Showing posts with label Trans Killing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trans Killing. Show all posts

August 22, 2016

Turkey Moving Away from Secularism and into Hate Crimes


A widespread crackdown on dissent is fuelling tension across Turkey, which has seen a rise in hate crimes against minorities – including a recently reported attack against a well-known transgender activist in Istanbul.

Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported that the badly burnt and mutilated body of Hande Kader, a 22-year-old LGBT activist and sex worker, was found on August 8 by the roadside in a residential area of Istanbul.

Although DNA evidence has yet to confirm the remains belong to Kader, the director of a gay rights group said her boyfriend and some friends had positively identified the body.

Emirhan Deniz Çelebi, the director of SPoD, a national LGBT organization based in Istanbul, joined other LGBT associations in condemning what they believe is deliberate silence by the country’s mainstream media in the wake of the activist’s death.

"We are not equal,” he said.

After Kader was arrested during an equal rights rally and faced down police water cannons during last year's Gay Pride parade, she became a symbolic figure in the LGBT community.

“We are being murdered and they do not hear our voices, because the rules in Turkey don't protect us”, said Deniz Çelebi.

Outraged supporters launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of Kader’s death and the plight of the LGBT community in Turkey. On Twitter they shared the hashtag #HandeKaderSesVer (MakeSomeNoiseForHandeKader), while on a petition was circulated to advocate for better protections for those in the community.

Last Thursday local activists took their cause to the capital, holding a press conference outside the parliament to highlight the daily risks confronting LGBT members.

Kader’s murder comes less than two weeks after the beheading of a gay Syrian refugee whose body was found not far from where Kader was discovered.

Muhammed Wisam Sankari, who had fled war-torn Syria, was found decapitated after being raped and assaulted. He could only be identified by the clothes he was wearing.

Minorities targeted

After last month’s failed coup in which the government instituted a state of emergency, the rights of minorities including gays, women and LGBT members have been whittled away.

While the Turkish capital has been a safe haven for many fleeing persecution and war in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, hate crimes against LGBT people have increased.

“Since the coup-attempt, a number of my transgender friends have called me and talked about how they were discriminated against because of their ID Cards and appearance,” Deniz Çelebi said.

Turkish lawyer and LGBT rights advocate Levent Pişkin said Erdogan’s rampant purges have exacerbated the fears of minorities.

“Actually, LGBT people in Turkey have never had legal rights,” said Pişkin.

“But we knew there were judicial mechanisms to support us. Nowadays, most people feel more vulnerable.”

Shift away from secularism

Although homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey as it is in many other Muslim countries, homophobia remains widespread. Almost 80 percent of Turks believe homosexuality is “morally unacceptable” according to a 2013 study by the US think tank PEW Research Center.

Pişkin said Kader’s death is symptomatic of a country shifting away from secularism.

“An Islamic tendency has gradually been getting stronger,” said Pişkin.

“The government has preferred war over strengthening our democracy. Therefore, our democratic rights and one’s right to life hang by a thread.”

LGBT activists will stage a demonstration on Sunday in Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue to raise further awareness about Kader's death.

pic BBC

December 16, 2014

Philippines Murder Charges on Marine Killing of Transvestite Brings problems for Obama


Philippines Files Murder Charges Against U.S. Marine
An expanded US military presence in the Philippines was one of the initial features of President Obama’s pivot to Asia, which was intended to rebalance US interests and resources toward the Pacific and reaffirm the US role in the region’s security.
Now the uproar in the Philippines over a US Marine’s alleged murder of a transgender woman is reigniting opposition to a stepped-up American military presence.
The case is once again placing a spotlight on a point of contention that has long accompanied US basing overseas: tensions over US personnel on leave in local communities. 
Filipino prosecutors on Monday charged the Marine, Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, with murder in the October death of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman formerly known as Jeffrey. Officials contend Private First Class Pemberton became enraged when he discovered Ms. Laude was transgender. 
When he reported back to his ship, Pemberton confided to a fellow Marine he’d gone out with that night, “I think I killed a he/she,” according to the fellow Marine’s statement.
The murder has spawned protests led by members of Laude’s family – and joined by the Philippines’s anti-US left wing and transgender rights groups. They say they fear the Filipino government’s focus on improved relations with the United States will result in special treatment for Pemberton and dash their hopes of seeing justice done.
The US, on the other hand, is taking steps to ease tensions over the murder case. After Pemberton’s detention on a US military ship produced rumors that the accused had been (or could be) whisked away to the US, American officials agreed to his relocation to a Filipino military base in Manila, where he remains in US custody though with some Filipino guards.
The Laude murder case is reminding Filipinos of past crimes committed by US service members in the country. More broadly, the case is serving as fodder for critics of US military installations who say that cases of rapes and other crimes by US military personnel in Japan and South Korea are further proof of the harmful social impact of foreign military installations.
In April, America and the Philippines signed a 10-year agreement under which the US will not have its own bases in the Philippines, as it once did, but will rotate into Filipino installations.
Opposition in Japan to the postwar US military presence was evident in the weekend’s national elections, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party lost all four district seats in Okinawa over Mr. Abe’s plan to build a new US Marine base there.
Abe is also seeking to latch on to the US “rebalance” to Asia by strengthening ties to the US military.
Local opposition to the US military presence on Okinawa was already a fixed irritant in US-Japan relations but intensified after the 1995 rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by US service members. Another rape case in 2012 fanned old flames.
The US and the Philippines have been cautiously courting each other for more than a decade, after an earlier Filipino government kicked the US out of its Subic Bay base in 1992. Attempts at increased military cooperation were set back in 2005 when another Marine was found guilty of rape in a Filipino court.
In that case, the Marine was sentenced to life in prison and was imprisoned until his accuser recanted several years later. But resolution of the case only raised suspicions in the Philippines of some kind of deal when it was learned the accuser was given a visa to go live in the US.
Under Filipino law, local authorities can request that the US turn over Pemberton to Filipino custody while his case is adjudicated. Such a request could add to the rising tensions in US-Filipino relations.

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