NCAVP mourns the death of 18-year-old transgender woman Nikki Kuhnhausen in Clark County, Washington.

NCAVP mourns the death of 18-year-old transgender woman Nikki Kuhnhausen in Clark County, Washington. According to media reports, Nikki Kuhnhausen has been missing since June after meeting with a man she met off of snapchat. A search coordinated by the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation (NWCAVA) led to her body being found earlier this week. 

Nikki Kuhnhausen’s parents, Lisa and Vincent Woods, worked diligently to find their missing daughter, passing out flyers at pride parades and throughout the community. “Nikki had my heart from the moment she was born,” Lisa Woods told media. “She’s been my special child and she keeps me knowing I am worth something.” 

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Nikki Kuhnhausen. Donations can be made in Nikki’s name to NWCAVE and will be used for funeral costs. 

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 bilngual 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In 2015, 39% of non-binary people and 34% of transgender men and women reported receiving negative treatment on public transportation.
  • 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.

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. Further, preventing discrimination in housing, employment, banks, and elsewhere enables to survivors to more safely access supportive survivors after experiencing violence.

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.

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

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.

See above.

See above.

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

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.

NCAVP mourns the death of Dana Martin, a 31 year-old Black trans woman in Montgomery, Alabama

NCAVP mourns the death of Dana Martin, a 31 year-old Black trans woman in Montgomery, Alabama, the first transgender homicide victim of 2019.  According to news reports, Dana was shot while driving her car, and died from the wound. Police have no leads, but are continuing to investigate.  NCAVP’s latest report, issued earlier this week, Hate Violence and Intimate Partner Violence in LGBTQ and HIV-affected Communities highlights the disproportionate risk for severe and fatal violence faced by trans women of color, like Dana.

Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd, founder of Transgender Advocates Knowledgeable Empowering, shared in an interview that Dana  “was a person that was loved by many, and you can see it all over Facebook.”

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 Sarah Hawkins, a 43-year old woman from Phoenix, AZ

NCAVP mourns the death of 43-year old Sarah Hawkins, who, according to media reports, was shot by her ex-partner, 33-year old Fiona Luvisi, who then killed herself. No more information is available at this time, but NCAVP members will continue to reach out to the local community to offer support. Violence within intimate relationships happens as often—or more often–among LGBTQ people, yet is seldom discussed. As this tragic loss shows us and as NCAVP reports consistently show, this violence can be deadly.

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

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.

AVP Honors Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience

We honor the trans elders who have fought for the freedom to live their lives authentically and and openly. We honor those who are still here today -fighting for justice, visibility and respect. We  honor trans youth, who have always mapped our way forward and continue to light our way. We remember the folks that continue to go unnamed, misgendered and deadnamed. We see who you are and all that you were. In your death, we say your name loudly and with pride.

We celebrate  our trans siblings here with us today – the community member, the organizers and staff of trans* experience at AVP and across the world doing the vital work for their community to ensure respect, dignity and safety of all those who hold that shared identity.

AVP is committed to working for, and with, the trans and gender nonconforming community. We continue to provide free services for survivors and create new initiatives to curb violence, and provide access to resources, for trans and gender nonconforming people.

Today and every day, AVP stands in solidarity, and in community, with trans folks.

We Are Committed. We Will Not Step Back.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the Trump Administration is considering redefining sex to be only “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.” If carried out, the proposal in the leaked memo from the Department of Health and Human Services will continue the efforts already underway to deny transgender, gender non-conforming (TGNC) and intersex people necessary medical care, access to safety, basic protections and ultimately, their humanity. This is violence.

The Administration is hoping to remove our hard-won protections and rights by fostering a climate of violence in which TGNC people’s live are devalued in this country. At AVP, we see daily the toll of this kind of state violence. We’ve been sounding the alarm about the current crisis of violence that last year took the lives of at least 27 TGNC victims of homicide and at least 22 lives this year. We cannot afford to take even one step backward. Our TGNC community members and family members’ lives are depending on us now.

With this despicable attempt to erase millions of people who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming or non-binary, and those who are intersex, the administration has underestimated our community’s rage, defiance and the power of our organizing for and with each other. We will not stand silently by while this Administration continues to try to dehumanize any of us.

This is not a wait and see moment. This is a moment for each of us to commit to working to calling out and stopping transphobia in all of the places it lives. We must all find ways to show up and engage in this fight at this moment.

As a Black cisgender lesbian, I know I can and must do even more now, to stand up as my community is under attack. To the cisgender members of our AVP family, I am inviting you to join me in standing with and for TGNC people right now and into the future. In the coming days and weeks, we will be outlining specific ways you can take action as allies, so watch this space.

And to our TGNC family, we see you and we are here for you. You can always reach out to AVP’s confidential 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141 or drop into our office.

Together we can make a difference.

Until we are all safe and free,

Beverly Tillery
Executive Director

Thank You for Attending Courage 2018! Pictures + more.

October 12, 2018

Thank you to all who attended and supported our 22nd Annual Courage Awards!

I also want to take this time to thank our honorees: Minneapolis City Council VP, Andrea Jenkins; singer-songwriter, Shea Diamond; Senior VP of HBO, Rich Palermo; and the cast and crew of FX’s Pose. Last night’s acceptance speeches not only moved and inspired our community, but also underscored the importance of National Coming Out Day and our hope to make it safe for everyone to be and express who they are.

Since 1980, the New York City Anti-Violence Project has been able to grow its capacity to support thousands of LGBTQ and HIV-affected community members each year. Last night we had a goal of raising $30,000 in the room and thanks to all of you, we were able to raise $55,000! We are heartened and energized by your generosity and dedication.

We look forward to working with you all in the coming weeks and months to make our community and world a safer place for all of us. Here are some pictures from last night’s event. More to come!

If you were not able to attend yesterday, please consider supporting AVP today.

In peace and solidarity,

Beverly Tillery
Executive Director

NCAVP Supports The Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act

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 2018. The bill was introduced on July 26, 2018 by Representative Jackson Lee and contains realistic and much needed enhancements to our current law.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) remains the only piece of federal legislation that includes explicit civil rights protections for LGBTQ communities. These protections have altered the landscape for LGBTQ survivors, particularly for those living on the margins- not only in setting the floor for civil rights protections in future legislation, but also in opening doors for many more survivors to access care and support during a critical moment in their lives.

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 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 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 research that does exist shows that upwards of 50% of transgender people will experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives.

These higher rates of violence are often due to the lack of LGBTQ affirming programs and services thus creating a barrier to inclusive prevention programming, safety planning, and supportive services. The resources that have been made available to LGBTQ programs as well as funds designated to training and technical assistance on serving underserved communities through VAWA has helped programs become better equipped to serve the unique needs of LGBTQ survivors. Without access to this funding, LGBTQ survivors would be harmed in even greater numbers.

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018 builds upon our previous success by affirming current protections for LGBTQ communities, including providing for enhanced data collection and an expanded focus on underserved communities. In addition, the bill also includes:

  • Improved healthcare responses for survivors including better coordinated response in the healthcare system.
  • Provisions to protect Native survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and dating violence and ensures that they can access the justice they deserve.
  • Protects survivors and victims from abusive partners with dangerous weapons.
  • Improved protections for survivors in federal public, subsidized and assisted housing.
  • Enhanced criminal legal responses so that survivors can access justice without fearing harm from law enforcement.
  • 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, particularly people of color, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, Native survivors, immigrant survivors, people in later life, faith-based communities and other underserved communities. As a result of a fully inclusive VAWA being re-authorized, more survivors will have access to necessary life-saving services reflecting our country’s deep commitment to address the needs of all domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking survivors.

Call your representatives today and tell them that you support a #VAWA4ALL