Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20th: Today Marks Eight Years Since 23-Year Old Latina Trans Woman Victoria Arellano Was Killed While In an Immigration Detention Facility in California

Today, July 20th, is the 8 year anniversary of the needless death of a 23 year old Latina woman of transsexual history named Victoria Arellano that occurred in 2007 at an immigration detention facility in San Pedro, California following weeks of sadistic neglect, transphobic male violence and torture.

First, although she was obviously a woman, the bigoted ICE officers inappropriately detained her in a male facility, even while knowing the inevitable danger this misplacement would subject Victoria (or any trans* woman) to - such as verbal abuse, trauma caused by misgendering, physical harassment and/or sexual assault. It became terrifyingly transparent that ICE employees felt above honoring human rights protections for inmates, and targeting Victoria or any trans* woman with trans-misogynistic violence was just business as usual.

Shortly after arriving she had disclosed to the center of her HIV health status and informed them of her specific prescription medicine (of which her life span was critically dependent on).

ICE officers responded to Victoria’s request for medicine by denying her access (even after learning it was lifesaving treatment) and confined her to a cold cell: …alone, scared about her now unsupported health condition, experiencing both physical and emotional agony, stripped (yet permanently innate) of her womanhood and humanity by the violent state that had undemocratically staged a trial, verdict and execution by two immigration  her, and fears of never seeing her family and loved ones...  

For two whole months there were numerous opportunities for the immigration [concentration] camp to behave with human decency, but instead chose to enforce an informal ‘death sentence’ on an innocent young woman. It didn’t matter when Victoria cried out in excruciating pain, or after she visually shrunk in weight and energy, or even if she humbly knelt on the concrete to pleadingly implore her captors towards compassion – absolutely nothing would inspire those soulless henchmen to allow Victoria her cure, therefore forcibly placing her life at the mercy of the state – which in essence then sanctioned her unwarranted death, dare one say murder?


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Eric Holder Announces Trans Americans Are In Fact Protected From Discrimination Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Don't you Just love it when the Justice Department stands for Justice?!
Today, Thursday, Dec. 18th, Attorney General Eric Holder released a memo addressed to US attorneys and heads of department components.  In this statement he affirmed that transsexual, transgender and gender non-conforming Americans are rightfully protected from sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Holder's statement:

“I have determined that the best reading of Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status. This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status. This will help to foster fair and consistent treatment for all claimants. And it reaffirms the Justice Department’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

Facebook Suspends Two Transsexual Advocates for HRC Critical Comments Regarding Misrepresentation, Classism and Disempowerment

With a heavy heart I’m involuntarily saying goodbye to my Facebook friends and family. FB suspended me for 24 hours yesterday for standing up for New York’s transsexual and transgender communities by making a non-offensive and journalistically accurate comment about Human Rights Campaign’s close associate Michael Silverman, who is a non-trans white gay male who unbelievably is the director of NY’s largest trans-specific organization, TLDEF, although many qualified trans New Yorkers have expressed interest in the role. I simply expressed how the majority of the local trans* community is upset by this abuse of power of the LGB community feeling entitled to dictate to the trans community what our agenda should be. Alarmingly, another high profile transsexual advocate named Nikki Araguz (widow of fallen Texan firefighter, who then challenged state’s trans laws when they tried to deny her benefits) was also suspended last week for simply questioning HRC’s only trans board member, Meghan Stabler, for selling out the trans community for self-gain, access and financial perks.

I know reporting what happened will give my detractors another invalid reason to falsely “report” me, so I could either be suspended again, or as Facebook threatened me, I could be banned “permanently”. Therefore I wanted to say goodbye to all of you just in case the ol’ boys club of Gay, Inc. succeed in getting rid of what they see as the uncontrollable “angry, uppity, tra**y” who frequently forgets her place and refuses to be a token trans tom.

The powers that be club may take away my Facebook account just for speaking truth, however, unlike what the ill-willed Ursula did to Ariel the Little Mermaid, they will never succeed at taking away my voice, nor will I voluntarily give it away just to spend time in the dark castle.

Please save my email address so we can stay in touch:  

 Along with my email, please know you can contact me through my blog Trans Forming Media:

 And I am still helping with Black Trans* Women’s Lives Matter:  

 I am disgusted that sinister forces would abuse the reporting process or misuse their insider relationships with Facebook staff to censor freedom of speech and disappointed that trans women’s advocacy could be forcibly assaulted and unjustly imprisoned. Most importantly, I’m saddened that all the friends and co-advocates that I stay in touch with here or have even met through Facebook could be severed from me in this platform. It's deeply personal. As a teenager my family disowned me for being a girl, which is why many of my activist friends are like my chosen family, they are the only family I have, and I love them. If Facebook bans me it will be a more lonely and hopeless world for me, and I will become more isolated from my community and friends. Facebook may have now morphed into an advertising circus for its corporate interests, but for many of us it’s about finding fellowship and kinfolk to come together. It’s about family. As I write this I am becoming very emotional because it’s very triggering to think that I could be excommunicated from my family – again.

 I truly appreciate having you all in my life and am thankful for your friendship and support all these many years, and hope we can stay in touch even if my enemies triumph in robbing me of the main platform that I organize with my community on. The transsexual and intersex communities, LGB allies and feminists have changed my life for the better. You all give me hope.

 Please say a prayer for the Facebook staff to find it in their hearts to stop suspending, banning and censoring transsexual and transgender people simply for speaking the truth. The thing is that the trans* community is relatively small in number and many of us have moments of feeling isolated and alone, which is why the Internet and social media is a vital part of both our personal lives and advocacy campaigns, as we find numbers, solidarity and strength online. And also pray that they reconsider the problematic “reporting process”, as non-trans people are constantly misusing it to silence trans people with dissenting views. Freedom of speech is a gift that is alarmingly becoming compromised in this country.

 Keep up the good work, and know that I am always available, even if ol’ boys club succeed at banishing me.

 Blessing, Besos and Big Hugs, Ashley

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Beloved Washington DC Trans Advocate Ruby Corado Marries Longtime Boyfriend; DC Mayor Vincent Gray Gives Her Away

Ruby Corado and her new husband David Walker pose with DC Mayor Vincent Gray
On Saturday, October 18th true love united as noted DC trans advocate Ruby Corado married her longtime boyfriend David Walker in a beautiful ceremony at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in DC. She was walked down the aisle by DC Mayor Vincent Gray, who has been a longtime supporter of the transsexual and transgender communities.

On Sunday she left a message on her Facebook wall:

 Dreams Do Come True!

 My whole life, I have been told that I was not supposed to love or be loved.

 I was not supposed to love myself because I was different( Trans, indigenous, dark haired, immigrant, HIV Positive, fat, short, you name it). I was made to believe that no one could love me back because I was different.

 Yesterday, life proved everyone wrong.

 I love myself more than ever because I am SOMEBODY. My husband showed the world that it is ok to love me even though I am different.

 My city's mayor Vince Gray walked me down the aisle and showed the world once again that he stands for love. My friends and Family showed me, that I am SOMEBODY, and they stand with me in sickness and in health until death do us part.

Today as I lay next to my husband, I want to tell my friends, clients, supporters, followers and the entire world that It is ok to be different and that no matter what anyone says, YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE AS MUCH AS I AM

Never stop dreaming; never stop believing because dreams do come true.

A Million Thanks To Everyone Who Shared This Special Moment in person or from a distance, I felt your love

Love For All, Ruby Corado-Walker


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Out Actress Emily Rios On Why LGBT Actors Should Play LGBT Characters: "It's important. We should advocate for that because...we’re always going to respect those characters because we lived the life personally"

with out actress Emily Rios

Last night I was particularly excited to attend the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Annual Gala because one of my favorite actresses, California native Emily Rios, was being honored. This summer she came out publically as lesbian

With the current controversy of Amazon’s new online TV show Transparent capitalizing off ‘transface’, where men humiliatingly play the roles of trans* woman characters, which further misgenders, others and dehumanizes our community, I thought I would interview Emily about the importance of LGBT actors having the opportunity to play LGBT characters, especially since her trailblazing character on FX’s ‘The Bridge’ is also a lesbian Latina.

Trans Forming Media:

“Why do you think it’s important for LGBT actors to play LGBT roles?”

Emily Rios:

“I think it’s important that we need to do it [openly LGBT actors playing LGBT characters on TV and in film] and the reason why we should advocate for that is because we come from a level of respect and we’re always going to respect those characters because we lived the life personally.

I would love that we won’t get typecast in that sense and only have to play those characters forever, but as far as us I feel like we shouldn’t stay closeted, you know, I feel we should come out and feel comfortable playing those roles because I feel those are the roles that are really going to set our careers forth because this is who we are and this is what we live in a daily basis.

 And really, when you come from a place with any character when you can relate on a personal level it showcases on TV and I feel the audience is always going to respect us more when we show respect to the character”

Rios’ acceptance speech:

Monday, September 22, 2014

#HappyBlackWoman: The New York Times Says, “Shonda Rimes and Ashley Love are ‘Angry’ Black Women Because They Pursue Social Change”

Last week The New York Times called media mogul Shonda Rimes an “angry black woman” and just three weeks ago The NY Times also called me “angry” and “aggressive”, simply because I, as a journalist and advocate, asked a question during a Q&A following Outfest's screening of Transparent (re: ‘trans face’ - where a male actor once again plays a trans* woman character).

 When Black women own their power, are assertive and question the patriarchy they are often called "angry black women", de-feminized (“aggressive”), demeaned and stigmatized (stigmatizing is a new clever form of censorship, as well as vilifying dissent).

Of course, both journalists that mischaracterized both Shonda and I are white women, and of a particular class. A couple of privileged white female journalists that apparently have no clue what Black women in the United States go through (and even more challenging, what Black and Latina trans* women go through) can attempt to vilify us simply for sharing real life experiences, asking tough questions and working to help other women of color, yet we will continue to advocate for change - because our work is not about crafting sensational articles so the NY Times can garner more hits and ad revenue, or writing disingenuous, one-sided PR fluff pieces for an Amazon online TV show, our work is to try to make the world a better place.

I'm happy, I'm free spirited, and I’m inspired, but if calling me an "angry black woman" makes you feel less uncomfortable with the truth I speak, then chances are you may be a "shallow, blind, fearful and classist non-Black woman".   - Jus’ sayin’…

 #UnapologeticBlackQueen #HappyBlackWoman