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—In This Issue———————

Stiletto December 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2

3 Good News

7 Black Lives Matter & the

Movement for Black Lives
Current Events

8 Trans Liberation Tuesday

9 Justice for Jennifer Laude

10 Letters from the Inside

12 Pelican Bay Hunger Strike

12 Agreement to End

13 Trans Sex in the City

13 Profile of trans
entrepeneur Martine



15 Ashley Diamond released

from Georgia prison

16 Oakland Power Projects

17 The Intersex Basics

17 Legal Updates

18 Ally Updates

I want to thank you all for working with me and
being part of the  transitions and changes we’ve
gone through at TGIJP over the years. And I want
to assure you that while I’m stepping down as
Executive Director, my mouth is not stepping
down and I will continue to  bitch and let people
know what my community is going through. It’s
difficult living in our truth, but what better way to
survive? It’s important that we survive; we’ve got
to come out on top.  Please continue to support
and back up Janetta for taking on the responsibil-
ity of taking TGIJP into the next phase. Wish her
well and help her prosper. Be safe and stay strong.
- Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

I remember it as if it was yesterday: I was having a few conversations with Miss Major and describ-
ing to her my struggles and disfranchisement and disparities that I felt that I was facing living in
Florida. I asked her If she would be willing to help if I moved to San Francisco to create a better
quality of living and she said “Sure baby, no problem. I’ll see you when you get here.” I think she
was really surprised when I showed up 2 weeks later at her work.
She’s been my mother and friend; she’s been my sister as well as my mentor; and she taught
me how to advocate for myself and to live my truths. I’m just so eternally grateful because today
I know how to fight because Miss Major taught me how to fight for me and my community and
TGI Justice Project is a group of trans- other underserved populations. She has always expressed to me that when she retires from TGI
gender, gender variant and intersex Justice Project that she wanted me to be the Executive Director. I feel very honored to accept the
people—inside and outside of prison— position and I will treat her baby TGIJP with the same love that I watched her handle it with. It’s like
creating a united family in the struggle
walking in her shoes, which I will never fit, but then again, I literally have worn her shoes before.
for survival and freedom. We work
I’m looking forward to accepting the position as Executive Director.
in collaboration with others to forge
a culture of resistance and resilience - Janetta Johnson
to strengthen us for the fight against
imprisonment, police violence, racism,
poverty, and societal pressures. We
seek to create a world rooted in self-
determination, freedom of expression,
and gender justice.

Janetta Johnson, Executive Director

Woods Ervin, Administrative Director
danni marilyn west, Development Director
KellyLou Densmore, Esq, Staff Attorney
Tainay Pulphus, Re-Entry Coordinator
Eva Alexander, Re-Entry Specialist
Alejandra Cruz, Mail Night Coordinator
Peaches Banks, Leadership Team
StormMiguel Florez, Leadership Team
Malachi Garza, Leadership Team
Billy Chen, Leadership Team
Paper Buck, Leadership Team
Kris Hayashi, Leadership Team

New Postal Address:

370 Turk St PMB #370

San Francisco, CA 94102

2 December 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2

Good News Special THANK YOU to Beja for compiling the Good News Section

made to the court, it is expected to become

March 2015 legal throughout the country.
The Montana House on a tie vote Friday The Bathroom Surveillance Bill, otherwise
rejected a proposed ballot measure that would known as HB 2801, has been withdrawn by the
have allowed people to cite their religious Texas House State Affairs Committee. It was
beliefs to justify disobeying certain laws or authored by Republican representative Gilbert
actions by the government. “This bill is about Peña with the intention of restricting bath-
discrimination of people like me,” said Rep. On the May 18 episode of The Bold & the
room use in public schools based on biological
Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula, who is gay. “This is Beautiful, the character Maya Avant disclosed
sex. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) had
a bill about inspiring fear. ... This bill is discrimi- to her boyfriend Rick Forrester that she is a
branded the bill “harmful and unnecessary”,
natory and dangerous.” transgender woman. The show revealed to the
adding that it “encouraged the harassment and
audience in March that Maya, an established
bullying of transgender students just for using
character on the show since 2013, is a transgen-
appropriate bathrooms.” Although the bill was
der woman who transitioned many years ago.
withdrawn, the legislature in Texas contin-
While Rick was originally hurt that Maya had not
ues to consider other anti-equality legislation.
told him about her past sooner, he ultimately
A list of ‘bathroom surveillance bills’ are still
affirmed that he loves her. He said, “I’m glad you
pending, all entailing the potential criminaliza-
told me. That’s what the woman I know would
tion of transgender individuals if passed. HRC
do. So what does it change? […] I just know that
warns that these bills “hurt businesses and
Dozens of protesters shut down a busy inter- I love you and I want to spend my life with you.
individuals by leaving them open to unneces-
section outside the Beverly Center in Los So please don’t walk away from me.”
sary litigation”.
Angeles during the evening rush hour Friday to
call for an end to violence against transgender
people. As horns blared and police helicopters
circled, protesters marched into the center of
the intersection at 3rd Street and La Cienega
Boulevard, shouting for trans liberation.
The Oxford English Dictionary is consider-
April 2015 ing adding the term “Mx” to its next edition.
For years, trans and gender-nonconforming
Laverne Cox poses nude to break down the people have been using the gender-neutral
myth that trans women are not beautiful. The title “Mx” (pronounced “mux” or “mix”) to
Orange Is The New Black star posed for Allure identify themselves in lieu of gender-specific
magazine’s annual nude feature, alongside honorifics like “Mr.,” Ms.,” “Miss,” and “Mrs.”
Jordana Brewster (Furious 7), Katheryn Winnick In the United Kingdom, many agencies and
(Vikings), Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow) and government institutions have begun including
Sandrine Holt (The Returned). Laverne said, this term within their forms, driving licences,
“Seeing a black transgender woman embracing bank details and government departments.
and loving everything about her body might be Gender-neutral pronouns are becoming more
Maka Brown, 18, was crowned prom queen at inspiring for some folks. There’s a beauty in the common as a growing number of LGBT people
Salt Lake High School and could be the first things we think are imperfect. It sounds very and allies strive to use language that accurately
transgender prom queen in the entire state of cliché, but it’s true.” and respectfully reflects the broad range of
gender identities people embrace. And the
The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled that May 2015 trend toward inclusive language isn’t limited to
Alicia Jade Brown, a transgender woman who Oregon is now the third state in the country to English-speaking locales. Sweden will formally
is incarcerated at a federal prison can legally ban so-called “gay conversion therapy” after add the gender-neutral pronoun ‘hen’ to the
change her name. Gov. Kate Brown signed legislation outlawing Swedish Academy’s dictionary.
Mexico’s highest court has called bans on the practice.  The measure makes it illegal for The Japanese ministry of education issued a
same-sex marriage “totally unjustified”. It is social workers or licensed mental health pro- notice to local education boards urging schools
part of a battle to gain equal marriage across fessional to practice therapy treatments pur- to do more for transgender students. This
Mexico. Currently only some states allow it, porting to change the sexual orientation of includes letting children choose which uniform,
and if more petitions and legal challenges are children younger than 18. bathroom and locker room they want to use.

Stiletto 3
Good News (continued)

The federal government ordered federal

June 2015 employee health insurers to include transi-
tion-related health coverage for transgender
employees in their plans. California became the
first state in the country to allow transgender
individuals to have their chosen gender iden-
tity listed on their death certificate.

At an LGBT pride month reception held at the Apple Model Management L.A. plans to open
White House, Jennicet Gutiérrez interrupted the its doors to exclusively represent transgender
President, shouting “President Obama, release models. Asuncion, whose award winning docu-
all LGBTQ immigrants from detention and stop mentary film What’s the T? explores the lives
all deportations.” As a transgender woman who of transgender women, points out that there
is undocumented, Gutiérrez said she could not have been trans models throughout history
celebrate while some 75 transgender detainees Soprano Breanna Sinclairé became the first such as Candy Darling, Caroline Cossey (aka
were still being exposed to assault and abuse in transgender person to sing the national Tula), Octavia Saint Laurent, and now Andreja
ICE custody at this very moment. The work of anthem at a Major League Baseball game at the Pejic. “But their full potential was never
the organizations she represents, Familia Trans Oakland Coliseum at the Oakland Athletic’s reached because of the stigma the community-
Queer Liberation Movement and GetEQUAL, first LGBT Pride night. at-large had towards the trans community,” he
was echoed yesterday when 35 Congresspeople says. “This has to change.”
signed a letter sent to ICE demanding the July 2015
agency release LGBTQ immigrants out of con-
cern for their safety.

After months of collaboration between the

The Supreme Court ruled today that “same- National Center for Transgender Equality
sex couples may exercise the right to marry” (NCTE), Fairness West Virginia, and elected
and that “there is no lawful basis for a State to officials in the state legislature, West Virginia’s
Meagan Taylor, a Black transgender woman
refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) unrolled
whose story made headlines when she was
performed in another State on the ground of new policies this week making it easier for
arrested after checking into an Iowa hotel and
its same-sex character.” Writing for the Court, West Virginians to obtain a driver’s license that
then held in isolation at the Polk County Jail,
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Jr., grounded matches their gender identity. While the pre-
has been released after over a week in custody.
these marital rights in the 14th Amendment’s vious policy required a court order to update
This news follows advocacy by local groups,
guarantee that no State may deprive any per- the gender marker on a West Virginia driver’s
national organizations, and a pastor who
son of “liberty” without due process of law or license, all that is required under the new policy
raised the money for her bail. When Meagan
deny to any person the “equal protection of the is a signed form from the applicant’s physician
checked in at the Drury Inn, she presented
laws.” attesting to the applicant’s gender identity.
her Illinois ID, which has her legal name and
The new policy also instructs DMV employ-
The original Stonewall Inn, which launched a male gender marker. The hotel later called
ees to refrain from asking invasive questions
the Rebellion sparking the modern LGBT the police to her room. Many transgender
about an applicant’s gender identity or medical
rights movement, was voted to be an offi- women lack access to accurate IDs that reflect
cial city landmark. This is the first time a site their gender identity. The police charged her
had been landmarked specifically for its role for having hormones without a prescription, The US Senate Tuesday rejected a provision
in LGBT history and came just in time for the among other charges, though her prescrip- that would prohibit discrimination and bul-
46th anniversary of the Rebellion that will be tion was at her home in Illinois. Transgender lying in K-12 public schools based on sexual
commemorated by the Pride March on Sunday, Law Center is working with Meagan to explore orientation and gender identity. But Sen.
June 28, the actual anniversary. next steps, including possible litigation. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chairman

4 December 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2

of the education panel and a former educa- was called after three Black trans women – Airport, harassed, repeatedly patted down and
tion secretary under President George H.W Elisha Walker, Ashton O’Hara, and Kandis Capri instructed not to record the ordeal, all because
Bush, urged his colleagues to vote against the – were reported murdered in a 24-hour period a full-body scanner flagged her penis as an
amendment, calling it a federal intrusion into on August 17, and trans leaders in the Black “anomaly.” Shadi Petosky, who live-tweeted
matters best handled at the local level. Sen. Al Lives Matter movement decided to respond. the incident Monday, ended up missing her
Franken (D-Minn.), the sponsor of the amend- flight. Advocates say transgender people are
ment, said “This isn’t about lawsuits, this about often subjected to invasive airport screening.
schools doing the right things when parents When passengers go through a full-body scan-
ask. We have the same protections granted to ner, TSA agents calibrate the scanners “male”
kids by virtue of their race. That wasn’t a local or “female” based on their perception of the
issue, that was a federal law we had to pass.” passenger. Genitalia that doesn’t conform to
the scanner’s standards for that sex may be
flagged. At one point, Petosky said an agent
The White House for the first time has hired an “told me to get back in the machine as a man
openly transgender person as a member of its or it was going to be a problem.” The TSA says
staff. Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, who formerly its agents followed agency guidelines.
served in trans advocacy as policy adviser for
the National Center for Transgender Equality’s
Racial & Economic Justice Initiative, has been
appointed to a senior position in the White
The Pentagon announced that it will allow
House Office of Presidential Personnel. She’s
transgender members of the military to serve
set to begin her new role as an outreach
openly starting next year, marking an end to
and recruitment director in the Presidential
a long-standing policy that barred them from
Personnel Office.
the armed forces, yet continues to deny treat-
ment to or release Chelsea Manning, transgen-
der political prisoner held in military prison.

August 2015 Lawmakers in Buenos Aires, Argentina rule that

1% of civil service jobs must go to trans work-
ers. This follows Argentina passing its Gender
Identity Law in 2012; legislation that the World
Health Organization described as the most
progressive gender-identity law on the planet.
That law allows trans individuals to officially
change their names without having to go
The second all-transgender chorus in the
through legal or psychological examinations,
nation formed in Boston. They are planning
and makes it the Government’s responsibility
their first public concert in April of 2016.
to pay for surgical procedures and hormone
September 2015 therapy to aid transition. Further marking it as
one of the most progressive countries in the
Over 200 people attended a rally in San world in relation to LGBTI rights, last week it
Francisco August 25, which TGIJP, Get Equal, lifted its ban on gay men donating blood.
Black Lives Matter, and other groups desig- Transgender women in San Francisco’s city-
nated Black Trans Liberation Tuesday. In nearly county jails will allegedly be able to access
20 cities across the country, organizers used programs for other female inmates and even-
the hashtag #SayHerName to acknowledge tually will be housed with them if they wish
the threats of violence facing black transgen- to be. Trans women are currently housed in
der women, and to call attention to the at least a separate unit for their own protection, but
20 transgender women and gender non-con- In the US, the Transportation Security they will be fully integrated with other women
forming individuals who have been murdered Administration is defending its treatment of a by the end of the year. Next month inmates
since the beginning of the year, including 13 transgender woman who says she was detained and Sheriff’s Department staff will begin “edu-
black transgender women. The day of action for 40 minutes at Orlando International cation and training designed to smooth the

Stiletto 5
Good News (continued)

way for female transgender inmates to partici- gathering also marked the release of Coming and video, will be on display outside the may-
pate with other women in programs such as Out of Concrete Closets: A Report on Black & or’s office at Philadelphia City Hall. The exhibit
drug and alcohol abuse education and wom- Pink’s National LGBTQ Prisoner Survey: will run for a solid two months, and will feature
en’s empowerment groups,” the SF Chronicle During the latter months of 2014, Black & works curated by Sharron Cooks, Wesley Flash,
reports. Pink, conducted a survey of our prisoner mem- Helyx Chase Scearce Horwitz, Ezra Berkley
bership. Nearly 1,200 prisoners responded to Nepon, and Mai Schwartz. Cooks, one of the
A federal appeals court has found that condi-
their 133-question survey, producing the larg- curators, says that the exhibit “affirms the
tions for transgender women are so dire in
est ever dataset available on the experiences struggle trans-identified people have had with
Mexico that they may qualify for protection
of LGBTQ prisoners in the country. The intent society and how we still managed to break
in the US under the international Convention
of this survey was to get some truth out from through certain barriers, and demand the
Against Torture (CAT) based on the likelihood
behind prison walls about the experiences of rights and respect we are due and deserve.”
they would face torture if deported. The three
LBGTQ prisoners in the United States. Their
women in the court ruling will not be deported,
report aims to share that truth by elevat-
and virtually any Mexican transgender woman
ing prisoner voices, stories, and leadership to
whose gender expression and appearance
inspire immediate collective action.
were likely to make her a target of the police
and military should be entitled to find refuge Black & Pink
in the US. 614 Columbia Rd
Dorchester, MA 02125

November 2015

The Catholic Church has been condemned for

its “harmful” decision to deny trans people
the right to be godparents. According to the
Catholic News Agency, 21-year-old Catholic
trans man Alex Salinas was rejected as his neph-
ew’s godfather, and told he was not eligible
because he is transgender. His case launched
an appeals process in the Church which even-
tually reached one of its highest authorities.
The body upheld the original ban. MAJOR!, the documentary film about Miss
Major’s life and campaigns, had its world
In San Francisco, on October 25, the day of her
October 2015 birthday, hundreds gathered together from
premiere on Friday November 13th at the
  Castro Theater as part of the San Francisco
across the country for a historic celebration for
Transgender Film Festival. In 2016, the film will
and retirement of one of the trans communi-
go on tour, screening at film festivals and com-
COMING OUT OF CONCRETE CLOSETS  ty’s fiercest fighting and longest standing lead-
munity events and bringing Miss Major’s pow-
ers, Miss Major. The affair was spectacular and
A REPORT ON BLACK & PINK’S NATIONAL LGBTQ PRISONER SURVEY  erful message of survival to audiences around
grand with live music and a DJ, flowing drinks
the United States and the world. MAJOR! is a
and tasty food, and lots of sweet and loving
revolutionary film project that centers trans
TGIJP is proud to have collaborated in the pow- faces from over the many many years of her
women of color in telling stories of our his-
erful gathering in Boston, MA called Decade work. The party marked the official passing
tory and truths about the impact of the prison
of Black & Pink where formerly incarcerated of the torch from her to TGIJP’s new Executive
industrial complex on our lives and loved ones.
TGI and LGBQ leaders from across the country Director, Janetta Johnson.
We’re excited to share photographs from the
gathered to build relationships, share strategy Defiant Archives exhibit, which highlighted premiere in the next issue of Stiletto, and
and build power towards abolitioning pris- trans Philadelphia history and activism through will keep you posted on the film’s travels and

ons, jails and detention centers. The Jason Lydon 

To increase the power of prisoners we need greater access to the 
political process. We need real! access to real people in real power  with
a collection of materials, artwork, documents, upcoming screenings.
who will actively hear us and help us, not just give us lip service, come  Kamaria Carrington  
sit and talk with me, help me take my dreams and present them to  Hana Low 
6 the people who can turn them into a reality, I am not persona non 
grata, hear me, don't patronize me just to keep me quiet, understand 
Reed Miller 
Mahsa Yazdy 
December 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2
that I'm very capable of helping in this fight.  ‐Survey respondent 

Black Lives Matter & the Movement
For Black Lives Current Events
Over the last 6 months, the war on Black people has continued to wage genocide substandard housing — are the core causes for
the conflagration that has become known as
on our communities in varying forms. The murders of our families through the the “Baltimore Uprising.” Spontaneous protests
violence of racism, police brutality, transmisogyny, gentrification and displace- across the city were held in direct response to
ment, etc. has increasingly amplified and shown no signs of slowing up. As a Gray’s murder and the injustices of the Baltimore
Police Department. These demonstrations will
result, we have continued to resist, stand up and fight back for our livelihood forever be known as the Baltimore Uprising.
and refuse to back down so long as the state continues to perpetuate such vio-
lence against us. Below is a timeline tracking our resistance movements over the May 2015
last 6 months, grounded in our perspective from local San Francisco/Oakland May 21, 2015: #SayHerName National
Bay Area work and national strategy, coalition and field organizing. With every Day of Action
Stiletto issue we will also bring you our most current events in the movement for The Black Youth Project 100 called for a
Black lives to keep you informed and aware of this crucial moment. national day of action on May 21, 2015 to
demand justice for 22-year-old Rekia Boyd,
who was shot unlawfully by off-duty Chicago
February 2015 March 2015 police officer, Dante Servin—Servin was
released of all charges. Black women and girls,
February 21, 2015: #Justice4Yuvette March 28, 2015: State of Black Oakland whether trans* or cisgender, are routinely
(SOBO) harassed by police and abused by the state.
This day of action was not only meant to com-
Hundreds of Black activists, educators, entre-
memorate Rekia Boyd, but ALL Black women
preneurs, healers and artists convened on
and girls who fall victim to state-sanctioned
March 28, 2015 for “a People’s Assembly.” The
violence. There were hundreds of events cross
purpose of this assembly was to unite commu-
country and three events held in the Bay area
nity members, discuss and strategize solutions
on this day to honor #SayHerName.
to improve life for Black people in Oakland. The
ƒƒ BlackOUT Collective direct action
daylong gathering was held at Geoffrey’s Inner
using traditional topless protest
Circle in downtown Oakland and was struc-
ƒƒ Anti-Police Terror Project (APTP) rally
tured as a “listening space” where a coalition of
for Yuvette Henderson
Black-led organizations called on attendees to
ƒƒ Local Black Youth Project chapter
discuss what must be done to improve the lives
(BYP) #SayHerName Night March
of Black people in the city.

April 2015
Yuvette Henderson was a 38-year-old Black
woman and mother of four from Oakland,
April 19, 2015: #BaltimoreUprising
California who was murdered by Emeryville On April 12, 2015, 25-year-old Baltimore resi-
Police officers after being accused of shoplifting dent Freddie Gray was arrested by the Baltimore
at the local Home Depot in the early afternoon Police Department for possessing an alleged ille-
of February 3, 2015. Reports note that the gal switchblade. Gray died on April 19 from spinal
officers involved in the murder had their body cord injuries which he sustained during his arrest
cameras turn off during the incident and that and while he was being transported in a police
they used three different kinds of guns dur- van. In addition to this unlawful murder, the bru-
ing their response—an AR-15, a handgun and tality of the city’s police culture — coupled with
a military assault rifle. On February 21, 2015, the routine (historical) denial of black person-
Black Lives Matter activists, many of whom are hood and economic opportunity, exemplified
queer and/or trans, shut down the Emeryville in predatory policing practices, hyper-surveil- BlackOut Collective members block Market and
Home Depot for five hours to demand answers lance, mass incarceration, extreme unemploy- Beale streets in San Francisco, California. Photo via
for Yuvette’s murder. ment (currently estimated at 24 percent) and

Stiletto 7
injustices. There was a day long gathering of
June 2015 July 2015 Black trans leaders from across the country
the day before the convening, hosted by TGIJP,
June 6, 2015 July 24-26, 2015: Movement For Black GetEqual, BreakOut and the Audre Lorde
Oakland native and father, Demouria Hogg,
Lives Convening in Cleveland, OH Project.
was killed by the Oakland Police Department
while lying unconscious in his car at 7:30AM August 2015
on June 6. Black organizers in Oakland held a
vigil and demonstration for Demouria where August 25, 2015: Black Trans Liberation
they amplified the message that he was killed Tuesday
because he was #SleepingWhileBlack. In response to the 20+ murders of trans
June 16-19, 2015: Black Lives Matter women of color since the start of 2015, Black
National convening at Allied Media trans organizers made a direct call to BLM
Conference and the larger movement to lift up Black trans
women through a national day of action and
Black Lives Matter organizers from national
to recognize the daily violence they encounter
chapters convened together at the Allied
Hundreds of Black freedom fighters from while living their authentic selves. Specifically
Media Conference in Detroit. Black trans lead-
around the country came together for the the call to action asked non-trans people to
ership was intentionally included in the chapter
inaugural Movement for Black Lives Convening provide leadership towards stopping anti-trans
in Cleveland, OH, from Friday July 24 to Sunday violence. Non-trans Black leadership across the
June 28, 2015 July 26th, 2015. This historic event came at country continued to take risks and build on the
a pivotal time for the growing movement for powerful work to #SayHerName and put the
Black lives in the United States. Black people #TbackinBlack. Rallies and actions held lifted up
are facing unabated police violence, increas- those loving Black people, wanting Black liber-
ing criminalization, a failed economic system, ation necessarily means loving and celebrating
a broken education system and the loss of our and claiming Black trans people in our families,
communities to gentrification and develop- communities, and movement leadership. In the
ment. Our trans and queer communities face Bay area, teams of activists spraypainted the
the increased risk of physical and economic names of Black trans women lost to violence
violence. The list of indignities regularly faced with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter at vari-
Source: Screenshot from The Tribe video
by the Black community is long and untenable. ous BART metro stations around the area. We
BLM Charlotte, NC activist Bree Newsome Thus, Black freedom fighters organized this also held a rally coordinated by the TGI Justice
takes down Confederate flag from South event to bring together Black people from all Project and local BLM chapter that turned out
Carolina’s Statehouse around the world to strategize against these with overwhelming support.

Happy Trans Liberation Tuesday

Brief history to mark the importance of TUESDAY
Transgender Tuesdays to our folks that are in prisons. With that said, trans woman Taja Gabrielle DeJesus.
many more people have been joining us as the
Many years ago, Mark Freeman of the Tom Black Trans Liberation Tuesday
Waddell Clinic in San Francisco, CA designated holidays are approaching, because we’d like to
“Transgender Tuesday” to hold transgender clinic. collectively let our folks that are imprisioned National call from Black trans women of color
know that we’re still fighting for their freedom and Black Lives Matter organizing to turn up
TGI Justice Project TUESDAY’S Mail and waiting for their safe return home—and we on the state sanctioned violence and police
Night will always be fighting the systems of oppression brutality and not turn on each other. Cis folks
TGI Justice Project’s Mail Night meets on that separate us from our family/loved ones. supported us in putting the T Back in the Black
Tuesday from the hours of 4:30pm to 8:30pm family dynamics and focus on Black love, Black
Trans Liberation Tuesday solidarity, Black liberation and brilliance, and
to correspond with incarcerated trans women
of color and remind them that they are not for- February 10th 2015: TRANS LIBERATION together we will win. When they say BLACK
gotten. Tuesday is the day we send extra love TUESDAY in response to the murder of Latina LIVES MATTER that means ALL Black Lives.

8 December 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2

Justice for Jennifer Laude

August 24, 2015. U.S. Marine Corporal Joseph S. Pemberton admitted to chok-
ing Jennifer Laude until she stopped moving, but claims she was still alive when
he left the hotel room. Autopsy reports show she died from asphyxiation by
drowning. Pemberton claimed he acted in self defense as he was surprised to
find that Jennifer was a “man” and feared being “raped” by “him”. This does
not excuse the soldier’s malicious intent to harm and ultimately take the life of
Jennifer Laude. His admission to choking her only exposes Pemberton’s intent to
kill Jennifer upon realizing Jennifer’s transgender identity.
The killing of Jennifer Laude continues to systemic violence and hate crimes due to impe-
shed light on the systemic violence and brutal rialism which further perpetuates patriarchal
attacks against transgender persons under an systems of oppression.”
imperialist, patriarchal culture that dismisses Ongoing US military occupation of the
the dignity and rights of trans people. Mass Philippines has persistently violated the rights
organizations under GABRIELA USA remain of women, who are exploited for sexual and
vigilant in demanding Justice for Jennifer Laude labor purposes, especially in areas where U.S.
and an end to all hate crimes and state violence military bases are still occupying Philippine
against transgender people. lands. Jennifer’s murder further exposes the
According to Irma Bajar, Solidarity Officer of human rights violations amplified by U.S. milita-
GABRIELA USA, “There have been 22 reported rization in our home country. Under the Justice
killings of trans women of color in the U.S.” for Jennifer Laude campaign, GABRIELA USA
She goes on to say, “We continue to witness and BAYAN USA alliance organizations demand
violence against trans people escalate under that U.S. troops get out of the Philippines. With
various forms of state repression including mil- the so called bilateral policies, such as the EDCA
itarism, police brutality, increased detentions, (Enhanced Defense Cooperative Agreement)
and in the prisons. We must acknowledge that and VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement), between Photo via Irma Bajar
Jennifer Laude’s murder is a product of U.S. the US and the Philippine government, there
without a particular reason or activity.
militarization in the Philippines and anti-trans are no limitations to the number of troops to
“Pemberton joins a long line of US military
violence. It is our duty to educate and orga- be deployed to the country nor is the duration
invaders and occupiers, and his guilt in the
nize our communities to love and protect trans of deployment specified. Therefore, unlimited
death of Jennifer Laude is loud and clear. His
women here and abroad who regularly suffer number of troops can be deployed at any time
excuses are disgraceful, an insult to the life of
Jennifer and the many trans women who have
to live in fear from men like Pemberton” states
Valerie Francisco, Chairperson GABRIELA USA.
U.S. intervention continues to generate a
climate of heinous crimes, injustice, and impu-
nity within Philippine society. As militarization
perpetuates continued violence against trans
persons and so long as the state continues to
protect perpetrators of hate crimes instead of
upholding laws to protect the most marginal-
ized and vulnerable in our communities, it is
critical that we stand together in fighting for
justice for victims and to demand truth and

Stiletto 9
Letters from the Inside
green light to murder Ms. Carmen. What is so way for: Post SA/A; follow-up medical care,
Black sad is, the pig who put Ms. Carmen or rather STD testing and mental health counseling.
forced Ms. Carmen in that cell, did not lose his I wasted time and resources – simply due
By Shaylanna B. Luvme,
aka The Philosopher job and his is still working here, just seen him to ignorance of my rights and where to con-
Black is an establishment created to protect a few days ago. These instances are examples tact support/recovery resources. As of August
one’s civil rights of the fact that we need safety, if that’s where 2013 state(s) DOCs are mandated by PREA
Black is courage we must be. We need to work for justice other- (Prison Rape Elimination Act) to provide spe-
Black is self-motivation to win wise we will continue to be murdered. Lastly, I cific and comprehensive standards of post
Black is vision beg my sisters and brothers to stop all of the SA/A care.
Black is respect in-house fighting. The hating gots to stop. Fight for your rights!
Black is love Because at the end of the night we are all we There are some great SA/A/Recovery
Black is loyalty can count on. And when you lost that you organizations. Start with Just Detention
Black is honesty lose your self. Be loyal to one another, Loyal International (JDI) they literally saved my life
Black is trust Queens/Kings Rule All. Remember that. while struggling with the aftermath of being
Black is caring I send you my love and respect. raped.
Black is nation-wide Loyal Queens Rule
Editors Note: Feel free to commu-
Black is freedom Ms. Jasmine laShayShay Jones. nicate with JDI using legal mail,
Black is unity addressing your correspondence to:
Black is pride
Black is equal Survivor: Cynthia Totten, Esq.
3325 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 340
Black is LGBTQ Los Angeles, CA 90010
By Geri Q
Black is you
First: embrace the survivor title while it may I will close by urging you to have faith that
Furthermore and more importantly,
seem corny or overblown now it is the truth. you will recover, you will come to embody the
Black is me
In time you will understand and even feel pride survivor spirit.
in not only surviving sexual assault/abuse My Best Wishes For You,
(SA/A) but also recovering. In Solidarity,
Loyalty We Must Be/Show I won’t say I know how you are feeling right Geri Q
Period. now – every SA/A survivor is unique, and expe-
riences varied reactions to an SA/A incident. I
By Ms. Jasmine laShayShay Jones do know you are hurting and going through Unconquered
Hi to all my brothers and sisters. This is Ms. a range of emotions, perhaps some you have
Jasmine over here in Kern Valley, and I just never felt before: ex: fear, despair, helplessness, By Shyla Thompson
want to share the latest struggles of myself humiliation. Support and time are key elements Veins run with women’s blood which burns
and my sister, BabyGirl. Currently we are try- in SA/A recovery. With this brief letter, I will try within of hatred of discrimination
ing to establish a transgender position on the to offer my support, guidance and solidarity. Born into the world of oppression
IAC (Inmate Advisory Counsel), which by the *Note: prison rape is gender neutral – preda- They seek to suppress our ways
way we are entitled. [Editors Note: They exist tors don’t discriminate. To deteriorate my spirit-n-mind
in many other CDCR facilities.] Secondly, I … The native woman is worthy of the ancestors
am trying to establish a transgender self help While your situation may leave you with the ways
group. I am receiving resistance but I shall choice to report the SA/A incident or not, I Their legacy been handed down through many
not quit. The funny part is, there are self help was unable to conceal injuries in the course of generations
groups for just about every group of people a medical exam, the fact of the rape was note, My blood flows freely through which society
with issues, and yet not a transgender group. and I lost control of the situation. The nurse trys to diminish my own very being
Now mind you, after researching, I’ve come to insisted on taking swabs of semen, confiscated Constructing concrete with twisted metal,
learn that there is not even one transgender in my underwear, and conducting an intrusive shard-n-shin
any other groups currently going. Why is that? and humiliating exam. I didn’t know I had the Enforcing made up laws trying to contain and
Here’s what I believe: I believe Kern Valley is right to refuse parts or all of this procedure. break me
not a prison for Transgenders, I don’t know if I was given minimal medical treatment and My image does not conformed but makes my
you’ve heard, but a couple years back, we had tossed into Involuntary Protective Custody desire – everlasting
a sister who was murdered here by her cell- (IPC) and eventually transferred to another Goals of mine ever expanding the skin I’m into
mate. After he told the pigs what he would do facility. Despite insistence on the SA/A exam woven
to Ms. Carmen, the pig told him, “Well, I don’t and report/investigation by security staff, I Derive from this beautiful land yet I’m outcast
see nobody.” Pretty much giving this idiot the was forced to fight with DOC every step of the into a misfit

10 December 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2

My crimson red color bleeds for bravery and wear makeup, (home made) I am subject to unworthy of respect is also cruel and unusual
honor consumes my being being written up for altering my appearance. punishment. Until the proper mental health
Our people ways outright rejected defined by All of the canteen items are made for men. We treatments are given, until the proper physi-
the war battle scars are of course in a “mens prison”. So I’ve been cal needs are met, we as transgender men,
Knocked down repeatly though, still standing told on more than one occasion. This is all tan- woman, and people, confined in prisons across
strongly tamount of psychological torture. the nation will continue to be uniquely tar-
Torn though – fully compromised We are, for all intents and purposes woman, geted and hurt.
Despite all my afflictions these chains can’t that is how we all identify, we all have been We all know proper presentation, not just
bind my worthy red woman’s spirit diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria, but we physically, but mentally and emotionally, and
Their lies don’t hold me down nor does these are never allowed to truely act as the woman without all of those things in place, any no
walls we are as the woman we are; we are always provisions being made by prisons to put them
That restrict my sight because why… disrespected. in place, cruel and unusual will always be the
I am an unconquered woman! We are being denied the right to live as norm.
woman, but really we are being denied the Sincerely,
right to properly prepare ourselves for life on Fatima Malika Shabazz
Presentation the outside as women, because of this forced
masculinity. Being called sir, is disrespectful.
By Fatima Malika Shabazz
Some years ago, an episode of the Cosby Show
Being told you aint no woman, is disrespectful. Your Dreams Can Become
Being patted down coming out of the dining
dealt with the way Denise presented her new
hall is degrading. Reality
Husband to the family. That was a teachable
Being considered mentally ill because I iden-
moment in acceptance verses presentation. By Steph Howe
tify as a woman is also degrading and denigrat-
My name is Fatima Malika Shabazz. I am an Dreams can come true if you take your time to
ing. We get hormones and bras, because of a
African American trans woman currently incar- really think what it is you truely desire for your
law suit, not because they really want us to
cerated in the gulags of California. I have had life. First get to know yourself & find out who
have those things, we are not issued panties,
to on more than one occasion wage war on the you really are. Find your deep interests, & then
because this “is a mens prison”, we are not pro-
facility I am housed in to finally be put on femi- pursue them. Learn what it is you are really
nizing hormone treatments. But even with all vided with female items in the canteen because
good at. Don’t worry if you stumble or make
that I am still not being treated in the manner we are not considered women.
some mistakes. When things seem to not be
that you would expect a woman to be treated. The medical department is not concerned
going right or your way, don’t ever give up, just
It is great that we can get hormone treat- with transgender specific care. And even the
keep at it & try harder. Always find the courage
ments in the system now. I know I for one am mental health department does not fully com-
to remain solid & stay strong. Give yourself the
grateful for that. But there is still the problem prehend what we go through psychologically in
our daily lives around here. We are often told to freedom to try out new things & don’t be so set
of presentation. That is, being able to pres-
put our complaints on paper. So the question in your ways that your not able to grow. Do the
ent every day as a woman beyond the breast
remains, when do we get to the point were the right thing always, do the ethical way always.
growth that comes along with being on
mental trauma we suffer through every day will Allow yourself to get loose sometimes & laugh
be properly attended to. feel good. Form new relationships with people
We are constantly being harassed for
I go to bed every night wishing I were more that you respect. Treat everyone exactly how
many reasons on this facility. The question is
physically presentable as a woman, I wake up you wish to be treated. Most importantly,
why. Two years ago, this facility at Corcoran
feeling that way. I go through my day feeling always be honest with people. People all over
(C-SATF) was designated a transgender hub,
that way, every day all day. the world can handle & work with truth. But
for medical reasons, mostly because we get
hormone shots. Because of this I am at a level Being denied the opportunity to make that those same group of people all hate to be lied
2 facility when I am a level one inmate. But a reality is mentally destroying me. And not to. Don’t be afraid to open up & be able to love.
beyond all that, I am not allowed to present as recognizing that it is mentally destroying me Always remain loyal & close to your whole fam-
a woman in regard to makeup or style of dress. means that the Department of Corrections is ily. Don’t ever complain & be appreciative of all
I am however required to wear a bra, no prob- not properly taking care of me in the mental that you have. Help & give to those who are
lem, BUT, if in wearing my bra, I cannot wear a health department, which I perceive as a viola- less fortunate than you are. Go out of your way
tank top t-shirt unless I alter it so that you can- tion of my 8th amendment rights. to make others life happier. Find a cause and
not see the bra’s side side underarm panels, or Denying me the proper mental health struc- work towards peace in the world. Live your life
the straps peaking out. ture to properly prepare for living as a woman to the fullest, smile be grateful. Always remem-
If I alter the shirt, which I have to do, I am in a free society is a violation, and also allowing ber you can not control anything or anyone else
subject to having it confiscated, and being the staff to treat me and any transgender per- but yourself, and only your actions. Dreams can
written up for wearing altered clothing. If I son, or any person, in their care as degenerates become reality. Pure love & respect, by Steph.

Stiletto 11
Pelican Bay Hunger Strike
Excerpt from San Francisco Bay View article by Claude Marks and Isaac Ontiveros

Four years ago prisoners in California – led political consciousness among prisoners and educational programing.
by those in the control units of Pelican Bay – their loved ones. The violence of imprisonment The hunger strikers made it clear that they
organized a hunger strike to demand an end was further exposed by demands and height- also wanted to help shine a light on the condi-
to the torturous conditions of solitary confine- ened organization from within the cages. tions of isolation in women’s prisons, which too
ment. Two more strikes would follow, with When prisoners went on hunger strike, often are even more invisible and ignored than
over 30,000 prisoners taking united action in they issued five core demands that called those in men’s prisons.
the summer of 2013 – both in isolation and in for an end to the California prison system’s Prisoners understand that their fight, like
general population in nearly every California use of long-term solitary confinement, gang most freedom struggles, is long term. They
prison. validation and collective punishment, and have built alliances with different movements,
The strikes reflected significant shifts in they demanded better food and access to peoples and communities.

In honor of the historic court decision TGIJP wants to lift up and reprint this important work!

Agreement to End Hostilities

August 12, 2012

To whom it may concern and all California “inmates” amongst the solid GP prisoners with
Prisoners: orders from IGI to be informers, snitches, rats,
Greetings from the entire PBSP-SHU Short and obstructionists, in order to attempt to
Corridor Hunger Strike Representatives. We disrupt and undermine our collective groups’
are hereby presenting this mutual agreement mutual understanding on issues intended for
on behalf of all racial groups here in the PBSP- our mutual causes [i.e., forcing CDCR to open
SHU Corridor. Wherein, we have arrived at a up all GP main lines, and return to a rehabili-
mutual agreement concerning the following tative-type system of meaningful programs/
points: privileges, including lifer conjugal visits, etc.
1. If we really want to bring about substan- via peaceful protest activity/noncooperation
tive meaningful changes to the CDCR system e.g., hunger strike, no labor, etc. etc.]. People
in a manner beneficial to all solid individuals, need to be aware and vigilant to such tactics,
who have never been broken by CDCR’s tor- and refuse to allow such IGI inmate snitches to
ture tactics intended to coerce one to become create chaos and reignite hostilities amongst
a state informant via debriefing, that now is the our racial groups. We can no longer play into
time to for us to collectively seize this moment IGI, ISU, OCS, and SSU’s old manipulative divide
in time, and put an end to more than 20-30 and conquer tactics!!!
years of hostilities between our racial groups. In conclusion, we must all hold strong to our
2. Therefore, beginning on October 10, 2012, mutual agreement from this point on and focus
all hostilities between our racial groups… in our time, attention, and energy on mutual Art: Michael D. Russell
SHU, Ad-Seg, General Population, and County causes beneficial to all of us [i.e., prisoners],
Jails, will officially cease. This means that from and our best interests. We can no longer allow progressive oppression and warehousing of
this date on, all racial group hostilities need CDCR to use us against each other for their tens of thousands of prisoners, including the
to be at an end… and if personal issues arise benefit!! Because the reality is that collectively, 14,000 (+) plus prisoners held in solitary con-
between individuals, people need to do all they we are an empowered, mighty force, that can finement torture chambers [i.e. SHU/Ad-Seg
can to exhaust all diplomatic means to settle positively change this entire corrupt system Units], for decades!!!
such disputes; do not allow personal, individual into a system that actually benefits prisoners, We send our love and respects to all those of
issues to escalate into racial group issues!! and thereby, the public as a whole… and we like mind and heart… onward in struggle and
3. We also want to warn those in the General simply cannot allow CDCR/CCPOA – Prison solidarity…
Population that IGI will continue to plant under- Guard’s Union, IGI, ISU, OCS, and SSU, to con- Presented by the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor
cover Sensitive Needs Yard (SNY) debriefer tinue to get away with their constant form of Collective.

12 December 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2

Trans Sex in the City
Dear Sisters, emboldened in that journey—that passion- guided me in my early years with rebelling
I was asked to write a contribution to sti- ate purpose that guides folks like Isa Noyola, of their stories. How women like Janet Mock
letto this month with the theme of “passing Janetta Johnson and of course, Miss Major- and CeCe McDonald shared their stories with
the baton”, and I struggled with the topic- the women I admire for their visibility and courage us- their plight, their strength, their journeys-
idea , and wondered what words could I truly to lead. and how that very act, inspires movement and
offer to you ladies for perspective. I write (spo- And then it hit me like a lightbulb on the lives. It’s how we all learn that in this life we are
radically) a collection of essays on musings of BART train at 7:45am- TELL YOUR STORY. all unique but connected, and it’s how move-
the transsexual woman’s experience- a col- So simple right? I’m almost ashamed of send- ments and ideas are refreshed.
lection entitled “Trans Sex In The City” which ing this thought because of its simplicity. But It’s such a simple element to our lives that I
I’m excited to begin sharing with you all in the I offer that it’s underrated and underestimated think we take for granted its impact. Think of
coming months. But with such a niche of writ- the impact that sharing your story has. Every any legend and you automatically think of their
ings on sex and love and things in between, legend on this earth started with their story- story. From war heroes to survivors, activists
I found myself afraid to write anything that and that is how legends came to be! That’s to celebrities we think of their story. And many
would sound inauthentic to my experiences in how trans women I know have survived and more stories need to be told- to each other, to
which to share thoughts. advanced over the last 40 years. That’s how the movements of the world, to friends and
More recently I’ve begun learning of the we grew to trust one another and to learn from loved ones; to me. That’s how we pass the
experiences and ideology of activism and polit- one another. It’s how we as a people from the baton to each other. Because at the end of it all,
ical movement building and of advocacy, and I dawn of time have communicated ideals and fire needs fuel to remain hot, to remain burning
sometimes struggle with my place in the move- truths, how religions grew to the masses, how and fervent.
ment. I’m honestly not on the front lines of a news became a core part of our dialogue- tell-
protest, or in circuits where I can chat about ing our stories. So with the theme of “pass- With love,
ways the movement can advance. I wish I was ing the baton” I think of “trans mothas” who a

Profile of trans entrepeneur

Martine Rothblatt

Martine Aliana Rothblatt (born 1954) is an communications satellite companies, including In 2004, Rothblatt launched the Terasem
American lawyer, author, and entrepreneur. the first private international spacecom proj- Movement, a transhumanist school of thought
She is the founder and Chief executive officer ect, the first global satellite radio network, focused on promoting joy, diversity, and the
of United Therapeutics and the highest-paid and the first non-geostationary satellite-to-car prospect of technological immortality via mind
female executive in the United States. She is broadcasting system. uploading and geoethical nanotechnology.
also the creator of GeoStar and Sirius Radio. As an attorney-entrepreneur, Rothblatt was
Rothblatt left college after two years and also responsible for leading the efforts to obtain
traveled throughout Europe, Turkey, Iran, worldwide approval, via new international trea-
Kenya and the Seychelles. It was at the NASA ties, of satellite orbit/spectrum allocations for
tracking station in the Seychelles that she space-based navigation services and for direct-
had her epiphany to unite the world via sat- to-person satellite radio transmissions. She led
ellite communications. She then returned to the International Bar Association’s biopolitical
University of California, Los Angeles, graduat- project to develop a draft Universal Declaration
ing with a thesis on international direct-broad- on the Human Genome and Human Rights for
cast satellites. the United Nations.
Rothblatt subsequently became an active In 1982, Rothblatt married Bina Aspen. They
member of the L5 Society and its Southern have four children together. Rothblatt and
California affiliate, Organization for the Aspen legally adopted one another’s children.
Advancement of Space Industrialization and In 1994, at age 40, she came out as trans-
Settlement (OASIS). gender. She has since become a vocal advocate
Rothblatt is responsible for launching several for transgender rights. Martine Rothblatt, September 2010

Stiletto 13
By Woods Ervin

850. They currently have very little access to

Since we know that no cage is a good cage and if they build a cage, they will fill
programming, are at general risk to the con-
a cage, TGIJP is showing up to say stop criminalizing and capturing our commu- ditions that decrepit jail poses. There is gen-
nity. TGIJP doesn’t want anyone incarcerated, so we do not want folks in jails or eral violence that those incarcerated face,
for example, in March it was discovered that
prisons longer off hate crimes extensions and we do not want new beds or special deputies we deputies were forcing people in
cells for trans people because it increases the risk of even higher rates of incar- 850 to fight in cage matches and betting on
them. There is also the violence that is specific
ceration for our communities. We do want safety for our community and equal to trans people in prisons, jails and detention
access to programs and other survival mechanisms, both inside the beast and centers, such as, the harassment, the denial
of gender affirming clothing and health care,
out. Below you will find a report from our Administrative Director on our work. the threat of solitary confinement or admin-
istrative segregation. TGIJP knew it would be
Some Background- A New Jail is seismically unsound. Instead of continuing to important to support our people inside, and
Unnecessary invest in ineffective solutions that harm our to work against even more of our folks going
communities, this is an opportunity for the city inside, by doing all we could to stop the likeli-
In 2012, the Controllers Office of San Francisco
to CLOSE the jail at 850 Bryant. hood that the jail would be built.
completed a forecast of San Francisco’s jail
So in February 2015, the city announced
population to inform planning for a replace- TGIJP Gets in the Ring that they would be doing an environmental
ment jail. The forecast was based on the work
In February of this year, TGI Justice Project impact report at the Community Assessment
of two external consultants who utilized jail
decided to take up the fight against expand- and Services Center (CASC). An environmental
population data through 2011. In 2014, the
ing the jail. The SF county jail system is only impact review is mandatory for all construction
Controller’s office updated its analysis with
at 65% capacity, 85% of people inside are pre- projects in the state of California, including
more recent data and recommended that the
trial and while San Francisco is 6% Black, Black prisons and jails. The report process is one of
forecast be updated again in 2015.
people make up 56% of the jail population. the few ways that community members can
Between 1994 and 2009 the average daily
Given these clear inequities and the repeated actually weigh in on whether a jail gets built or
jail population declined gradually, falling by an
stories of prisoner abuse at the hands of sher- not. As the construction of a new facility has
average of less than one percent per year. Over
iff’s deputies, we thought it necessary to push intense environmental and human impacts,
the last five years, that decline accelerated to
the city around alternatives to incarceration of this is a crucial intervention to make.
eight percent per year. However, since 2012
trans people - especially trans women - in SF When we mobilized to the CASC to engage
the decline in the jail population has largely
county jails. in the environmental impact report process,
been driven by two policy changes: state
The reason that TGI decided to take up the we found that the city administrators were
realignment and proposition 47. Absent these
fight is that trans women from San Francisco attempting to rush through the process with-
policy changes, the jail population remained
are housed in the special populations tank is out any community input. The coalition pushed
relatively flat over that period. This suggests
the jail population may plateau near current
levels unless other policy changes are enacted.
San Francisco initially proposed a jail rebuild
priced at $280 Million and that the local jail at
850 Bryant would be torn down and replaced,
due to both issues of overcrowding as well
as the fact that the building had gotten so
decrepit. However, the city has a facility in San
Bruno that is currently not being used at all -
but is considered too “low security” to house
people as it is open dormitory style.
There are approximately 1000 empty jail
beds in county jails every single day in SF and
the jail. The county has discussed leasing
empty beds to other counties, states or to the
federal government to fill excess cages.
The Sheriff’s department has stated that
the building at 850 Bryant is decrepit and

14 December 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2

back hard, and shut the meeting down because During the panel, the coalition used the Unfortunately, our environmental appeal
our concerns weren’t being taken seriously. excitement to gain signatures to contest the was rejected by the state and the Board of
The city decided to try and move forward with- jail on environmental grounds. We sent an Supervisors voted to move forward with the
out conducting a full environmental review appeal to the state, but didn’t wait for them next phase of the jail - requesting funds from
with input from the community. before our next move. We continued to hold the Board State and Community Corrections
meetings and mobilize to SF city hall. We were for an $80 million loan as part of the construc-
City Refuses Community Input, We tion process.
Build Community Power granted a special hearing on alternatives to the
On November 1st, 2015 we found out the
jail - where the D.A., the city attorney and the
We figured that if the city was not going to state granted the $80 million loan to San
city Pre trial department presented alterna-
conduct a legit report, we’d do it ourselves. In Francisco. So now we have the hard job of
March, the coalition released a report on the tives to incarceration. We presented commu- convincing the city not to take a loan from the
fight against expanding the jail and then held a nity based solutions - more housing, more jobs, state to build this jail. While it will be difficult to
panel featuring Janetta Johnson discussing the bail reform - demonstrating that if the city put accomplish, we know the fight is worth it. We
impact of prisons and jail on the trans commu- the $280 million it had to alternatives instead hope to soon report that the city has decided
nity in San Francisco and what something like of jail expansion, the need for a new jail would there should be NO NEW JAIL in San Francisco.
pre trial diversion could do for trans people. disappear. Until then, FIGHT TO WIN!

Ashley Diamond Released

from Georgia Prison
By the Southern Poverty Law Center, August 31, 2015

Ashley Diamond, the transgender prisoner who assaulted repeatedly and denied proper treat-
sued the Georgia Department of Corrections ment for her gender dysphoria, a medically
(GDC) after being denied a safe environment recognized condition in which individuals iden-
and medically necessary gender dysphoria tify emotionally and psychologically as a gen-
treatment, was released today after more than der different than they were assigned at birth.
three years in prison, where she was housed She had been receiving hormone treatments
with male prisoners and sexually assaulted for 17 years prior to her incarceration.
eight times. The suit alleges that the GDC’s failure to
Diamond, 37, was released from Augusta protect, train and provide medically necessary
State Medical Prison just five days after the care to Diamond and other transgender pris-
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed oners violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban
additional documents supporting her motion on cruel and unusual punishment and placed
for preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed in prisoners at a grave risk of harm. The denial of Ashley Diamond, photo by Brenna Beech / WABE
February. The papers, which include sworn safety and care has caused Diamond to com-
statements from multiple transgender pris- pulsively bind her genitals, attempt suicide and denied access to female undergarments and
oners, demonstrate that the GDC continues self-castration, and experience post-traumatic grooming items pursuant to GDC policy, even
to systematically deny appropriate care to distress, anxiety and depression. though her medical providers have recognized
transgender prisoners, despite having earlier Diamond’s case has drawn international that gender expression and role change are
announced a policy change. attention to the abuse and mistreatment of medically necessary treatments for gender
“I’m overjoyed to be with my family again transgender prisoners. dysphoria.
and out of harm’s way,” Diamond said. On April 3, the Department of Justice filed Though she has been released, the SPLC will
“Although the systematic abuse and assaults I a statement of interest supporting the lawsuit. continue to litigate the case.
faced for more than three years have left me The DOJ claimed that Georgia’s “freeze frame” “While we’re thrilled that Ashley Diamond
emotionally and physically scarred, I’ll continue policy – which prohibited treatment for prison- is out of prison, our lawsuit is far from over,”
to fight for justice and to shine a light on the ers beyond the care they received before incar- said Chinyere Ezie, SPLC staff attorney. “Ashley
gross mistreatment of transgender inmates in ceration – was unconstitutional. has endured more than three years of system-
Georgia and nationwide.” Under the widespread scrutiny, GDC revised atic abuse based on the Georgia Department of
Diamond began serving an 11-year sentence its gender dysphoria policy and adopted new Corrections’ unconstitutional policies toward
for a nonviolent offense in November 2012. guidelines to provide constitutionally appropri- transgender inmates and woeful lack of care.
She was eligible for parole this November but ate treatment. The GDC also agreed to start Her release does not erase her barbaric treat-
was released to family members at 8:45 a.m. Diamond on hormone treatment. The dosage, ment by GDC officials, which was tantamount
(Eastern) today. however, remained inadequate for months, to torture. Nor is her plight isolated. We will
The SPLC filed suit – Diamond v. Owens, et according to the SPLC’s most recent filing. continue to advocate for an end to prison prac-
al. – in the U.S. District Court for the Middle Diamond has also endured ongoing punish- tices that unfairly punish and inflict pain on
District of Georgia after Diamond was sexually ment for her female gender identity and been transgender inmates.”

Stiletto 15
Oakland Power Projects
Eroding the Power of the Police
By Critical Resistance Oakland

In June of 2014, officers in Dallas, TX shot and killed Jason Harrison, a Black healthcare practices that are conscious and
critical of the relationship with health and
man who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, moments after arriv- policing, to see what resources already exist
ing at his doorstep. His mother had called 911 because she needed help getting or what resources they could imagine build-
him to the hospital, yet instead of receiving medical help she lost her son. This is ing that would address some of the things
that had come up in people’s stories. CR
just one heartbreaking example of people being subject to the violence of polic- members spoke with people from Mission
ing when they need or are seeking medical care. The glaring question is why are Neighborhood Resource Center, Berkeley Free
fully armed officers acting as health service providers? Clinic, Street Level Health Center, Highland
Hospital Emergency Medicine, Curanderas Sin
The answer lies in the fact that police have been obsolete. Because we know that policing will Fronteras and an ally who is trained as a street
deemed as the primary state-sponsored agents never meet any of our needs. medic and Wilderness First Responder. We
responsible for addressing not just violence or The Oakland Power Projects, a project of asked them some questions about what they
crime in communities, but multiple forms of the Oakland chapter of Critical Resistance, think people need to know as basic information
harm including medical emergencies. This is was conceived to build capacity for Oakland to keep healthy and what resources they would
not accidental, but a by-product of austerity; to reject police and policing as the default like to see.
the shaving away of life-affirming resources response to harm and to highlight or create Out of these conversations, we have launched
and programs. Government entities repeat- alternatives that actually meet community the first Power Project; an Anti-Policing Health
edly prioritize funding for surveillance, policing needs and address harm. OPP helps Oakland Workers cohort that will provide community-
and imprisoning people while social services residents invest in practices, relationships, and based “Know Your Options” training so that
and education funding continue to get slashed. resources that build community power and people can access the healthcare that they
These spending trade-offs demonstrate a wellbeing. By identifying current harms, ampli- need while minimizing potential police contact.
socio-economic climate where the state sys- fying existing resources, and developing new Our long-term goal is to create a new common
tematically and repeatedly fails to meet the practices that do not rely on policing solutions, sense – that people can and will be safe and
educational, social and economic needs of the projects remind us that we can make our have better access to resources without police.
communities of color, while demonstrating few families and neighborhoods safe and healthy We believe that this goal is both visionary
difficulties in imposing punitive policing pres- without relying on the cops. Through a steady and practical. The idea of self-determination
ences under the guise of “services.” and intentional process, Critical Resistance remains at the heart of how we understand and
members talked to close allies, friends, neigh- articulate Oakland Power Projects and Critical
This does not have to be the reality. bors, and community members to find out Resistance’s fight to end our reliance on pris-
What if a trained mental healthcare profes- what makes people feel safe; what existing ons, policing and surveillance as solutions to
sional had been sent to the Harrison home resources people rely on, what happens when social problems. It helps us to remember that
instead of an armed cop? Here we see the irrec- people call the cops; and what resources peo- this fight, is as much about building what we
oncilable and tragic intersection of policing ple felt would build stronger communities. want as it is about tearing down what we do
and healthcare. These highly publicized cases Health emerged as a broad theme in terms of not want. Self-determination by definition is
of violence, however, make clear the neces- resources that people needed but didn’t feel a long-haul proposition, but it is surely attain-
sity of building self-determination through they had access to in Oakland without police able, and definitely worth the struggle.
investing in real community resources that involvement.
we need. Among those things is access to qual- Following that theme, Critical Resistance
ity health services, not police response; we must decided to draw on the expertise of people Editors Note to Stiletto Readers
fight to build the former while making the latter and organizations involved with health and We appreciate all of the bold and brilliant
leadership of Critical Resistance and espe-
cially commend the transgender leadership
within Critical Resistance and Oakland
Power Projects.


16 December 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2

The Intersex Basics
Hello Friends & Comrades of TGIJP, some of her cells have XX chromosomes and Intersex Lived Experience
My name to Kalash and I am a proud vol- some of them have XY.
Intersex is a lived experience of the body.
unteer of the Transgender Gender-Variant Though we speak of intersex as an inborn
Intersex bodies do not meet societal expecta-
Intersex Justice Project Dynamic Community. condition, intersex anatomy doesn’t always
tions. We suffer stigma and pathologisation as
I am, also, a person of Intersex gender. In this show up at birth. Sometimes a person isn’t a result. Intersex people have non-heteronor-
section of Stiletto, I will be exploring informa- found to have intersex anatomy until she or mative bodies, bodies that affect perceptions
tion on Intersex biology and socialization. he reaches the age of puberty, or finds them- of our realness as men or women. Cultural,
self an infertile adult, or dies of old age and is familial and medical attitudes govern to which
What is Intersex Gender? autopsied. Some people live and die with inter- sex we are assigned. Surgical and other medical
Intersex is a biological reality, but it gets con- sex anatomy without anyone (including them- interventions are made to ensure we conform
fused with gender, sexual orientation, and selves) ever knowing. to the norm, to erase intersex differences.
behavior because there is no socio-cultural faq/what_is_intersex The key issue for most intersex people is not
relationship between one’s body and all of the existence of two binary sexes, but what is
these identities. Intersex individuals share in done to us to make us conform to those two
the same sexual orientations and gender iden- Within the broader context of discrimina- narrow classifications.
tities as non-intersex people. However, the dif- tion, discrimination on the grounds of gender
ference is that intersex people are born with a identity and gender expression, as well as dis- aad59565809c
mix of anatomical sex traits chromosomes. crimination on grounds of sex vis-à-vis inter- I know these three articles excerpts can
For example, a person might be born appear- sex people, are particularly complex issues. leave room for open curiosity for interested
ing to be female on the outside, but having This is due to the fact that the legal recogni- folks wanting to know more, we can send the
mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or tion and rights afforded to this community full articles upon request.
a person may be born with genitals that seem are often intertwined with specific medical Please feel free to write in to Kalash at TGIJP.
to be in-between the usual male and female and psychological obligatory requirements. Let me know your question(s)/queries, thus
types—for example, a girl may be born with Whilst most of the report deals with discrimi- we will try and answer them as constructively
a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal nation on the grounds of gender identity as possible.
opening, or a boy may be born with a notably and gender expression, a brief part focuses In Solidarity and Love, Be Well, In Peace and
small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided on the specific discrimination that intersex Fearlessness!!!
so that it has formed more like labia. Or a per- people face. Thank you,
son may be born with mosaic genetics, so that trans-and-intersex-people-pbDS3212033/ TGIJP Volunteer Kalash

Legal Updates Butterfly by Shilo Quine

The Cases of Michelle Norsworthy and Shilo Quine

Many of you have heard about the California expanded Department Operations Manual for SRS.”
cases, Norsworthy v. Beard et al and Quine v. (DOM) commissary items. Your continued self-
Beard et al, where the Northern District Federal These two cases have created a strategic advocacy is making a sys-
Court required CDCR (California Department window of opportunity and now is the time tematic difference right now,
of Corrections and Rehabilitation) to provide to really push for equal access to program- and your persistence is working to
Michelle Norsworthy and Shilo Quine with ming as well as access to all the clothing and chip away at one gatekeeper at a
gender affirming surgery/ Sex Reassignment commissary items you need and want (and are time within the larger system. Please
Surgery (SRS) - Ms. Norsworthy won a pre- available within the broader prison system) follow the new SRS guidelines that CDCR has
liminary injunction and Ms. Quine received that affirm your gender. There is no better released, AND continue to document the
a groundbreaking settlement. Instead of time to push for the remedies you deserve for results and exchanges with CDCR staff and
giving Ms. Norsworthy her surgery, CDCR the harms the state and CDCR have caused at every level of the appeals process, as we
paroled and released her and therefore did you for being transgender. Due to these big anticipate some frustrating pushbacks. We
not adequately address the issues and needs wins, many TGIJP members in prisons have are already seeing small victories in the ways
of imprisoned trans people’s necessary gender been requesting medical and psych gatekeep- of access to some undergarments (bras, box-
affirming medical care. However, the settle- ers (medical and psych staff) to evaluate and ers, binders), transgender representatives
ment terms and conditions in Ms. Quine’s approve them for SRS. In response, we have on IACs, and the development of support
case are slowly being enforced. Ms. Quine heard that TGIJP members are experiencing groups. However, there is also ongoing retali-
will be provided with gender affirming sur- a lot of typical CDCR chaos, such as CDCR ation from guards and gender police because
gery and will be moved to a women’s prison. bouncing back requests and appeals for lack of the strength of your powerful advocacy, all
Additionally, due to the settlement agree- of “updated CDCR forms,” even though CDCR of which you know too much about already. If
ment, CDCR is required to review and change has released a new Care Guide for Gender you want a copy of the new guidelines please
its policies to allow Ms. Quine access to some Dysphoria, “Guidelines For Review of Request write us. Otherwise, be safe and stay strong!

Stiletto 17
Ally Updates
This year, BreakOUT! will be hosting
BreakOUT! TMOR- the Trans March of Resilience. Project WHAT
BreakOUT! was founded in 2011 by a small Project WHAT! is an organization that raises
Every year on November 20th, all across the
group of LGBTQ youth of color in response awareness about the effects of parental incar-
country, the transgender community acknowl- ceration on children, with the long-term goal
to discriminatory policing in New Orleans.
edges and participates in Transgender Day of improving services and policies that affect
BreakOUT! has since grown to a powerful
of Remembrance (TDOR),  an annual day of these youth. WHAT! stands for We’re Here
youth-led, membership-based organization
observance to honor those who have lost their And Talking referring to the youth who make
of queer and trans youth directly impacted by up the Project WHAT! team, as well as the 2.7
lives to anti-trans violence, bigotry and suicide.
the criminal justice system, as we believe that million children nationwide who have a par-
Traditionally on this day, community members
those most directly impacted by discriminatory ent incarcerated. Project WHAT! is a youth-
and organizations host vigils while reading the
systems must lead the efforts to transform led leadership development program that
names of transgender individuals who have
them. BreakOUT! works to end the criminal- employs young people from the Bay Area who
lost their lives that year. have had a parent incarcerated as youth advo-
ization of LGBTQ youth by confronting unfair-
This year, members of the trans commu- cates.  Youth ages 13-19 from San Francisco
ness in the legal system, youth homelessness,
nity and allies are also taking to the streets to County, Alameda County, and Contra Costa
school push-out, and many other issues and is
march in honor of these lives lost and to let the County, CA can apply for the paid job each
building the power of LGBTQ youth to build a spring, beginning in March. People can contact
nation know that the lives of trans people of
safer city for all New Orleanians. us at or 510-
color matter in the first National Trans March
of Resilience. 486-2340 for more information about how to
apply, or write to us at:
Led by trans people of color, the Trans March
Project What!
of Resilience is set to take place on November
4681 Telegraph Avenue
20th,  2015 in numerous cities across the Oakland, CA 94609
nation and  will be the first nationally-coordi-
nated demonstration for justice for the trans- All Of Us Or None
gender community.
All Of Us Or None is a grassroots organization
“We want to continue to ignite social change,
led by formerly-imprisoned people committed
a movement for transgender people of color to fighting for the human dignity of people
nationwide, highlight the injustices faced by who have been or are being held captive in
the transgender community, and attach those America. We are fighting for the full restora-
stories to real faces and real voices,” expresses tion of our civil and human rights and against
TMOR organizer in New Orleans,  Christian the systemic discrimination facing us while in
Lovehall. captivity and upon our release. We demand
Many are aware of the demonstrations held to be called people and not the dehumanizing
around the world, over the killings of numer- labels we are usually referred to, such as ex-
offenders. These characterizations prevent us
ous young Black men by police and the out-
from being seen and treated as human beings.
rage expressed by the #BlackLivesMatter Although we may have been to jail or prison,
movement. our lives are much more than the sum total
Illustration by Erin Wilson for BreakOUT Protests across the country made countless of our past indiscretions or accusations. We
headlines, made the cover of Time Magazine, are presently working towards building the
Trans women of color suffer violence at one and even gained the attention of our President. leadership of formerly-incarcerated people.
of the highest rates in the nation, yet their sto- But  many in the transgender commu- Our nationally-recognized Ban the Box cam-
ries often go unreported in the media. Already nity are  wondering why we don’t witness paign challenges the stereotypes of people
with conviction histories by asking employers
this year, 21 trans women of color have been the same  level of  public  outrage when trans
to choose their best candidates based on job
murdered in this country  for expressing their women of color are brutally murdered and
skills and qualifications, not past convictions.
true selves. When Penny Proud, a trans New assaulted daily, by both police and civilians. The question on applications for employment,
Orleanian, was murdered this year, BreakOUT! “Trans people of color are disproportion- housing, public benefits, insurance, loans and
was dismayed by scant and inaccurate local ately impacted by structural oppressions that other services, means lifelong discrimination
media coverage. Taking matters into our are  inextricably linked to physical violence, and exclusion because of a past arrest or con-
own hands, BreakOUT! launched a media whether state-based or interpersonal. And at viction record. We have chapters throughout
campaign online and erected  a highly vis- the same time, historically, transgender people California, with our most active chapters are
ible billboard near the Orleans Parish Prison. of color have been the catalyst of change for in the SF Bay Area, Riverside, and Los Angeles.
All of Us or None is not a pen-pal organization.
Using the hashtags #MakePennyProud and social justice movements,” states Milan Nicole
For more information please contact All of Us
#BlackTransLivesMatter, BreakOUT! is raising Sherry. “On November 20th, we invite others or None via Legal Services for Prisoners with
the visibility of victims of state and interper- around the country to celebrate our resilience Children at:
sonal violence in our community and across as transgender people of color and demand 1540 Market St., Suite 490
the nation. justice - Black Trans Lives Matter, too.” San Francisco, CA 94102

18 December 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2

Ally Updates (Continued)
to be placed in housing that is more appro-
Hearts on a Wire priate for their gender identity and instructs
Check it out! New commissary policies in PA prison staff to give “serious consideration”
prisons! to people’s views as to their housing prefer-
Hearts on a Wire welcomes the announce- ences. The rules also state that housing should
ment of the Pennsylvania Department of be re-assessed every 6 months, that all trans-
Corrections that it has revised its policies with gender and intersex people should be allowed
regard to the housing and resources available to shower privately and that staff must treat
to people in Pennsylvania state prisons who LGBTGNCI people respectfully. These policies
identify as transgender. As of June 30, 2015, go into effect on September 21, 2015.
new commissary lists are available to trans- While we congratulate our members on this
gender people that offer gender-specific items victory, Hearts on a Wire reaffirms our com-
that were previously viewed as contraband, mitment to end the policing and imprisonment
including undergarments and cosmetics. The of trans and gender variant communities. We
prohibition on gender-specific items has been know that the liberation of our communities
an issue of serious concern to Hearts on a will not arrive through policy, but through
Wire members. The outside collective gath- our collective empowerment. As our member
ered hundreds of signatures in support of a Adrian Lowe explains, “We need to find new
revised policy over the past several years, while ways to address harm in our communities. In
our members on the inside have fought back the mean time, we need to support people fac- The St. James Infirmary is a peer-based
against this policy through their own advocacy. ing these impossible decisions inside, between health & safety clinic for current and
In the words of our member Najee Gibson, “If privacy and safety, identity and survival. If we former sex workers and their current
they were worried about our safety, they would can improve the quality of people’s lives at all,
primary partners. Since 1999 we’ve
help us stay healthy, not worry about how we I think we’re doing important work.” We wel-
been offering services like primary
express ourselves.” We are glad to know that come changes that lessen the struggle of our
medical care, mental health care,
these voices have been heard! members’ day-to-day lives while we continue
to fight for an end to the conditions that make massage and acupuncture, support
The new policies also make several changes
that should improve the treatment of intersex, these rules necessary. groups, harm reduction services, and
trans and gender variant people in prison. On a In solidarity, hormone replacement therapy by
case-by-case basis, the new rules allow people Hearts on a Wire and for the trans community. All of
our services are confidential, non-
judgmental and free to the sex worker
community. We have shared office space
with TGIJP since the spring of 2014. It
has been amazing to share community
with an organization so dedicated and
driven towards justice and liberation.
Since TGIJP moved in with us, we’ve had
some great opportunities to collaborate
on political projects, to support each
other’s work, and to coordinate our
services to the maximum benefit of
our community. Between the legal and
social support offered by TGIJP and the
physical and mental health services of
the SJI, there’s a lot happening by and
for the trans community in our shared
space. If there’s any information about
our services we can send you, let us
know! And if you’re coming home to
the Bay Area, stop by and check us out.
TGIJP is working on building our grassroots re-entry program, especially in the SF We’d love to meet you!
Bay Area, so if you or another TGI person you know is being released soon, be in
touch and connect with us before and after you come home. Be safe and stay strong!

Stiletto 19