Wednesday, January 28

Another Example of Our Nation's 'Finest' At Work!


 How Ellen DeGeneres’ Dance Dare Got a Black Man Thrown to the Ground by an NYPD Officer

What is happening to the force that is meant to “Serve & Protect” the citizens of this country? Alexander Bok did nothing, but from the first moment the officer he was behind saw him the attitude shown  was one of aggressiveness and arrogance, and for what? Even before the man said he was dancing the officer was using profanity toward him and his body language simply screamed “Just give me a reason!” What, did he not get any the night before and so he was cranky? Oh wait, perhaps it was because he thought Alexander Bok is gay, (considering his slender frame), and the officer’s homophobia kicked in… After hearing the name Ellen DeGeneres I’m sure that same homophobia went into hyper drive, and the officer thought he’d been singled out and was being called ‘gay’.  As strange as it sounds, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit… Here’s the video, leave a comment and let me know what you think. Did the cop overreact? Did all the other cops that joined the first one overreact? And what about the final move by the officers?

This is the short version, it's just the incident. If you notice, the cop behind the wheel of the van is the one who (it appears) drew the cop in front's attention to what was happening; that's when they all begin to converge on Alexander, hurling insults at  him.

This is the long version, it includes a lot of the other dances he did all day. It really is kinda funny!

What's happened to the cops that would have laughed when they heard what was happening and danced along with him? (Especially if they knew it might go on TV!) What happened to the days when we taught our children that the police were their friends and we didn't have to worry about the child running into the type of officer in this video? What's happened indeed.....

Tuesday, January 20

Why Is the First Word in This Headline the Word LESBIAN????

What does her sexual orientation have to do with it? Do we know for sure that it had anything to
Kim Jones, 56, killed while at the bus stop

with her being gunned down? I was getting undressed to go to bed, and happened to glance at the computer;  it made me so angry I just dropped everything and had to sit down and write this post.  Come on people!! 

If we don't know that being a lesbian had anything to do with why she was killed, then the word 'lesbian' shouldn't be in the headline AT ALL, let alone be the first word!! In doing that, the media has made the article all about ‘a lesbian'; not about a woman, not about a Philadelphia resident, not even about a black woman! It's simply about 'a lesbian', and that's what everyone is going to jump on. The reason I saw this is because someone I know posted it on her Facebook and was talking about how angry she is about this lesbian being killed. Not about a human being that was just shot while standing at the bus stop waiting to go to work, but about a lesbian being 'gunned down'. Do you ever see articles reading "Heterosexual man hit by a car while crossing the street" or "CIS woman stabbed while grocery shopping"?? For some reason, the "gunned down" part irks me too, because it sounds like what mobsters do to each other, or gang members. Straight people who live in North Hollywood don't get "gunned down", they get "fatally shot", so why is a black lesbian from North Philly "gunned down"?? The majority of the people who read this article won't know Kim Jones, her wife, or her family, but what they will remember in the future when anyone brings this up will be that a lesbian was killed. She was a mother, a daughter, and a wife. People loved her for being Kim, not just for being lesbian. She was a human being, and all human beings deserve more respect than that.

  Lesbian gunned down in North Philly

A North Philadelphia lesbian was shot in broad daylight Tuesday morning while on her way to work.

Kim Jones, 56, was shot in the head at 9:30 a.m. while she was standing on the corner of 12th and Jefferson streets near Temple University, waiting to take the bus to work, police said.
The gunman came up behind Jones, who was wearing headphones, and shot her point-blank in the back of the head.
Investigators believe Jones was targeted, but a motive had not been announced as of presstime.
"She had her purse, she had her cellphone, she had jewelry on, none of which was taken, none of which was disturbed," said Homicide Capt. James Clark in a press conference Tuesday.
Officer Tanya Little, a police spokesperson, said investigators are aware that Jones, who married her partner last month, was a lesbian, and do not yet know if that could have played a role in her killing.
“Investigators have not ruled out anything at this point,” Little said.
The gunman is described as a heavyset black male wearing black clothing and carrying a black duffle bag. Investigators are reviewing video footage from SEPTA, Temple and city cameras to continue looking for clues.
"Someone knew her routine, knew she waited for the bus and waited for her," Clark said in a press conference Tuesday. "For whatever reason, she was targeted."
David Fair, deputy CEO of Turning Points for Children, a service and support organization for youth where Jones worked as program director of the Families and Schools Together initiative for the past seven years, said Jones was an exemplary employee.
“Extremely smart,” he said about her. “Always thinking about how to address the challenges in her job.”
Jones' work focused on providing parent education and support services to families of children in city schools to enhance academic success.
“She lived and breathed the children and families she worked with. When it came to the kids, she was everyone’s mother and grandmother,” Fair said. “That’s what I will remember most about her. She was one of the most caring people that I met.”
Jones, who earned a master’s of business administration, had been divorced from her ex-husband for more than 25 years, and had two adult sons.
The city is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Tuesday, January 13

Homeless Man Dies of Hypothermia; No Foul Play Found.

Each time I see a section of a city where there is new construction going on, I'm usually struck by how much money is being spent there,  and then I usually think to myself how wasteful it is. I see not just more, but more expensive housing for the affluent in the inner cities of the nation, rather than housing for the homeless, and/or the mentally ill, and unfortunately this is what happens...

Robert Hunter Jr, 21
 A tenant entering the sprawling industrial complex at Bailey Avenue and Broadway spotted the body lying on the ground near the building at about 6 a.m. Thursday and called police.
Ronald Hunter Jr. was dead.
The temperature overnight had been 2 degrees, and a stiff wind took the wind chill to nearly 20 degrees below zero.
But the 21-year-old Hunter, who was homeless and mentally ill, had discarded his jacket and attempted to remove his shirt before he died, police said.
In the most severe cases of hypothermia, medical experts say, individuals have been known to undress when they become disoriented and think they are overheating as their blood vessels constrict.
Hunter’s 6-foot, 3-inch, 150-pound body was unable to produce heat quickly enough to replenish the warmth lost to the bitter cold and harsh winds.
“There was no foul play. Hypothermia caused the death,” said Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda, confirming an Erie County Medical Examiner’s autopsy.
Hunter’s death highlights just how at risk the homeless – especially those who are mentally ill – are in winter weather as severe as that which occurred during the past week, according to workers and volunteers who assist them. Some homeless people lack the ability to know when it is time to come in from the cold.
“On nights when it is declared a Code Blue, with temperatures below 15 degrees, we go out in a van trying to bring the homeless to shelters,” said Aubrey Pula, program manager at Harbor House, a downtown drop-in center where Hunter sometimes spent the night, pacing the floor and staying to himself.
“Some refuse us, and we give them food and blankets,” she said.
A surveillance video camera at the Acme Business Park captured Hunter’s final moments overnight Wednesday as he wandered into a desolate section at the north end of the business park – a massive, subdivided one-story structure with several tenants, ranging from Catholic Charities to an auto parts manufacturer. Authorities told Hunter’s family what was on the tape.
“He kept falling down and getting up,” said Ronald Hunter Sr. “It looked like he was trying to make his way to the building to maybe try and get inside, but he never made it. He was wandering around back there for some time.”
Hunter’s father went to the spot where his son died.
“I went Thursday evening, and the snow had been plowed away,” he said of the parking lot that rolls up to loading docks at the back of the complex, which is not far from a Bailey Avenue bridge over railroad tracks, north of where Bailey intersects Broadway.
“He was way, way in the back in that parking lot,” the father said of where his son collapsed and died. “I still hope the police continue their investigation. I have questions and I don’t think everything is known.”

‘I’m hearing voices’

The path to Ronald Hunter Jr.’s death began several years ago, when he started acting strangely and became alienated from those who loved him most, relatives said.
“When he was living with us, I found him curled up in a ball in the corner of a bedroom, and I said, ‘What’s wrong, baby?’ ” his father recalled.
“I’m hearing voices telling me to kill myself,” his son told him.
“We called Crisis Services, and they evaluated him,” his father said.
It was determined that the younger Hunter suffered from schizophrenia and behavioral disorders.
“But because he was 18, it was up to him if he wanted help,” said Sharon Hunter, his stepmother.
The elder Hunter said his son sought help from time to time from a mental health services provider but did not stick with it.
And his mental illness worsened in recent years, said his mother, Donna McNally.
“He began to have outbursts,” she said.
But her son, the youngest of seven children, could be the most gentle and loving person when he was calm, McNally said.
As a boy, Hunter attended Lincoln Academy grammar school. As a teenager, he went to Burgard High School, although he quit before graduating.
The last time his mother saw him was on New Year’s Eve, when Ronald Hunter Sr. drove him to her home in the Town of Tonawanda.
“He came in and said, ‘Mom, I love you,’ ” McNally recalled. “I said, ‘I love you, Ronald.’ ”
“We hugged and then he left.”
Ronald Hunter Sr. had driven his son to her home after picking him up at Erie County Medical Center, where the young man had spent two days in the psychiatric unit after police took him there following a disturbance at a West Side convenience store.
At about 10 a.m. Wednesday, the father said, he drove his son and a long-time friend to downtown Buffalo.
“Ronald was going to live with his friend, and he wanted to apply for cash to help with the rent. They were going to try and make ends meet by living together. I dropped Ronald off at Social Services,” the father said.
And that was the last time he saw his son.

Help at Harbor House

Staff members and residents at Harbor House, where Hunter sometimes stayed, recalled that Hunter kept to himself.
“He’d pace the floor, but he didn’t bother anybody,” said 57-year-old Eugene Jones, who has been homeless since he was evicted from his apartment after ownership of the building changed hands six months ago. “Ronald didn’t go wild like some people do.”
Thomas Kissell said he could relate to what Hunter had gone through. He, too, knows what it is like to be out in the extreme cold, saying he almost died Friday morning.
“I’d gone to the emergency room at Erie County Medical Center because my legs were swelling up and I didn’t feel well. I was released at 2 a.m.,” the 50-year-old Kissell said, showing hospital discharge papers. “I walked all the way here,” he said of the Harbor House facility on the 200 block of Genesee Street.
“It took me hours, almost till dawn. I knew if I stopped I’d freeze to death.”
Kissell pulled up his pant leg to reveal his bloated right calf.
“Look at how my leg is swollen,” he said. “Both my legs are swollen to the knees.”
A bottle of Brisk iced tea-lemonade in a side pocket of his knapsack was no longer liquid, but slush.

On the edge

On Wednesday, the day before Ronald Hunter Jr.’s body was found, Buffalo recorded the most frigid temperatures and negative wind chills of the week, according to National Weather Service data. Just before 9 that night, the temperature dropped to 2 degrees, while the wind chill dipped to minus 18 degrees.
The low temperatures for the entire week only exceeded single digits once, and the brutal wind chills continued into Thursday morning.
Where are the homeless to find shelter? Harbor House, which describes its operations as a “night-time drop-in center,” is open year-round. The Buffalo City Mission and St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy also offer shelter to the homeless.
The stories of the homeless who find shelter at Harbor House show how close they live to the edge of life, said Michael Broadus, who works at the facility, which specializes in assisting the mentally ill.
“If I were homeless, I’d hope that someone would be there for me,” Broadus said.
Harbor House’s Pula offered condolences to the Hunter family from the staff and those they serve.
“Our hearts and thoughts are with the family,” she said.
She then went out Friday night, on the fifth consecutive Code Blue effort of the week, to gather homeless from the streets and take them back to Harbor House.
“They’re really good people, even the ones that do bad things,” she said. “Once you talk with them, you see how good they are.”

Thursday, January 1

How Does A Parent Justify Turning Their Back on Their Child?

Leelah on Tumblr

Despite the background that I come from (can you say drugs, sex, and rock & roll?) I have some very old-fashioned beliefs. One of my most strongly held beliefs is that parents should support/stand up for/help their children in whatever way they can. When you have a child you take on a responsibility that doesn’t just go away when the child becomes old enough to manage for themselves; nor do you just hand off that responsibility to someone else because you decide that you don’t want to/can’t/won’t deal with it anymore. Even when that child is an adult, and bumbling along making their inevitable mistakes, you brought that child into the world so it is your responsibility to see that the child gets through life as easily as possible. Even if that means reconsidering some of your long-held methods of dealing with some beliefs that do not agree with yours.                                                                                
(Now I know this is going to create some backlash with the ‘devout, Holy Ghost filled, dancing in the aisles, slain by the Spirit, fanatical’ types, and I’m sorry for that, but please remember that these are my opinions posted on my blog, and the Constitution says I have every right to do that, so if you disagree please do so in a calm and polite manner in the Comments.)  
There are people who consider themselves to be good Christians, the ones that are very strict and super straight are the ones I’m talking about now. Those who follow to the letter those parts of the Bible which they feel justify their stance on the big issues, while shoving aside as ‘outdated’ those that don’t, these are the type of people I mean. People like 17 year old Leelah Alcorn’s parents. I was heartbroken when I read the suicide letter; to think that this child felt so shut out by her own parents that she felt the only answer was to walk into busy traffic. I just cannot fathom how anyone, and most certainly not a parent, could see the anguish their child must have been suffering, and been so heartless as to cause that child to commit suicide!  I say they were heartless because of the way they responded when she came out at school. Instead of trying to work something out with her, a compromise of some sort, they essentially imprisoned her for five months! They gave her no support, and made sure she got none from anyone else either. That is so unbelievably cruel, to take everything away from another human being, let alone your own flesh and blood…
Now, as a parent I’m not saying that I believe Leelah’s parents should have rolled over and given her everything she wanted; sometimes people have lines they feel that they simply cannot cross, for one reason or another. I’m sure though that they could have gotten much closer to that line before they crossed it, if they had just unbent and listened to her. I wonder how they feel now, having chosen their belief system over their child?

Ohio Transgender Teen Commits Suicide, Cites Religious Zealot Parents’ Attempt to Control Her Life Union Township, Ohio

Union Township, Ohio – A transgender teen girl chose to walk into the path of Interstate Highway traffic rather than face discrimination and harsh treatment for her gender expression. reports that Leelah Alcorn, 17, was struck and killed by an oncoming tractor-trailer truck at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 28, after leaving an extensive suicide note on her Tumblr account social media page. The driver of the truck, Abdullahi Ahmed, 39, was unhurt in the tragic incident that took place near the South Lebanon exit on I-71 because of his fastened seatbelt. Ms. Alcorn’s body was transported from the scene by the Warren County Coroner’s Office. Ohio Highway Patrol Officers are investigating what led Ms. Alcorn apparently to take her own life.
Ms. Alcorn whose account of rejection, alienation for her parents and school mates highlights the plight of transgender teens around the nation, left two notes on her blog, according to openly gay Cincinnati City Council man, Chris Seelbach : a suicide note, which may be read in its entirety on Councilman Seelbach’s Facebook Page here, and an apology note to the few friends Ms. Alcorn felt she still had at the time of her decision to take her own life. Ms. Alcorn, an M to F transgender youth whose chosen screen avatar was lazerprincess wrote that she had felt herself trapped in a male body since the age of four. In her suicide note which begins, “If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue. Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender,” Leelah writes that her parents’ response to her discovery of her transgender identity contributed to a self-hatred that dogged her from age 14 until her death three years later. Her mother mandated that Leelah see conservative “Christian” therapists who only contributed to the burden of anger and depression.
The crisis apparently took place at the time of Leelah’s 16th birthday. She writes: “When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.”

In response to the inflexibility of her parents, Leelah came out as gay at school, believing that doing so would soften the effect of living into her true transgender persona. Her strict Christian parents responded by taking her out of public school, depriving her of any means of communicating with the outside world such as her cell phone and her laptop, and put her into virtual isolation for five months. “No friends, no support, no love,” Leelah wrote. “Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.” 

When she was finally allowed by her parents to communicate with others and see her one-time friends, Leelah relates that her excitement turned to deeper agony upon finding out that her classmates were little better than acquaintances who cared little for her true self. After a summer of depression, fearing the unknowns of college, grades, enforced attendance at a church where “everyone . . . is against everything I live for,” and what she believed to be the unreachability of transitioning, Leelah gave up hoping anything could get any better for her. “Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself, “ she wrote. “There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say ‘it gets better’ but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.”

“That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself,” she wrote in an exhausted, heartbreaking coda to her final testament, struggling to explain who she really was by striking out her male birth name in her parting salutation. “Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a shit which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say ‘that’s fucked up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.”


“(Leelah) Josh Alcorn” 

Councilman Seelbach prefaced Leelah’s note with an appeal to his Facebook Friends to contribute what they could spare to TransOhio, so that in some measure, Leelah’s last wish that trans civil rights could somehow be advanced thanks to her having lived. Seelbach, the first openly gay Council Member to be elected in Cincinnati, writes: “While Cincinnati led the country this past year as the first city in the mid-west to include transgender inclusive health benefits and we have included gender identity or expression as a protected class for many years….the truth is….it is still extremely difficult to be a transgender young person in this country.

“We have to do better.” 

We at the Unfinished Lives Project could not agree more with Councilman Seelbach. Transgender youth in America, especially M to F persons, face unimaginable hurdles in the quest to become who they truly are. Seldom are we invited into the long, punishing agony trans teens endure. Leelah Alcorn died because her parents, her school, her society, and the religious underpinnings of the social and moral system of this country are hostile to non-normative gender identity and variant gender expression. Though she was 17 when she stepped into the path of a hurtling semi truck, she was still a child: vulnerable, confused, and above all, wounded. She took her own life. But she cannot be held responsible for the act that took her life. That indictment falls on a culture and heterosexist system in which we all play a part. LGBTQ and Straight alike. Councilman Seelbach declares what we must all resolve to do. Better. So much better, for the multitudes of youth like Leelah Alcorn who deserve a fair chance at the pursuit of happiness in a land that professes to stand for justice. “We have to do better.” Yes. It’s a matter of life and death that we do. (Thanks to Carmen Saenz, Waco, TX activist, for drawing our attention to this story.)

Rest peacefully, lazerprincess, dear sister.

For any Transgender Young Person struggling with life, and in need of a friendly, non-judgmental voice of help and encouragement, we recommend the Trevor Lifeline, a 24/7 phone service where a real person will answer your call, listen sincerely, and offer real assistance.

 Free call, 1-866-488-7386. Call. Text. Now.

As always, the opinions in this blog post are strictly those of the author, who is in no way affliated with Blogger or any of its subsidiaries.