Senate Bill 386: Bans teaching civil rights history or information about the history of racism, sexism, homophobia or transphobia in schools

Senate Bill 386 would prevent K-12 and Higher Education public schools from teaching history of civil rights, history of sexism and the women’s movement, and history of discrimination against LGBTQ people in the US. SB-386 attempts to redefine civil rights history as being discriminatory toward groups that have historically held power in the US – cisgender, white, heterosexual men, slave owners and other historically oppressive groups.

Senate Bill 386
Authored by Sen. Jeff Raatz.

Dignity and nondiscrimination in education. Provides that a school corporation or qualified school shall not promote certain concepts as part of a course of instruction or in a curriculum or instructional program, or allow teachers or other employees to use supplemental learning materials to promote certain concepts regarding age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, mental or physical disability, religion, or national origin. Requires a request to meet with a teacher for certain complaints. Requires each school corporation or qualified school to establish grievance procedures for certain complaints. Provides that, if a parent of a student or a student, if the student is an adult or an emancipated minor, is not satisfied with a final decision, the parent or student may submit a request to the secretary of education (secretary) to review the complaint and decision. Provides that the secretary’s decision is a final order and is appealable. Requires the department of education to create guidance materials and professional development materials for use by school corporations, qualified schools, and teachers.

Actions for Senate Bill 386

S 01/19/2023 First reading: referred to Committee on Education and Career Development
S 01/19/2023 Authored by Senator Raatz

Link to PDF of Introduced Bill: SB0386.01.INTR

Continue ReadingSenate Bill 386: Bans teaching civil rights history or information about the history of racism, sexism, homophobia or transphobia in schools

House Bill 1525: Prohibiting Gender Affirming Care

No health care professionals, including medical doctors or nurses, or behavioral or human service professionals are allowed affirm a young person’s sexual attraction, behavior or gender identity if different from genitalia or DNA. Prohibits gender confirming surgeries which are rarely performed for on anyone under 18. Prohibits puberty blockers and hormones for those under 18. This bill, like others, does not recognize or distinguish trans youth from young people with precocious puberty, who would also be affected by this bill. “Under the bill’s requirements, there is no direct penalty, but under lawful practice health care professionals could have action taken against them by the State Health Commissioner. The State Health Commissioner could issue a letter of correction or probationary license, conduct a resurvey, deny renewal of a license, revoke a license, or issue a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000.”

House Bill 1525
Introduced House Bill (H)
Authored by Rep. Bruce Borders.

Prohibited health care for minors. Prohibits specified health care professionals from: (1) performing certain medical procedures on a minor; or (2) prescribing, administering, or furnishing certain drugs to a minor; that purposely attempt to change, reinforce, or affirm a minor’s perception of the minor’s own sexual attraction or sexual behavior, or attempt to change, reinforce, or affirm a minor’s gender identity when the identity is inconsistent with the minor’s biological sex.

Actions for House Bill 1525
H 01/19/2023 First reading: referred to Committee on Public Health
H 01/19/2023 Authored by Representative Borders

Link to PDF of introduced bill: HB1525.01.INTR

Continue ReadingHouse Bill 1525: Prohibiting Gender Affirming Care

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette covers 4 anti-trans house bills in 2023

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette covers the four anti-trans house bills targeting transgender healthcare in 2023. Some good analysis here about these bills.

General Assembly
Transgender health care targeted by new Indiana bills
Brett Stover | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Several bills filed by Republican lawmakers seek to ban doctors from providing gender-affirming care to minors.

The filings this week make Indiana one of at least a dozen states where legislators are seeking to limit transgender health care access.

One such proposal, House Bill 1220, is authored by Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Whiteland, and co-authored by three more Republicans, including Fort Wayne Rep. Chris Judy.

Early gender-affirming care is crucial for the health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Some types of gender-affirming care are reversible, one government document states. Those include social affirmation – like using a person’s preferred pronouns and name – and puberty blockers, hormones that effectively pause puberty.

Hormone replacement therapy, which Health and Human Services says is used from early adolescence onward, is a partially reversible form of medical care.

The final category, gender-affirming surgery, is described as non-reversible and is typically used in adulthood. A Reuters report found that such surgeries are “uncommon in patients under age 18.”

Physicians and other medical practitioners would not be allowed to provide any medical nor surgical gender-affirming care under HB 1220. They would also not be allowed to refer a minor to another doctor for such care.

The bill would allow for civil penalties against medical professionals who violate the law.

Another measure, House Bill 1118, would impose harsher penalties.

Under HB 1118, filed by Rep. Lorissa Sweet, R-Wabash, health care professionals who perform gender-affirming surgeries on minors whose gender identity “is inconsistent with the minor’s biological sex” could face Level 5 felony charges. A Level 5 felony carries a sentencing range of 1 to 6 years.

It also would open medical professionals who provide other forms of gender-affirming care including puberty blocker and hormone therapy to misdemeanor charges.

Rep. Ryan Lauer, R-Columbus, has also filed two bills that would affect transgender minors.

One, House Bill 1231, has similar provisions to HB 1220 and would allow for civil penalties for doctors who provide medical or surgical gender-affirming care. It would also bar health insurance companies from covering those types of procedures.

The second, House Bill 1232, would prohibit the Department of Child Services from substantiating a report of child abuse or neglect solely because the parent or guardian insists on “referring to and raising the child consistent with the child’s biological sex” or because they won’t allow the child to receive gender-affirming surgery, medical care, mental health care or counseling.

The bill would also prohibit the Department of Child Services from taking custody of a child away from their guardian solely for those reasons.

Those bills have drawn the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, whose advocacy director said the General Assembly is on track to introduce a record number of bills “attacking the rights of LGBTQ Hoosiers.”

“A number of these bills represent a coordinated, hate-driven campaign to push trans people out of public life,” ACLU of Indiana Advocacy Director Katie Blair said in a statement. “We will use every tool at our disposal to defend LGBTQ rights in Indiana. LGBTQ people belong everywhere, including in our state, and we will not stand for these attack bills.”

G. David Caudill, founder of the nonprofit Equality Indiana, said that while he’s disappointed in the legislation, it’s not unexpected based on trends across the country and other recent bills in Indiana.

“It’’s disappointing that the supermajority, and the extremists within the supermajority, are trying to score political points by attacking the LGBTQ community,” Caudill said.

He encouraged committee chairs to let the bills die in committee.

Caudill also said the bill would hurt the state’s economic environment. Indiana wants to be welcoming, he said, but bills like these “give us a black eye” economically.

This isn’t the first time the Indiana legislature has turned its eye toward transgender children.

Last year, Davis authored House Bill 1041, which banned transgender girls from participating in girls school sports.

The Indiana legislature overrode a veto from Gov. Eric Holcomb, and the ban went into effect July 1. However, the ACLU challenged HB 1041 in court on behalf of a 10-year-old transgender girl, and a federal judge ruled in her favor last July.

Continue ReadingFort Wayne Journal Gazette covers 4 anti-trans house bills in 2023

House Bill 1231 – Civil Penalties for Gender Affirming Care

HB-1231 allows civil penalties for doctors who provide gender affirming medical care to young people, and bars health insurance companies from covering gender affirming care for young people (generally, insurance companies don’t cover currently cover surgeries for minors).

House Bill 1231
Introduced House Bill (H)
Authored by Rep. Ryan Lauer.
Co-Authored by Rep. J.D. Prescott, Rep. David Abbott.

Gender transition procedures for minors. Prohibits specified health care professionals from providing gender transition procedures to a minor that are intended to alter the gender of the minor or delay puberty. Provides for certain medical exceptions. Prohibits public funds, Medicaid, or a health carrier from providing reimbursement or coverage for gender transition procedures to a minor. Creates a civil cause of action. Makes conforming changes.

Actions for House Bill 1231
H 01/19/2023 Representatives Prescott and Abbott D added as coauthors
H 01/10/2023 First reading: referred to Committee on Public Health
H 01/10/2023 Authored by Representative Lauer

Link to PDF File of Introduced Bill: HB1231.01.INTR

Continue ReadingHouse Bill 1231 – Civil Penalties for Gender Affirming Care

Sponsor’s threat to drop Pendleton Pride forces removal of drag queens from story hour

Rory Appleton & Rachel Fradette, Indianapolis Star

An Anderson nonprofit threatened to pull its support from this weekend’s Pendleton Pride celebration unless an event featuring drag queens reading to children was removed, forcing organizers to rearrange the story time plans to ensure the celebration could take place.

In a Sept. 22 news release, Intersect Inc. said it spoke to the Pendleton Pride committee and agreed to remain a sponsor “if the committee discontinues the queens reading to the children.”

“This is not something Intersect can support at this time,” the release read. “Intersect is a prevention agency. The mission is promoting, encouraging, and empowering our community for healthy living.”

It’s unclear why exactly the reading event prompted Intersect to want to back out. Intersect did not respond to a request for further explanation on why they wouldn’t support the event if drag queens were involved in the reading hour. Intersect was also a sponsor of last year’s Pendleton Pride festival.

The event, scheduled to take place noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 1 at Falls Park in Pendleton, is in its second year.

In a Sept. 23 Facebook post, Pendleton Pride acknowledged it would change its program by having LGBTQ community members host story time, not drag queens. The drag queens are still scheduled to perform a separate show at Pride.

“Sometimes progress comes fast, but most often progress is gained slowly and through intense conversations,” the post read.

The organizers explained that Intersect’s sponsorship included providing the insurance for the event, and there was not enough time to find a replacement. Without insurance, Pride could not go on, per Pendleton Parks Department rules. All events held at the park require liability insurance, Robyn Axel-Adams, one of Pendleton Pride’s organizers, said. Pendleton’s parks director could not be reached by IndyStar.

“We tried really hard to think outside the box and could we come up with some other things,” Axel-Adams said.

The group connected with Indiana Youth Group who aided in finding alternatives, offering to be Pendleton Pride’s insurance sponsor. But switching insurance companies last minute would have halted Pride altogether, Axel-Adams said, and they felt it was more important to find a way to have Pride.

“We didn’t also want the LGBTQ and allies community to feel that we had abandoned them that we had given up,” Axel-Adams said. “We fought.”

In statement, Intersect says its work has ‘no political agenda’
In a statement sent to IndyStar Thursday by Intersect’s Executive Director Karesa Knight-Wilkerson, the organization said it had much to learn from those for and against this event and its sponsorship. It’s unclear what prompted these additional comments, which mirrored a Sept. 23 post on the organization’s Facebook page.

“We are committed to further understanding all viewpoints regarding this as well as work with the LGBTQ+ community to educate ourselves,” the statement reads. “We are committed to our sponsorship and look forward to participating on Saturday.”

According to Intersect’s website, the nonprofit is a coalition of community stakeholders formed in 2002 to combat youth smoking in Madison County. Its focus has since grown to include combating alcohol and drug use among children. It operates with funding from two government grants: Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency (ITPC) and the Federal Drug Free Communities Grant.

The nonprofit said it viewed Pendleton Pride as a way for Intersect and other vendors to provide information on smoking and other health issues to the LGBTQ community, which the organization called “a culture that has been elusive to reach.”

“We must be equitable, meaning we have to support everyone where they are,” the organization said in its Sept. 22 news release. “It’s within the strategic plan to be involved with all groups and all that that may entail in order to provide prevention information on alcohol, tobacco/nicotine, and other drugs as well as mental health prevention messaging.”

It further emphasized that Intersect reaches out to all “with no political agenda.”

According to a study from the Office of Health Policy, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, LGBTQ individuals experience higher uninsured rates, are more likely to delay care or be concerned about medical bill cost and are less likely to have a usual source of care than non-LGBTQ people.

There is also a nationwide lack of health care professionals adequately trained in providing culturally competent care, the study noted.

Local church pushes for Pride’s end
At least one local organization has actively pushed for the cancellation of not just the story time but the entire event.

Life Church’s Pendleton campus put a call out to residents to oppose Pendleton Pride. Lead pastor Nathan Peternel verified a Facebook post from pastor Ross Steele asking for anyone upset with Pendleton Pride to join him at a Wednesday meeting held by the town’s Board of Parks and Recreation and voice their opposition.

“It’s really not a super shocking thing that people who believe in the Bible as the authoritative word of God would be opposed to such an event,” Peternel said in an interview.

The church is against sex trafficking and sexual abuse, Peternel said, adding that he was concerned about the children in attendance and that the event may be a form of “grooming,” a term often linked to abuse.

According to RAINN, grooming is a tool used by abusers to manipulate potential victims and coerce them into agreeing to the abuse. Nationally, misinterpretation of the term has been used against LGBTQ+ people, promoting an inaccurate stigma of inappropriate relationships with children in the community.

Peternel referred to homosexuality as “not healthy and not what God wants.” He added that all sex outside of marriage is a sin, and it was the church’s responsibility to remind the community of what is moral.

“That may sound archaic, but that doesn’t change God’s word,” he said. “I live in Pendleton, and I don’t want this here.”

Peternel said he was also concerned about “lewdness” in a public park.

At the board meeting Wednesday, Axel-Adams said members of the church did ask questions, but the parks board told attendees they have to remain neutral because it’s a public park. The event will still take place Saturday.

School district removed Pride flags
The forced changes to Pendleton Pride are not the first hurdle imposed on the local LGBTQ community in Madison County.

In 2021, students concerned over the forced removal of Pride flags from several classrooms at Pendleton Heights High School collected nearly 3,000 signatures on a petition asking the South Madison Community School Corporation. The district maintained teachers must remain neutral and not engage in political speech.

Reece Axel-Adams, whose pronouns are they/them, was a junior at the time and is the child of Robyn Axel-Adams. They told IndyStar in 2021 the flags helped classmates feel seen while at school.

“I remember walking by (a teacher’s) classroom, glancing at it and just being happy,” Axel-Adams said. “I knew we had an ally here at the school.”

They eventually spoke to the school board on behalf of the petition.

Superintendent Mark Hall stressed the district “celebrates all its students and does not tolerate harassment or discrimination based on any protected class” in an emailed statement to IndyStar in 2021.

Hall did not respond to an email inquiry sent Wednesday asking whether the district had an official position on either the drag story time event or Pendleton Pride as a whole.


Continue ReadingSponsor’s threat to drop Pendleton Pride forces removal of drag queens from story hour

Indianapolis man sentenced in 2020 murder of transgender woman

Author: staff

According to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, 39-year-old Sara Blackwood was walking home from work on the city’s near east side when she was shot and killed.

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man was sentenced to 55 years for the murder of a transgender woman in October 2020 on the city’s near east side.

According to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, 39-year-old Sara Blackwood was walking home from work on Oct. 11, 2020, in the 2600 block of East Washington Street, near North Rural Street, when she was shot and killed. She was taken to the hospital but died from her injuries.

Investigators identified Johnny Viverette as a suspect based on video footage from nearby businesses. IMPD arrested Viverette less than one month after the shooting.

After pleading guilty to murder, Viverette received a 55-year sentence with 45 years in the Indiana Department of Correction, followed by two years of probation.

“Sara Blackwood’s life was tragically cut short while simply walking home from work. She was beloved by coworkers and friends for her thoughtful and curious spirit,” Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said. “We hope that this resolution brings closure to Sara Blackwood’s family, friends and all those affected by her death.”

People experiencing fear, trauma and other concerns as a result of this incident are encouraged to seek assistance.

In Indianapolis, Gender Nexus and Indiana Youth Group, for people 21 and under, provide support services to the local community.

For immediate assistance, the national 24/7 hotlines are available through the Trans Lifeline (1-877-565-8860) and the Trevor Lifeline for people 25 years old and under (1-866-488-7386 or text the word START to 678678).


Continue ReadingIndianapolis man sentenced in 2020 murder of transgender woman

2019 Indiana State Legislature: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Source: Indiana Senate Democrats – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: 2019 Edition

The Ugly

Bias Crimes

This session, Governor Holcomb made it a priority to pass bias crimes legislation. With the governor’s support, Senate Democrats were confident that Indiana would finally get a comprehensive bias crimes law on the books. Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) worked with the Republican author of SB 12, the bias crimes bill chosen to advance in the Senate, to get a clear, concise proposal containing a list of protected characteristics, passed out of the Senate Committee on Public Policy. Once the bill reached the floor, however, the Supermajority removed the list from the bill’s language. Despite protests by the Democratic caucus, Republicans chose to advance the watered down bill. After receiving backlash, however, Republicans took a different route, amending bias crimes language into an unrelated SB 198. Though the language included a list of protected classes, it left out age, sex and gender identity. Democrats fought to get these important characteristics added back into the bill with no success. Governor Holcomb, who promised to pass an inclusive and comprehensive bias crimes bill, mysteriously had a change of heart and decided that a non-inclusive bill that was ageist, sexist and transphobic was sufficient and signed the bill into law once it reached his desk.

All Democratic amendments removed from budget

Every single item that Senate Democrats have fought for over the past four months was removed from the budget in the final days of session. The Democratic Caucus fought to pass legislation that would improve the lives of Hoosiers and every one of our efforts was eliminated. Those efforts included protecting the Lake Michigan shoreline from erosion, providing adoption subsidies for foster parents to keep kids out of foster homes, relief for Hoosiers unable to pay interest fees on property taxes and funding the Mortgage Foreclosure Program requested by Indiana’s Supreme Court to help Hoosiers not lose their homes.

Shifting funding away from public education
The Statehouse Republican budget prioritizes private and voucher schools over public schools. Many schools in urban or poorer communities saw cuts to their complexity funding, and many of those that saw their total dollars increase, still did not receive increases that match the inflation rate. Moreover, funding for private and charter schools saw large increases, sometimes as much as 10 percent.

No teacher pay raises

This year, the General Assembly appeared to be in agreement that raising the salary of Indiana teachers was a priority. Despite that, only Indiana Democrats actually drafted and fought for legislation that would allocate new dollars to accomplish this goal. SB 399, drafted by Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary), was the only legislation drafted that would provide school corporations with a grant that would be used to specifically to raise teacher pay. The bill would have granted a 5% increase to teacher pay over the biennial, but it died without ever being given a committee hearing. Sen. Melton again attempted to ensure that a guaranteed teacher raise, offering an amendment to the budget with the same language included in his SB 399; it was defeated along party lines. Another Senate Democratic amendment to the budget would have placed a tax on cigarettes and mandated that some of the proceeds be used to raise teacher pay. The amendment was also defeated along party lines.

Attempt to legalize the shooting of teachers

In March, Indiana made national news when several news articles reported that teachers were left with bruises and welts after being shot with rubber pellets during school shooting simulations. To address this issue, language was added to Senate Bill 1253 that would require teachers to consent to being pelted during training. This came after language, added in committee, banning the practice altogether was removed from the bill. Unfortunately, the new proposal requiring teachers to consent failed to become law after Republican author Representative Jim Lucas stopped it from progressing due to other changes in the bill — changes that would have mandated training for all teachers who planned to carry firearms in schools.

Discrimination in publicly-funded private schools

Sen. J.D. Ford filed a bill this session, SB 344, and also offered an amendment to the budget to bar private schools receiving state voucher funds from discriminating against their students, staff and teachers. Both his bill and his amendment were defeated by the supermajority. Sen. Ford fought for this language in response news that Roncalli High School, which has received over $6.5 million in tax dollars, is terminating the employment of two employees simply because of their same-sex marriages.


Continue Reading2019 Indiana State Legislature: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Another black trans woman murdered, misgendered & misnamed in Indianapolis

The body of Ashley Sherman was discovered on the east side of Indianapolis on Sunday evening by a police officer who was making a traffic stop in the area. Ashley was a black trans woman who identified as female according to family members, and called herself Ashley according to co-workers. She had been the victim of numerous cases of harassment and abuse, and was a runaway at age 12. Police later updated their reports with the information that Ashley had been shot in the head. Neighbors in the Tudor Park Condominiums report hearing a shot around midnight that evening.

Initial coverage of Ashley Sherman’s death was complicated by the police and local media misgendering her as male after initially identifying her as female, and mis-naming her as her dead name instead of her chosen name. Misreporting trans women’s murders by mis-gendering has been linked to problems with tracking murders of trans women nationwide and hampered police investigations of those murders. Mis-naming murder victims contributes to lack of police evidence as they attempt to speak to friends who might have known the victim by their chosen name but not their birth name.

GLAAD’s guidelines on trans people call for media to correctly identify and name trans people in news stories by their chosen names and gender markers.

GLAAD Media Reference Guide –Transgender Issues

GLAAD Media Reference Guide – In Focus: Covering the Transgender Community

Fox 59’s coverage currently mis-genders Ashley and mis-names her – Homicide investigation underway after officer finds body near road on east side (originally: Woman’s Body Found Near Road on City’s East Side)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 27, 2014) – A man’s body was found near the road on the city’s east side early Monday morning.

An Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer was driving near the Tudor Park Condominiums near the intersection of East 38th Street and North Mitthoeffer Road around midnight when he looked out his car window and saw the deceased person. The officer had just finished a traffic stop nearby.

Officers collected evidence from the scene and removed the body. Detectives say the man, identified as 25-year-old Tajshon Sherman, had been shot in the head.

Sherman was listed as a runaway at the age of 12 and has been mentioned in dozens of Marion County police reports since then. Several of those cases list Sherman as the victim of harassment or abuse. Others list Sherman as the suspect in prostitution and commercial sex arrests.

The exact cause of death will be determined following an autopsy. However, police said they are investigating this as a homicide.

If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

Initially Fox gave Ashley correct pronouns in the video report, but “corrected” their written story after police identified Ashley and “updated” their report. Evidence of the initial story remains in the link to the news item: In addition, the sensationalism of noting Ashley’s arrests for sex work contributes to discrimination against her, as evidenced by the comments on some of the news reports about her.

The IndyStar similarly reported and then misreported Ashley’s discovery, as can be seen in their news story – Body found on Far Eastside ruled homicide

Police have identified the person whose body was found late Sunday night on the Far Eastside as 25-year-old Tajshon Sherman of Indianapolis.

Sherman’s body was found in the 3600 block of Tudor Park Drive about 11:40 p.m. Sunday, said a dispatcher with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

That is the area of Tudor Park Condominiums, which are east of Post Road and south of 38th Street.

Police have ruled the death a homicide.

The body was found outdoors in a grassy area along a road by an IMPD officer who spotted it as he drove past the area after making a traffic stop, IMPD Sgt. Kendale Adams said. Police originally identified the body as a woman’s but later said it was a man’s.

The body appeared to have sustained severe head injuries, Adams said. Police are unsure where or how the man was killed.

Anyone with information that could prove helpful to investigators may call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS (8477).

WISH-TV’s coverage is mixed on identifying Ashley as she identified. They mention that she identified as female but neglect to mention Ashley’s chosen name and use her birth name instead – Mother calling for justice in Tajshon’s murder

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An Indianapolis mother calls for justice after learning her child was found shot to death near the side of a road.

Deshea Sherman is pleading for whoever is responsible to come forward. Late Monday afternoon the Marion County corner identified the victim 25-year old Tajshon Sherman.

“That was my son. He had a life like everybody else did. He didn’t deserve to have to die like this,” Sherman said.

You could hear the pain and heartache in Sherman’s voice. She’s grieving about the tragic death of her son Tajshon. Police found the 25 year-old’s body lying under a light pole outside Tudor Park Condominiums. Investigators said Tajshon was shot to death.

“He didn’t deserve to die like that; no body deserves to be shot and killed,” said a family friend.

Family and friends gathered at the crime scene to console one another. They said Tajshon lived as a woman. The lead detective on the case was also on the scene looking for more clues into Tajshon’s death. He said right now they are not investigating Tajshon’s death as a hate crime.

“Everybody knew what he was and what he was about. That was still my child,” said Sherman.

“Shon was like a brother to me; he called me brother. He stayed at my house,” said family friend Kenneth Hearn.

Marleeta Wilcox lives in the east side neighborhood. She didn’t know Tajshon, but brought this small brown teddy bear to the scene.

“It’s just sad that (it) took someone’s child, somebody’s relative. Somebody loved that person and now they are gone,” Wilcox said.

“Not only did you hurt our family, but you hurt your own family for the crime that you have done,” said a family friend.

“You was wrong for what you did, you could have just let him go,” said Sherman.

Sherman said she will always be proud of Tajshon.

“Still proud to be his mother to this day and I love him no matter what and I just want justice done for him,” she said.

Police are not sure if Tajshon was killed where the body was found or if the body was dumped there.

It was after midnight when an officer on patrol doing a traffic stop found the body.

Anyone with information that could help police should call Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS.

Tuesday at 5 p.m., the family will hold a candlelight vigil in the same spot where Tajshon’s body was found.

WRTV-6 has done better about telling Ashley’s story, although identifying her as trans might help police investigate her murder and they aren’t using her chosen name – Woman’s body found in east-side yard

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis police are investigating the death of a 25-year-old woman whose body was found Sunday night.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said the woman’s body was found in the yard at 3752 Tudor Park Drive, which is near the intersection of 38th Street and Mitthoeffer Road on the city’s east side.

The body was later identified as Tajshon Sherman, 25, of Indianapolis. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

Police spotted the body during a routine patrol of the area.

In 2003, 17-year-old Nireah Johnson, a black trans woman was murdered after a man she was interested in found out she was trans. Nireah was killed along with her friend Brandie Coleman. News coverage of the two young women’s deaths was complicated and sensationalized by the mis-gendering and mis-naming of Nireah, which continued long after her death. She is currently buried at Crown Hill Cemetery under her birth name, Gregory Johnson.

Continue ReadingAnother black trans woman murdered, misgendered & misnamed in Indianapolis

Documenting the increasing violence towards LGBT people in Russia

In June 2013, Russia passed draconian new laws targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, which have led to roving bands of neo Nazis and Russian military groups attacking, torturing and killing gay people. Attacks against individuals perceived to be gay or lesbian are on the rise over the last several weeks.

Gay Teenager Kidnapped And Tortured By Russian Neo Nazi Group Is Believed To Have Died From His Injuries (Video)
Trigger warning – the video at this link and photos are very disturbing.

Brutal Russian anti-gay vigilantes abduct, attack suspected “pedophile”
Trigger warning – this video is very disturbing.

Another video of a brutal anti-gay attack.
Trigger warning – this video is very disturbing.

Videotaped Bullying Of Gay Russian Youths Highlights Growing Homophobia
OSCOW — Some show youths being forced to drink urine, or having it poured over their heads. Others show young men being taunted with phallic sex toys, threatened with axes, and forced to carry wooden crucifixes. These are just a few of the images contained in a series of shocking videos filmed by a nationalist gang in Kamensk-Uralsky, an industrial town of 175,000 inhabitants in Russia’s Sverdlovsk Oblast near the Ural Mountains. Petition to Add Russian LGBT Rights Violators to Magnitsky’s List
According to the adopted by US Congress Magnitsky’s Act, anyone who has committed a gross human rights violation against a whistleblower or someone trying to exercise or promote universally recognized human rights (such as freedom of expression) could be put on Magnitsky’s List. Thus such individuals would be denied entry to the USA and US financial institution would freeze their assets worldwide. By signing this petition, we hereby request to include these two individuals on Magnitsky’s List effective immediately.

Russia: MP calls for law allowing gays to be whipped in public squares

Stonewall UK issues update and advice on LGB & T human rights abuses in Russia

Russia: Orthodox priest who supported pro-gay punk band Pussy Riot found stabbed to death

Boycotts of products produced in Russia are having some effect, but the outbreak of violence is on the increase, and discussion of lobbying for boycotts of the Winter Olympics, or calls for the Olympics to be moved from Russia are being discussed more widely.

LGBT activists urge boycott of Winter Olympics due to Russia’s anti-gay laws Petition to Relocate the 2014 Winter Games to Vancouver

NY Times, Frank Bruni: Striking Olympic Gold
As for an American boycott of the Olympics, it would punish athletes who’ve been training and dreaming and sacrificing for years. It might redirect the conversation from how Russia treats gays to whether the United States overreacted.

New York Elected Officials Call On Obama To Spurn Putin Over Anti-Gay Oppression

New Yorker: A Terrible Time To Be Gay In Russia

Continue ReadingDocumenting the increasing violence towards LGBT people in Russia