NCAVP mourns the death of Johana Medina Leon, a 25-year-old El Salvadoran trans woman

NCAVP mourns the death of Johana Medina Leon, 25, who died just four days after she was released from ICE custody and taken to a hospital, May 28, 2019.  According to media sources, Johana was detained for seven weeks by ICE, after she requested asylum from her home country of El Salvador, where she faced severe and escalating transphobia.  Johana’s death comes a year after the death of Roxsana Hernandez Rodruiguez died in ICE custody in New Mexico.

Johana was a certified nurse in El Salvador.  OJ Pitaya, an advocate with Diversidad Sin Fronteras, an LGBT human rights organization, shared that Johana was a certified nurse in El Salvador, and “Her dream was to come to the US to get certified and make a living healing people.”

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilingual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

NCAVP mourns the death of Timothy Blancher, a 20-year-old Black gay man in Detroit, MI

NCAVP mourns the death of Timothy Blancher, a 20 year old Black gay man who died from a gunshot wound on May 25th in a Detroit, MI home.  Media reports indicate that Devon Robinson, 18, also of Detroit, was arrested for killing of Timothy, along with 21-year old ,  Alunte Davis, another gay man, and 20-year old Paris Cameron, a trans woman.  Reports indicate the motive for the killing was hatred of LGBTQ people.

Alanna Maguire President of the The Fair Michigan Justice Project, said “This case illustrates the mortal danger faced by members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community.”

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilingual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

NCAVP mourns the death of Paris Cameron, a 20-year-old Black trans woman, in Detroit, MI

NCAVP mourns the death of Paris Cameron, a 20-year-old Black trans woman who died from a gunshot wound on May 25th in a Detroit, MI home. Media reports indicate that Devon Robinson, 18, also of Detroit, was arrested for killing of Paris, along with 21-year old,  Alunte Davis and 20-year old, Timothy Blancher, two gay men.  Reports indicate the motive for the killing was hatred of LGBTQ people.

Alanna Maguire President of the The Fair Michigan Justice Project, said “This case illustrates the mortal danger faced by members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community.”

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilingual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

NCAVP mourns the death of Alunte Davis, a 21-year-old gay man in Detroit, MI

NCAVP mourns the death of Alunte Davis, a 21-year-old gay man who died from a gunshot wound on May 25th in a Detroit, MI home.  Media reports indicate that Devon Robinson, 18, also of Detroit, was arrested for killing of Alunte, along with 20-year old Timothy Blancher, another gay man, and 20-year old Paris Cameron, a trans woman.  Reports indicate the motive for the killing was hatred of LGBTQ people.

Alunte’s sister, Dasha Robinson, said of her brother, “Alunte was silly.  He was full of life, he was helpful.”

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilingual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

#QueerSVAM: What is Sexual Violence?

April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month, a time to honor the experiences of sexual violence survivors, and to find ways that we can all engage in destigmatizing and preventing sexual violence. At AVP, we use the term Sexual Violence Awareness Month, instead of the more traditionally recognized Sexual Assault Awareness Month, because we understand sexual violence occurs on a spectrum of behaviors, including harassment, exploitation, and murder. We affirm all of the ways our communities define their experiences of sexual violence, whether or not it meets the criminal legal definition of sexual assault.

Sexual violence is any completed or attempted act, comment, or advance by anyone in any setting to which an individual has not given your explicit consent. It can be part of, and also can be distinct from, the cycle of power and control central to  intimate partner violence. Sexual violence can also be perpetrated by current and former partners, coworkers, classmates, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Although the majority of sexual violence is committed by cisgender men, people of all genders can experience and perpetrate sexual violence. In LGBTQ community, we face  even higher rates of sexual violence than our non-LGBTQ counterparts.

The mainstream definition of sexual violence typically offers a limited understanding of who can experience and perpetrate sexual violence. This leaves LGBTQ survivors further marginalized and without proper resources or tools for navigating and recovering from harm. LGBTQ people who are sex workers, currently or formerly incarcerated, Black or Brown, low income, disabled, transgender, or undocumented may have a harder time accessing supportive services after violence due to racial, economic, and gendered systems of oppression.

No matter a person’s identity, sexual violence is never the survivor’s fault. If you or someone you know is a survivor, reach out to your local anti-violence project or to AVP’s 24/7, bilingual hotline at (212) 714- 1141.

NCAVP Urges Support for the Equality Act

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), a coalition of 50 LGBTQ anti-violence organizations across the country, supports the Equality Act and urges Congress to pass H.R. 5. The Equality Act is a crucial step toward LGBTQ liberation, introduced by Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).

The Equality Act of 2019 amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, in addition to race, color, religion, or national origin, as protected identity factors. The bill forbids discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex stereotypes for all public services and accommodations.

While other proposed anti-discrimination legislation address single topics such as housing, education, public accommodations, and juror protection separately, The Equality Act takes a more comprehensive approach in protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, the Equality Act would protect against discrimination from retail stores, transportation, pharmacies, legal services, banks, and emergency shelters.

Despite some progress in the movement for LGBTQ equality, people who identify as LGBTQ still face interpersonal and institutional oppression that limits their socioeconomic mobility and ability to access various public services. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is prevalent for LGBTQ people in all aspects of public life—from housing and healthcare to employment and education—and limits the success, empowerment and overall health of the LGBTQ community.

Here are a few examples of the type of discrimination that restricts the social mobility and general wellbeing of LGBTQ people, making it more challenging to pursue safe and fulfilling lives:

  • Nearly 1 in 3 transgender Americans reported being denied equal treatment in a retail store, while 1 in 5 reported unequal treatment at a restaurant or a hotel.[1]
  • One survey found that more than half of LGBT middle and high school students do not feel safe at school due to their sexual orientation, and over one-third feel unsafe in relation to their gender expression.[2]
  • 23% of respondents experienced some form of housing discrimination in the past year, such as being evicted from their home or denied a home or apartment because of being transgender.[3]
  • In 2015, 39% of non-binary people and 34% of transgender men and women reported receiving negative treatment on public transportation.[4]
  • 30% of respondents who had a job in the past year reported being fired, denied a promotion, or experiencing some other form of mistreatment in the workplace related to their gender identity or expression, such as being harassed or attacked.[5]

There is an indivisible connection between discrimination and harassment of LGBTQ people in the public sphere and more severe acts of violence against and within the community. Hate violence and discrimination often serve as risk factors for interpersonal violence in LGBTQ relationships. Research shows that prolonged discrimination and prejudice against historically marginalized communities causes chronic stress, and can exacerbate situations of intimate partner violence[6]. Further, preventing discrimination in housing, employment, banks, and elsewhere enables to survivors to more safely access supportive survivors after experiencing violence.

[1] Jaime M. Grant, Lisa A. Mottet, and Justin Tanis, “Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey” (Washington: National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2011), available at http://www.thetaskforce.org/ downloads/reports/reports/ntds_full.pdf.

[2] Joseph G. Kosciw. “The 2013 National School Climate Survey” (Washington: GLSEN, 2014), available at http://glsen.org/nscs

[3] James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

[4] See above.

[5] See above.

[6] Barrett, B. (March 2015). “Domestic Violence in the LGBT Community.” Encyclopedia of Social Work.

NCAVP mourns the death of Jazzaline Ware, a Black trans woman in Memphis, Tennessee

NCAVP mourns the death of Jazzaline Ware, a Black trans woman, who was found dead in her Memphis apartment in March. According to the Transgender Law Center and local activists, Southerners on New Ground, Jazzaline’s death is being investigated as a homicide, but more information is not known.

Kayla Gore, southern regional organizer for Transgender Law Center at Southerners On New Ground shared that Jazzaline’s death occurred against a backdrop of state-sponsored discrimination and urged the public to fight discriminatory policy, stating, “When our elected officials shout from the mountain tops that trans and gender nonconforming people should have less access to public resources and fewer rights as cisgender people, anti- trans violence increases.  Right now, our community in Memphis is mourning the death of Jazzaline Ware, a Black trans woman and beloved friend. Trans women of color, especially Black trans women, are the targets of violence on the streets simply for existing. For that to change, the Slate of Hate must be stopped in the capitol building in Nashville.”

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilingual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

NCAVP Statement in Support of the Re-Authorization of VAWA

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), a coalition of more than 50 LGBTQ anti-violence organizations across the country, urges Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, H.R. 1585.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) remains the only piece of federal legislation that includes explicit civil rights protections for LGBTQ communities. VAWA focuses on preventing and responding to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These protections have altered the landscape for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer (LGBTQ) survivors – particularly for those who experience marginalization based on more than one identity – by increasing access to essential survivor services  and setting a precedent for civil rights protections in future legislation.

Research shows that LGBTQ people experience high rates of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, stalking, and dating violence and far too many of these survivors are not able to access supportive services. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation, 44% of lesbian women, 61% of bisexual women, 37% of bisexual men and 26% of gay men have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Research on transgender communities is still limited, but the data that does exist shows that upwards of 50% of transgender people will experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives. Most recently, NCAVP reported that 37% of LGBTQ intimate partner violence cases included heterosexist or anti-LGBTQ bias.

These high rates of violence are often caused and exacerbated by a lack of LGBTQ affirming prevention and support. VAWA has increased the accessibility of resources for LGBTQ programs, and established opportunities for other programs to receive training and technical assistance so they can better serve LGBTQ survivors. Without this funding, LGBTQ survivors and other underserved communities would be harmed in even greater numbers.

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 affirms current protections for LGBTQ and other underserved communities and provides enhanced data collection. In addition, the bill also includes:

  • Provisions to protect Native survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and dating violence and ensure that they can access the justice they deserve;
  • Protections from abusive partners with dangerous weapons;
  • Improved protections for survivors in federal public, subsidized and assisted housing; and
  • Increased funding for sexual violence prevention and education programs.

This bill reflects the field’s commitment to ensuring that all survivors have access to services and care when experiencing intimate partner violence, sexual violence, stalking, and dating violence. As a result of a fully inclusive VAWA being re-authorized, more survivors will have access to necessary life-saving services, and supporting the needs of all survivors will be affirmed as a national priority.

To express your support for this vital piece of legislation, call your Representatives today and encourage them to sponsor H.R. 1585, and call your Senators to ask that they introduce a bill with the same provisions of H.R. 1585.

ncavp condemns trump’s transgender military ban

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court voted to temporarily allow the Trump administration’s ban on most transgender individuals serving in the military to go into effect while the lawsuits challenging the ban move forward. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) strongly condemns the transgender military ban and such attacks against the transgender community.

The first public news of a transgender military ban came by way of the President’s social media in July 2017 and was later formalized by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The policy, released in 2018, confirmed that the military would no longer allow anyone who identifies with a gender different from the one assigned at birth to serve. Under the new policy, the military would also not pay for transgender affirming medical care. Several law suits have been filed challenging the discriminatory policy and in several cases, lower courts granted injunctions to block the policy, meaning that transgender recruits could join the armed forces, and those already enlisted could stay.

All injunctions from the lower courts have been overruled by the Supreme Court except for one, which will likely be overruled soon, allowing the ban to go into effect while the lawsuits proceed in the courts. Notably, the Supreme Court typically waits to address a case until a lower court issues a ruling. This week, the Court has circumvented this timeline and has issued this order while lower courts are deciding their positions.

Excluding transgender people from serving in the military is one more example of the persistent discrimination transgender people experience in employment, housing, healthcare and education. The current administration’s continued attacks on the transgender community, in particular, are unacceptable and contribute to a culture of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people and all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. NCAVP works to prevent and end all forms of violence against and within the LGBTQ community and considers this military ban to be a dehumanizing and violent act of discrimination.

NCAVP mourns the death of Vongell Lugo, a 36 year-old gay man in Washington, D.C.

NCAVP mourns the death of Vongell Lugo, a 36 year-old gay man who is the first reported LGBTQ homicide linked to intimate partner violence in 2019.  According to media reports, Vongell was stabbed to death in his home by his partner, U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Collin J. Potter, 26, who was arrested and has been charged by the U.S. Attorney with second degree murder.

Vongell was a successful retail executive, who is described as “a kind soul, the center of the party, and a beacon of light that made an impact on everyone he came into contact with,” on Caring Bridge, which also has information on events to commemorate Vongell’s life, mourn his passing, and contribute to expenses.  Events included a candlelight vigil on Friday, January 11th, a viewing on Sunday, January 13th, and funeral services Monday, January 14th.

NCAVP’s latest report, issued earlier this week, Hate Violence and Intimate Partner Violence in LGBTQ and HIV-affected Communities in 2017 highlights the LGBTQ people’s risk for severe and fatal intimate partner violence, as well as hate violence.

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against and within our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilingual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.