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WMC News: Murders of trans women, defunding UNFPA, black undocumented immigrants, WMC Live & more!

April 20, 2017

Murders of trans women highlight the intersection of racial and gender-based violence

By Chagmion Antoine | April 18, 2017

Jaquarrius Holland was only 18 when she was shot and left for dead in the streets of Monroe, Louisiana in February of this year. She was the seventh of eight transgender women to be brutally murdered in a three-month span—all of whom, like Holland, were women of color.

According to a report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, bias-motivated incidents based on gender identity ballooned from 31 incidents in 2013 to 114 in 2015. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports that 2016 was the deadliest year on record for violence against trans individuals, with four murders recorded during in a single week. Of 16 recorded homicides of transgender/gender-nonconforming people in that year, 13 of the victims were transgender women of color. The incidents appear to be unrelated, but the trend makes it clear that transgender women are not the predators much of society imagines them to be. On the contrary, they are the prey.

To many Americans, however, women like Jaquarrius Holland are seen not as innocent victims but as predators. One commenter on the popular New Now Next blog wrote, “... it sounds like these trannies were prostitutes who deceived straight male clients into thinking they were women...”

Comedian Dave Chappelle drew similar conclusions in his recent Netflix special when he described transgender women scheming to “trick” straight men into having sex with them. Chappelle’s comments drew criticism from LGBT activists—but not before drawing raucous laughter from the audience.

Ezra Young is an attorney with the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, a nonprofit that advocates for trans individuals. Young says such language perpetuates harmful stereotypes that can affect how trans people are viewed by the justice system. More >>

Image description: Jaquarrius Holland was the seventh of eight transgender women murdered in the first three months of this year.

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U.S. defunding UNFPA could cost women their lives

By Reem Abdellatif/Guest Blogger | April 13, 2017

I remember I was 5 years old as I watched my mother repeatedly climb to the highest part of the bed only to jump right back off again. I was confused. I could see that she was in emotional and physical pain. I was sad for her.

“What are you doing, Mommy?” I asked.

“I just can’t have this baby right now, not again. I don’t want it,” she said.

This was before we had immigrated to the United States. At the time, we were still living in Egypt and this was my mother’s way of forcing herself to miscarry. My father was off travelling the world. He had already cheated on her several times and mistreated her. Although she remained married to him out of fear of letting go, she didn’t want to bring more children into the world at a time when she was alone, confused, and mentally and physically unwell.

But it wasn’t her choice. Abortions were and still are uncommon and illegal in Egypt, except in the rarest, most extreme cases. More >>

Image description: Peacekeepers deployed around the world are facing cuts as the Trump administration looks to slash its contribution to the UN. (UN Photo/Stuart Price)

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We have to pay attention to the deportation of black undocumented immigrants

By Roberta Nin Feliz | April 19, 2017

Trump’s recent attacks on undocumented immigrants have ripped apart families, mistakenly detained immigrants protected under DACA, and incited fear among immigrant communities here in America. Trump’s rhetoric about “bad hombres” and Mexico sending the worst of its people to America has created an archetype of an undocumented immigrant: We most often hear stories in the media about the targeting and unfair deportation of undocumented immigrants from Mexican and other Central American countries. But Mexican and other Central American immigrants are not the only group under siege. In particular, there are also Black undocumented immigrants whose deportations have gone quietly unnoticed.

To be Black in America is to be in a state of hypervisibility; your actions and/or behavior are stigmatized by myths and misconceptions about what it means to be Black. Especially in light of recent, growing awareness of police shootings and police brutality, Black people already have a target on their back. Being undocumented only makes this targeting worse. Indeed, the Trump administration deported 130 people to Senegal last month, and the deportation of African/Black immigrants has increased dramatically since 2016. In 2014, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported 1,203 African immigrants. The image of the Latino immigrant not only erases awareness and understanding of the African/Black immigrant experience, but does a more immediate disservice to the hundreds of Black undocumented immigrants being targeted.

“Black immigrants are subject to the same racialized criminal justice system Black Americans are—but Black immigrants face an additional consequence: removal from the U.S. It’s called ‘crimmigration’” writes Breanne Palmer, for CollectivelyUnbossed. More >>

Image description: Green tarp with orange sign that reads "Stop Deportions Right : To Live" 

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An interview with sexual health activist Ella Dawson

By Camryn Garrett | April 17, 2017

Over the past two years, feminist social media manager and writer Ella Dawson has received widespread recognition for her work crushing the stigma of STDs. She has been called the “internet’s foremost herpes essayist,” and has even been recognized by Hillary Clinton. In honor of April being STD Awareness month, Dawson recently spoke to the FBomb about sex miseducation, the stigma against STDs, and her own experience with all of the above. More >>

Image description: Ella Dawson (Photo credit: Kim Hoyos Media)

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A love letter on disability: Stop feeling sorry for us. Start fighting for us.

By Corinne Singer | April 14, 2017

The onset of my disabilities began at thirteen and I have been unable to engage in regular physical activities for years. Early on, I braced myself for a lifetime of chronic back dysfunctions compounded by the equally debilitating realities of depression and anxiety. The transition into my status as “disabled” and later to my status as “part-time wheelchair user” has been endlessly complex. I went from having a body that people celebrated—a body that fulfilled cultural obsessions with physical strength and performativity—to having a body that was rejected.

The precise moment at which my body became a “problem” will remain with me forever. It was when my first back specialist informed me that I had fractured multiple parts of my lumbar spine— not because of any accident, but because of my body’s own dysfunctional development. This experience marked the first of many strange rituals: the regular practices of passing through unfamiliar hands, lying in MRI tubes, welcoming the needles and injections of ‘experimental’ substances. A body surrendered—a body under attack.

After years of treatment, I finally realized that my pain and structural differences are a deeply fundamental part of who I am. The choice became clear: I could either accept my chronic condition as another multi-dimensional, beautiful part of who I am, or continue to hate my body as a perpetually “broken” object out of place. More >>

Image description: Banner that reads "Fight For Us."

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#MissingDCGirls reminds us of a greater epidemic

By Kayleigh Bolingbroke | April 12, 2017

501 children have been reported missing from the District of Columbia since the beginning of the year alone; a disturbingly high number of them were black or Latino children, and twenty-two cases remain unsolved as of the end of March ,according to the Associated Press. While the AP notes this rate of missing juvenile cases is not inconsistent with those of past years, the issue has gained a disproportionate amount of attention in recent weeks thanks to social media. Most noticeably, an Instagram post claiming that 14 black girls had gone missing in the D.C. area in the space of just 24 hours went viral at the end of March, which in turn inspired the hashtag #MissingDCGirls.

Eventually, however, this information was proven inaccurate. “At no point in recent weeks have 14 girls disappeared from D.C. in a single day,” the police later confirmed. At this point, the story most people focused on was the disputed information surrounding these cases less so than the young people who are actually missing from D.C. Some argued that the initial, inaccurate viral story about missing girls was ultimately more obstructive than helpful — and that, specifically, the use of social media to spread the false information at all was most problematic of all.

Take, for example, the images of these missing girls shared on social media. As The Outline noted, the social media posts “shrink original missing persons flyers, making important identifying and reporting information unreadable, rarely linking back to original sources,” therefore making the supposedly helpful posts useless. Additionally, people sharing missing children posters should make sure to confirm their source is legitimate, as “sometimes the missing children in the posts that you share are not actually missing,” according to one police station’s Facebook post. “They may actually be hiding for their own safety,” they continued, adding, “If the post wasn’t originated from a confirmed police source, or comes with a link to a reputable newspaper or media outlet showing that the police are actively searching, then it is likely not legitimate.”

While these are all valid points about this particular circumstance, there’s also no question that the media generally fails to report about missing black girls as much as they do about their white counterparts. More >>

Image description: D.C. Missing Black Girls

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#20PercentCounts: A nation comes together in support of equal pay

By Angela Liu | April 10, 2017

Three months and four days. This is how much longer, on average, women in the United States had to work to make what their male counterparts did over the last year; Women in the United States had to work all of 2016 plus up until April 4th, 2017 to catch up to what men earned in 2016. At the current rate of progress, it will take more than 40 years for women to be paid fairly.

The disparity may seem gloomy, but organizations like Lean In – the nonprofit founded by Sheryl Sandberg to empower women to achieve their ambitions – are working to change that. “Equal pay is essential to the goal of gender equality,” said Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org, in a press release. “This issue speaks to how we value women’s labor, knowledge, time, training, and so much more. In short, it’s about women’s worth. There’s nothing more fundamental than that.”

And they’re putting this mission to action: On April 4th, 2017 (Equal Pay Day) Lean In launched #20PercentCounts – a campaign to highlight the unfairness of the gender pay gap. Over 350 businesses in 27 cities across the country participated in #20PercentCounts by offering various versions of a 20% discount. More >>

Image description: Hand holding card that reads "We offer equal pay".

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WMC Live #205: Lilianne Ploumen, Veronica Todaro. (Original Airdate 4/16/2017)

Robin on Easter, Google, United Airlines, female SCOTUS justices, and VAL (Violence Against Language). Guests: Dutch Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen describes the founding of She Decides; Veronica Todaro on women and Parkinson's disease. Listen here >>

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This week WMC SheSource features experts on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson putting pressure on Russia to cut ties with Bashar al-Assad; California moving towards becoming a sanctuary state; Israel closing its borders to Egypt following a terror attack at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt; new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch; and the news that the Great Barrier Reef is dying fromsevere bleaching caused by climate change.

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