Monday, April 25

Baltimore police investigate brutal attack on trans woman at local McDonald’s

As a staunch defender of the rights of LGBTQ people, I am always the first to jump up and scream "hate crime", but in this case I'm sorry, I think the press and everyone else is using the term when it doesn't apply. The victim herself says nothing about it having anything to do with gender or orientation; what it did have to do with was plain and simple jealousy! One of the girls got angry because one of the guys had spoken to the victim, and decided to punish her by jumping on her when she came out of the bathroom.

Just like blacks for a long time would yell "racism" at the drop of a hat, we are beginning to yell "hate crime" the same way. We are beginning to see hate crime where there is nothing but ignorance and childishness, such as that seen in this video. The brutality of it does not change the fact that this was no more than two stupid young women among a restaurant staffed with stupid employees, filled with stupid patrons who did absolutely nothing to stop the fracas.

Police in Baltimore are investigating a brutal attack at a McDonald’s restaurant on a person reported to be a transgender woman.

The beating on Monday, April 18, resulted when the woman got into a confrontation with female patrons and refused to leave the women’s restroom.

At least one McDonald’s employee yelled at the two women to stop attacking the customer, however none of the workers attempted to intervene in the attack or prevent the women from dragging the victim across the restaurant floor.

According to the Smoking Gun, the video was captured by Vernon Hackett, a McDonald’s employee, and uploaded to various social media accounts.

In a Facebook posting, Hackett, claimed, “that was not a female that was getting beat up… that was a man… He was dressed lik a woman.”
McDonald’s fires employee who recorded brutal beating of transgender woman.

(Video and full story can be seen here.)

McDonald’s on Friday released a statement regarding the beating, saying, “We are shocked by the video from a Baltimore franchised restaurant showing an assault. This incident is unacceptable, disturbing and troubling.”

Baltimore County police said officers were called to the restaurant at 6315 Kenwood Avenue, in Rosedale Md, around 8 p.m. Monday after getting reports of a fight, and said they found a 22-year-old woman who appeared to be having a seizure, WBAL-TV reported.

The police report identified the victim as Chrissy Lee Polis, 22, who appears identical to Christopher Lee Polis, according to Smoking Gun.

The civil rights group Equality Maryland has identified the McDonald’s victim as a transgender woman. Board President, Chuck Butler, issued this statement on Friday:

“A member of our community was recently the victim of senseless violence. Equality Maryland is saddened that in this day and age, bigotry and discrimination against transgender individuals continue, especially in our own backyard.

“No person ever deserves to be a victim of violence regardless of their gender identity or presentation. We encourage the State’s Attorney General to investigate this as a hate crime based on gender identity. We are encouraged that McDonald’s is working with local police to investigate this incident, and hope that the company will follow-up with appropriate disciplinary action against any employees involved.”

A 14-year-old girl has been charged as a juvenile in the attack and charges are pending against an 18-year-old woman.

Sunday, April 24

Pastor Is Accused of Helping to Kidnap Girl at Center of Lesbian Custody Fight

And once again, we visit with Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller, that lesbian couple who were fighting over custody of the daughter that was conceived by choice after they were married. Here's the latest:

Published: Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 5:11 a.m.

Federal authorities last week arrested and charged a Tennessee pastor with aiding in the “international parental kidnapping” of a girl who has been missing since late 2009 and is at the center of a lengthy custody battle between her two mothers — a onetime lesbian couple who were in a civil union.

Janet Jenkins has legal custody of a daughter born with Lisa Miller.
Lisa Billings/Associated Press

The two had a bitter falling-out after one became an evangelical Christian and denounced the other’s continued “homosexual lifestyle.”

Their legal battle over visitation rights and custody, carried out over the last seven years in Vermont and Virginia courts, received wide publicity because of the clashes over sexual orientation and religion, and because it raised questions about the rights of non-biological parents in same-sex unions that are not recognized in many states.

Lisa Miller, the girl’s biological mother and a newly fervent Baptist, was championed by conservatives for her efforts to shield her daughter from homosexuality. A Vermont court had granted her primary custody of the daughter, Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins, after Ms. Miller split with her partner, Janet Jenkins, in 2003. But the court also declared Ms. Jenkins to be a legal parent with liberal visiting rights, and Ms. Miller, who had moved with the girl to Virginia, defied repeated orders to permit the visits.

The case took a turn in late 2009, as the Vermont family court, citing Ms. Miller’s noncompliance, shifted primary custody to Ms. Jenkins. Ms. Miller and Isabella, who is now 9, disappeared. A warrant was issued for Ms. Miller’s arrest, and they have not been heard from since.

According to an F.B.I. affidavit unsealed in Vermont on Thursday, the pastor, Timothy David Miller of Crossville, Tenn., helped arrange in September 2009 for Ms. Miller and Isabella to fly from Canada to Mexico and travel on to Nicaragua, where he worked as a missionary for Christian Aid Ministries. (The F.B.I. said it had no evidence that Mr. Miller and Lisa Miller were related.)

Ms. Miller and Isabella stayed in a beach house in Nicaragua that is owned by a conservative businessman with close ties to Liberty University, an evangelical school in Lynchburg, Va., and whose daughter works at the university’s law school, according to the affidavit.

Lawyers from Liberty, including the dean of the law school, Mathew D. Staver, represented Ms. Miller in court appeals on the custody issues. They argued without success that Ms. Jenkins had no parental rights and that laws in Virginia, which ban same-sex unions, should prevail over those in Vermont.

On Friday, Mr. Staver said the legal team has had no contact with Ms. Miller since the fall of 2009 and had always advised her to obey the law. He said he knew nothing about the accusations involving a law school office assistant, Victoria Hyden, and her father Philip Zodhiates, the beach house’s owner.

Mr. Zodhiates runs Response Unlimited, a Christian direct-mail company in Waynesboro, Va. He did not respond to requests for comment, but on Friday he told The Advocate magazine that the pair were not living at his house in Nicaragua and called the accusations “absurd.”

Ms. Miller and Ms. Jenkins were joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2000 and planned to raise a child together. Isabella was conceived by artificial insemination and born to Ms. Miller in 2002, with Ms. Jenkins present at the birth. But the parents’ relations soured over the following year. Ms. Miller moved with Isabella to Virginia, became deeply involved with a Baptist church and renounced homosexuality. A Vermont court dissolved the civil union but treated Ms. Jenkins as a full parent with visitation rights.

Over time, Ms. Miller began refusing to allow the required visits, among other things objecting that Ms. Jenkins’s “homosexual lifestyle” would offend Isabella’s religious beliefs. At one point, a court in Virginia, which does not recognize same-sex unions, agreed with Ms. Miller’s claim to be the sole legal parent, but the Virginia Supreme Court eventually confirmed that the Vermont rulings should prevail.

Last June, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit, an unnamed person called one of Ms. Jenkins’s lawyers, Sarah Star, and told Ms. Star that the mother and daughter were hiding in Mr. Zodhiates’s Nicaraguan house. Much of the evidence in support of the criminal charges and other accusations, the affidavit said, was obtained through court-approved, covert searches of e-mail accounts, uncovering messages from Mr. Miller that appear to arrange the mother and daughter’s 2009 flight to Nicaragua and from Mr. Zodhiates arranging to send them supplies.

On Friday, Ms. Jenkins issued a statement through Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, a rights group in Boston that has also represented her in court.

“I know very little at this point, but I really hope that this means that Isabella is safe and well,” it said. “I am looking forward to having my daughter home safe with me very soon.”

The United States attorney for Vermont, Tristram Coffin, told the Rutland Herald newspaper that Mr. Miller had been arrested on Monday night in Virginia and was scheduled to appear in Federal District Court in Burlington on Monday. Officials declined to say whether others may be arrested or what measures they are taking to find Ms. Miller, who faces criminal charges, and Isabella, who under current rulings should be in the primary custody of Ms. Jenkins, with visitation rights for Ms. Miller.

Monday, April 11

Fired sex-change teacher 'won't be silenced'

Jan Buterman, a transgendered teacher who lost his job in St. Albert, poses at Grant Notley Park in Edmonton, Alta. (CODIE MCLACHLAN/QMI AGENCY)

Finally, someone who actually realizes that it's about the benefit to all, not about the benefit to self; someone who realizes that to accept the money and keep silent is to strip all legitimacy from the allegations, to take all power from the argument that we are people too, and need to be treated as such. I wish him all the best, and hope that the road ahead will be easier for him.

By Allison Salz QMI Agency

EDMONTON - A man fired by the St. Albert Catholic School District over a sex change operation says accepting a cash settlement in exchange for silence would only further discrimination. "I won't be silenced forever," said Jan Buterman. Buterman says he turned down a settlement offer because it would require him to keep quiet and drop a human rights complaint. He says he was removed from the substitution list in 2008 after receiving a letter from a deputy superintendent who wrote, "Since you made a personal choice to change your gender, which is contrary to Catholic teachings, we have had to remove you from the substitute teacher list." He says the publicly funded school district can't buy his silence with an offer of $78,000 cash or a one-year teaching job. "They added into it that they wanted me to remain silent about the fact that this had ever happened," he says. "I wasn't OK with that. I would have rather just worked for that money." David Keohane, superintendent of the Catholic school district, said the board has been working with the human rights commission to try to ensure the offer is seen as fair and reasonable. Buterman anticipates the Catholic school board will ask the Alberta Human Rights Commission to dismiss his complaint. The commission has the right not to send a case to hearing if a "fair and reasonable settlement" is offered. "If it's dismissed, then that's the end of the struggle," he said. "But it's not the end of finding ways to develop a voice." Pushing the issue into the public arena is a good thing, says Kristopher Wells, a researcher at the University of Alberta. "A case as complex as this could end up in front of the Supreme Court of Canada," he says. Wells has long been an advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. He says all too often people are paid to keep quiet, which only perpetuates the problem. "The same kind of behaviour gets repeated over and over again," he says. "There is no precedent, there is no knowledge," Buterman agrees and says this isn't just about him, it's about all transgender people. "We need concrete examples of things like this that happened," he says. "Erasing them historically affects situations in the future." This isn't the first time a school board has been accused of discriminating against a transgender person. In 1988, Carol Allan was forced out of her classroom after she told the Edmonton public school board she was making the transition from a man to a woman. Allan was eventually given a job teaching adults. She was eventually allowed back into the elementary classroom. She retired after 31 years as a teacher.