moved from California to the East Coast, Mitchell refused to let her drive on the cross-country trip. “She drives too fast,” he says, chuckling and adding, “I didn’t want to get pulled over. It took me a little bit longer [to drive cross country] ‘cause I had to drive like a Black man. I can’t be going 90 miles an hour down the highway. If I’m going 56, I need to be concerned.” As more people of color transition, Mitchell’s experience is becoming an increasingly common one.
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Below is a Current Tv segment about the consequences of the Oil Industry's oppressive and greedy tactics. If you have't seen Current Tv yet, I highly recomment checking out both their web site and channel. It is probably the only channel where you can find real journalism, and submit your own input on the issues facing the world today.
Transgender people in our communities should be able to work and live without fear of discrimination or harm.
Equality for LGBT Youth
Every young person, gay or straight, deserves to feel safe in their own school and have access to the resources they need to flourish and grow.
Equality for LGBT Seniors
LGBT seniors deserve equal access to the benefits, protections, services and institutions available to any other senior.
Equality in HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention
With the rate of HIV infections rising dramatically, particularly among young gay men and people of color, it's clear the fight against AIDS is far from over.
You may have a piece of the puzzle that could help solve this horrific slaying.
A statement from the police,
The Boston Police Homicide Unit is actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding the homicide of Dan Yakovleff. Homicide Detectives are seeking to speak with anyone who saw Mr. Yakovleff in the area of Tuttle Street or in the South End section of Boston in the late hours of Wednesday, January 16, 2008 through the time of his death. The detectives are particularly interested in learning who Mr. Yakovleff may have been with in the South End or on Tuttle Street. The detectives are also interested in the type of transportation Mr. Yakovleff may have used (car, bicycle, taxi, MBTA) that evening.
You may call the Homicide Unit directly at 617-343-4470. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call 1-800-494-TIPS (8477) or text the word “TIP” to CRIME (27463).
Daniel A. Yakovleff, known as Dan, was a 20 year old gay man who styled hair at the popular Liquid Hair Salon in Boston's South End. He was well known and liked by the local community, particularly the young gay community who frequent local establishments such as Tremont 647 and the Eagle. Dan was last seen leaving the Eagle on Wednesday night, and was found stabbed in a Dorchester apartment early Thursday (Jan. 17) morning.
Dan was a positive person who always brought a smile to your face. He was very serious about pursuing his dreams of becoming a well established hair stylist, and already had a loyal following of customers. He was never shy about giving us free feedback or tips on our hair!
Family and friends are in shock and continue to struggle to figure out who would target Dan and why. Everyone who knew Dan would say he was one of the most non-violent, positive people you'd ever meet. His gay friends and acquaintances have expressed concern that police may not take the situation as seriously as they should, given the circumstances, and many of us are feeling that this is a difficult reminder of the risk we take when we go home with someone we do not know.
As rumors are cleared up and more details become public, we will report them to you here.
"A memorial service for Daniel Yakovleff is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Knowlton Memorial Hall on Route 44, next to Ashford Town Hall. The family has asked that donations in Daniel's name be made to Joshua's Trust Gifts and Contributions, P.O. Box 4, Mansfield Center, CT 06250.'
news: (updated 1/26/08)
2PM Park Street
Fund Dr. King's Dream
Cut the Military Budget
Use $ for Jobs Education, Housing & Healthcare
End the evils of militarism, economic exploitation & racism
--as Dr. King asked
Black, Latin@, Asian, Arab, Native & White
Together we're powerful-It's time to unite
Stop Immigrant Bashing
Lou Dobbs doesn't speak for working people
Stop the raids & deportations
An injury to one is an injury to all
Justice for Katrina Survivors
Stop the War - The One Abroad & The One Here
- Remember Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo & all victims of police brutality Stop Police Brutality!
- Stop the war against Black youth. Stop police invasions of Black youth's homes
- From Imus to Lou Dobbs to WTKK to WEEI, racists off the air!
- New Orleans to Roxbury: Stop pushing people out of their homes
- Troops out of Iraq, Recruiters out of our schools
- FREE THE JENA 6
- STOP CORI'S
* id only
According to the study, it is unknown what sexual acts are causing the higher rates of infection. The study says:
It is not clear whether the behavior potentiating these infections among men who have men is anal sex...skin abrading sexual practices or increased frequency of skin to skin contact; prevention messages may therefore need to suggest caution in each of these practices (p. 256).In fact, the researchers are not even aware of whether or not these practices are the result of all sexual practices or specific "unsafe sexual risk behaviors." Even if we don't know all the details, we need to be proactive. Venues that promote sexual behavior need to be in contact with health specialists in order to inform patrons about how to protect themselves. Bathhouses and online hookup sites, in particular, should stay on top of developments.
Yet, the spectre of drug resistant bacteria has been looming for years and people, including parents in those oh-so-wholesome nuclear families, have been repeatedly warned about overuse of antibiotics. So those obnoxious right-wingers who claim that gay men are to blame for the spread of resistant bacteria also need to look behind their own precious white picket fences for the root of the problem.
Matt Barber of Concerned Women for America can shriek about the consequences of "the homosexual lifestyle" "spilling over into the population," all he wants. But, in reality, MRSA "spilled over into the population" as a result of bad heath care decisions. MRSA is not specifically transmitted through sex. Other contexts such as contact sports, hospitals and gyms are also high risk. According to one doctor, more attention to disinfection on hospital surfaces could significantly reduce the spread of MRSA. But, the doctor also says, "the expense of extra cleaning can be prohibitive, especially in view of the current preoccupation with hospital budgets..." So a substantial financial commitment to health care is imperative to stemming the tide of the bacteria--something with which Barber is completely unconcerned.
The spread of this resistant bacteria and the fact that gay men may be hit harder shows, once again, that health care is a "queer issue." Gay men's health, and the health of all queer people is not just about personal decisions like "putting on a condom every time." A variety of illnesses and problems plague our communities--and will continue to plague our communities. The sad news that Rev. Irene Monroe was recently diagnosed with breast cancer (a disease that has cut down many talented queer women) underscores this point.
Queer lives depend on a health care system that puts people before profit, so health care needs to become a priority, if not the priority, for queer activism. From the for-profit drug industry (which Mark could tell you more about) to the lack of adequate coverage, our system needs a complete overhaul. The era of quick "pill-fixes" has to end and give rise to more comprehensive, holistic approaches to health care.
Update: Jim Burroway at Box-Turtle Bulletin has an important analysis of the MRSA scare. Apparently, homophobia and sensationalism exaggerated the scope of MRSA's effect on MSMs. Nonetheless, this health scare still points to the need for a reevaluation of our health care system.
Meanwhile: "National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) will not work with HRC in the foreseeable future, until the current HRC leadership is completely purged ..." She elaborated, "Not only is Joe Solmonese not to be trusted but neither are the second rank of HRC staff or its Board of Directors or Board of Governors. All of them would have to resign or be fired before we could even contemplate anything like cooperation. In short, NCTE is neither forgiving nor forgetting what HRC and Barney Frank have done to all of us." - baywindows
HRC lost its first and only Trans board member this year over the ENDA issue.
For now, I will continue to speak out against HRC and in support of MTPC per usual.
I'm no Obama believer, but solidarity with the workers!
MTPC still needs our help. Continue to donate and get involved at their facebook page here.
Though in recent weeks her editorials took a turn for the better on trans issues, Ryan-Vollmar had long been a target of criticism from the QueerToday.com community for her often centrist and conservative views. Ryan-Vollmar was on the wrong side of the One ENDA fight, and a vocal critic of queertoday.com for spearheading the Ask Tell Act Coalition during Boston Pride this year.
Hopefully Kiritsy will keep social justice principles at the forefront of her editorial control and involve the most marginalized of our communities as much as possible in the content of Bay Windows so that once again we can be proud of our community's paper.
Good luck Laura!
This is frightening.
The New York Times is reporting that a new, highly drug-resistant strain of bacteria is spreading rapidly among gay communities in San Francisco and Boston.
According to researchers, this new strain of the "flesh-eating" MRSA bacteria "seemed to be spread most easily through anal intercourse but also through casual skin-to-skin contact and touching contaminated surfaces."
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada judge said Monday that Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich must be included in Tuesday's candidates' debate in Nevada.
Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson said if Kucinich is excluded, he'll issue an injunction stopping the televised debate.
The judge sided with a lawyer for the Ohio congressman, who says debate host MSNBC at first invited Kucinich to take part and then told him last week he couldn't. - huffingtonpost.com
Kucinich is also leading the fight for a recount in New Hampshire because as we've seen in the past, the electronic voting machines are showing different results than hand counted votes.
Regardless of your support for Kucinich the candidate, we must join him in fighting corporate control of our public airwaves and ensuring that every vote is counted.
We invite you to join our stride towards justice
Beginning with our January 16th kick-off celebration of
Massachusetts Transgender Legal Advocates,
a new legal clinic serving transgender people in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Transgender Legal Advocates is a joint project between Cambridge Cares about AIDS, AIDS Action Committee, and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.
For more information about the kick-off event or the legal clinic, please contact: 617.450.1353 or
As most of you know these companies break the law every day in their efforts to keep demand and price high for their products. They launch fraudulent lawsuits against generic drug manufacturers to keep lower cost drugs off the market. They lie to the FDA to obtain and retain their patent rights. They launch misleading advertisements on television and in print. They have over 100,000 sales people in the United States to promote their brand name prescriptions to doctors and medical journals. They donate insane amounts of money to candidates for congress and president. Hillary Clinton has taken the most pharmaceutical industry money so far this year. Donald Rumsfeld continues to make millions from Big Pharma.
The Log Cabin Republicans must be stopped, but more importantly the way drug companies take advantage of us must be publicized and fought against with all our strength.
Earlier this year we reported on how an AIDS Drug company collected the personal information of attendees to Latino Pride in Boston. Said company is currently being sued, as are most of the other drug companies out there. Unfortunately these companies are bribing the LGBT media and some of our finest non-profit organizations with their money and influence.
The good news is that you can help hold drug companies accountable by suing them! Using the courts to hold these companies accountable helps to level the playing field between the big corporations and consumers.
Please take a moment to visit the web site of my employer, Prescription Access Litigation, and fill out our Tell Us Your Story form so that you can be apart of this important work.
QueerToday mentioned in InNewsWeekly Year in Review...
"The Bay State this year marked the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the first Gay-Straight Alliance in the commonwealth at Brookline High School in 1987. Since then, 3,577 GSAs have registered with the Boston-based Gay Straight Education Network, at least one from every state, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Massachusetts ranks third in the nation with 242 GSAs. The Impendent Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, formed in 2006 after Gov. Romney's attempted pre-pride disbanding of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, began working in January.2007 was another amazing year for QueerToday. We succeeded in drawing attention to the most pressing issues facing the LGBTQIP... community today. We sparked outrage about the theme chosen for Boston Pride which turned into a broad coalition of human rights and social justice groups, the Ask Tell Act Coalition. The coalition went on to make a huge splash at pride, forming the largest contingent and encouraging hundreds of people to wear pink. This year we attended and promoted several anti-war protests, fought for One ENDA, spoke out against Shirly Q. Liqour, created a petition against MARS Inc. for their homophobic advertising, attended and supported Immigrant Rights Marches & Rallies, stood up loud and clear for Trans rights and the Mass Trans Political Coalition, and of course we provided timely insight and commentary on the latest issues facing the queer community and the world.
Still, the issue of GLBT Youth remained very much in the news, in large part because of the controversy generated by anti-gay-rights group Mass Resistance. In November, the Queer Today blog reported the group co-founder Amy Contrda's 17-year-old daughter Claudia was a lesbian. The younger Contrada had held a star role in the Action-Boxborough high school's controversial production of "The Laramie Project." MassResistance later said that as a result of all of this, Claudia Contrada's parents were forced to withdraw her from school....
...But the Boston Pride Committee disagreed. Gays in the military, the importance of gays in the military living out lives, the importance of service in general, was demonstrated in its theme: "Ask. Tell. Proud to Serve Our Community, Our Country, Our World." The theme was not without its detractors, however. In May, a coalition was announced to protests the theme, which, members wrote in an email "feeds into the nationalistic pro-war culture [of] corporate America that still controls U.S. foreign policy and impacts our lives here in Boston, draining resources that we so desperately need." Still, despite a double flag-raising (one, the regular rainbow-colored flag; the other, a pink flag, raised by those opposing the Pride theme), Pride Week came, saw more people in attendance than in previous years, and passed..."
In 2008 we will continue to push for issues surrounding queer youth and gender identity/expression to be at the forefront of of everyone's attention through our unique style of blogging, protesting, and campaigning.
Interested in blogging for QueerToday in 2008? Contact us!
disclaimer: Of the capitalists in the race for president, I support Dennis Kucinich in an effort to draw attention to social justice issues.