poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Transgender victory would be milestone
By Mary Anne Ostrom
Mercury News

Invitations to his fundraisers get right to the point: ``All genders and sexualities welcome.'' Robert Haaland, a San Francisco activist who once sued city police for groping him to determine his sexual identity, could become the nation's first transgender public officeholder. He is a front-running Democrat in the race for supervisor in the city's most liberal district: Haight-Ashbury and surrounding neighborhoods.

On the world stage, a member of the New Zealand parliament is believed to be the only current transgender officeholder. In San Francisco, transgender candidates have run in the past but never have had a shot at election.

It's been 27 years since Harvey Milk became the first openly gay public official in the country, and a Haaland (pronounced Holland) victory would be a comparable milestone, say San Francisco leaders.

``There are parallels, certainly,'' said Supervisor Tom Ammiano, a gay supervisor who is backing Haaland. ``The institutionalized prejudice and ignorance around the issue make his run very, very significant. A win would be even sweeter.''


Transgender lawsuit against SFPD begins

The case of a transgendered man who is suing the San Francisco police department for $25 million went to trial Monday. Jeremy Burke, 37, says that officers severely beat him when he tried to visit his domestic partner's apartment in August 2001.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the incident began when Burke showed up to deliver medicine to his ill 67-year-old female partner, who lives in a Housing Authority development. Burke showed his identification to a guard but was refused entry into the building. The guard told police that Burke pushed past her, while Burke maintains he was shoved into an elevator. Officers were called, and a tussle ensued. Burke was arrested on suspicion of battery on an officer, resisting arrest, and trespassing, the newspaper reported. The charges were later dropped.

Burke maintains that he was severely beaten by the officers who showed up. In addition, Burke says, his feet and hands were cuffed and he was made to lie facedown on the floor. When Burke told the officers he was transgendered, one of the officers reportedly said, "Oh, shit. We fucked up."

"While the transgender community makes up less than 5% of the general population, this lawsuit is meant to send a clear message to governmental police agencies that discrimination in any form, against any citizen, will not be tolerated," said San Francisco civil rights attorney Waukeen Q. McCoy, who represents Burke in the case, in a statement. "This case will send a wake-up call to law enforcement across the country that the use of excessive force will be challenged."


An original artist
Gloria Anzaldúa led the way for Chicana and lesbian writers
By Jesús Alejandro Pérez

Gloria Anzaldúa would sometimes go three days in a row without sleep. Forgetting all physiological need for rest, she would write. Then she'd rewrite and revise again, more than a hundred times. When she did take breaks, she'd walk along the ocean coast near her house in Santa Cruz, Calif. And at this beach, still not outside the walls of her musing, there was a tree, a Monterrey Cyprus. She'd lean on it after every walk.

Sometimes her friend, AnaLouise Keating, would go with her. These are the things she'll remember about Anzaldúa.

Anzaldúa, an influential lesbian Chicana writer, theorist, scholar and UT alumna, challenged the conventional ways to approach Chicano and gender studies by overtly addressing the Chicano queer experience. She was 61 when she died from diabetic complications in May.


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