Remembering the slain Antioch woman has created Web site to honor the victims
Rona Marech, Chronicle Staff Writer
It started with the killing of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was stabbed to death in 1998 in Boston.
Gwen Smith thought Hester's killing seemed tragically similar to the recent slayings of two other transgender women -- Debra Forte and Chanelle Pickett. The earlier deaths had received a small amount of news coverage, but when she mentioned the parallels to friends online, Smith was stunned by the response. No one had heard of Forte or Pickett.
"From that night on, I begin to look for all the people we have forgotten, bearing in mind the George Santayana quote: 'Those who cannot remember the past are (condemned) to repeat it,' " Smith later wrote. "I want to make sure we remember." Soon after, Smith created Remembering Our Dead, a Web site that records the lives and deaths of victims of anti-transgender killings, and called for a Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor the people on the grim list she kept.
At the first remembrance event, in 1999, 25 people held candles in the rain outside San Francisco's Castro Theater. This year, on Saturday, the day of remembrance will be recognized in at least 166 cities and seven countries.
"It's a lot better than being a voice crying out in the wilderness," Smith said.
Rainbow Sash Movement: Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Catholics Calls on the National Council of Catholic Bishops to Remove the Blinders of Homophobia
WASHINGTON,PRNewswire/ -- The following Press Release was issued today by the Rainbow Sash Movement:
It was ironic that members of the Rainbow Sash Movement were denied Communion at the Bishops Plenary Liturgy this past week in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC because of a public witness of their faith. While simultaneously the Bishops where patting themselves on the back about overcoming racism, intolerance, and the blindness of ignorance that cannot see Jesus Christ in our neighbor. It is ironic because at the end of the day hate motivated by good intentions, is still hate and a sin.
Peers warned over gay rights plan
Plans to give gay couples similar rights to married couples risk being "held to ransom" by opposition peers, a Home Office Minister has claimed.
Baroness Scotland was speaking as peers debated plans for civil partnerships, which could become law this week.
A change proposed by a Tory peer would mean family members living together would get some of the rights given to gay couples through the partnerships.
Lady Scotland argued it was the wrong legislation to enact the idea.
The amendment by Tory Baroness O'Cathain called for brothers and sisters living together for at least 12 years to be able to get the same rights for capital gains and inheritance tax, fatal accident claims, and housing tenancies.
Gay men "overlooked" in government health paper
Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
Gay men and Africans are being overlooked in the government's attempts to fight HIV/AIDS, according to the National AIDS Trust (NAT).
The NAT response comes as the government unveils its latest Public Health White Paper, which deals with sexual health issues.
Published today, the paper calls for more funding to fight sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as tighter deadlines for patient waiting times in GUM clinics.
All patients should be seen within 48 hours by 2008, it says, while access to such clinics should be simplified.
Fears over Lords' threat to Civil Partnerships
Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
The Civil Partnerships bill is returning to the House of Lords again today, as the government moves to ensure it is passed before the end of this parliamentary session.
The bill, which will give full legal recognition for same-sex couples for the first time, will be put before peers once again, after MPs dismissed an amendment that was labelled a "wrecking tactic".
Backed by Lord Tebbit and Baroness O'Cathain, the amendment would have extended the bill to partnership that were non-sexual, using the "spinster sister" argument.
U.S. adviser freed after month in jail
Afghan police torture led to homosexual charges
Colin Freeman, Chronicle Foreign Service
Kabul, Afghanistan -- The Afghan government has launched a high-level corruption probe after one of its key U.S. advisers was falsely accused of homosexual conduct and subjected to a monthlong "Midnight Express" jail ordeal.
Vincent White, a Finance Ministry adviser, spent four terrifying weeks in a filthy, rat-infested Kabul prison cell after being accused by police of paying a young Afghan man employed in his office to have sex with him.
White faced up to 15 years in jail for the alleged crime, which is considered one of the most heinous in Afghanistan's Islamic legal code. Until recently, offenders were executed by having a wall collapsed on top of them.
White vehemently denied the accusations, and three weeks ago, the charges were abruptly dropped when the 18-year-old admitted to Ministry of Justice investigators that he had been forced to place his inked fingerprint on charge sheets against White after being tortured by local police.