Hot Topic: Week 9
Former America’s Got Talent contestants Kadan and Brooklyn Rockett have been arrested for refusing to live with their mother amid a custody battle. Last week, Kadan, 15, and Brooklyn, 13, were detained in Farmerville, Louisiana after they failed to comply with police, who were trying to return them to their mother. ‘You do not have a choice, this is nothing to argue about. You have to go with us. Let’s go,’ one of the officers can be heard ordering. ‘I’m afraid,’ Kadan can be heard saying, as Brooklyn sobs at the thought of leaving her dad. The officers read the pair their Miranda rights before placing them in handcuffs. Louisiana police say they were simply following court orders, and the Rocketts were held at the Glen Oaks Detention Center in Monroe overnight. The pair appeared before a judge the following day, who allowed them to return to their father. The contents of the court hearing have been sealed.
What are your thoughts? Do you think this was a bit excessive, arresting these teenagers and holding them in custody overnight?
Hot Topic: Part 2
At least 22 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been killed in the US this year, according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign. It’s the fifth year in a row that at least 20 transgender people were killed, the HRC says. Year after year, violence against trans people, particularly black trans people, continues to alarm authorities and advocates. The American Medical Association calls it an “epidemic.” “When society continually dehumanizes and diminishes the dignity and identities of transgender people, when we have politicians undermining the lives and rights of transgender people, it sends a dangerous signal to those who would discriminate [against] or even attack the transgender community,” Sarah McBride, national press secretary at the Human Rights Campaign, told CNN.
Some deaths are unreported. What contributes to underreporting is that some trans people are misgendered at the time of their death. Law enforcement, witnesses, family members and even friends might misidentify a trans victim with the gender they were assigned at birth, rather than the gender identity the person lived by. Family members might use the wrong pronouns or the name a transgender person was assigned at birth. Often, trans people are misgendered when they die because their family refused to acknowledge their gender identity. In some cases, their family may not understand how to use the correct pronouns.
They’re black, they’re transgender, and they’re women. Each of those distinct identities means that they face discrimination, prejudice and inequities on multiple fronts. “The reality is that when someone lives at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, when they’re facing not just transphobia but misogyny and racism, the consequences can be deadly,” McBride said. Studies show that transgender people face higher levels of intimate partner violence than cisgender people. And those higher rates of violence at the hands of partners are also correlated with other risk factors, like homelessness or engaging in sex work.
In some cases, perpetrators of violence against transgender people are not properly prosecuted, advocates say. Only eight states currently ban the so-called “panic defense,” a legal strategy used to justify violent crimes against someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the panic defense, a perpetrator can claim that a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation caused their violent reaction. A number of issues facing transgender people must be addressed to reduce their risk of becoming victims of violence, activists and scholars say. Many transgender people face rejection from their families and communities, often from a young age. Some trans people might be pushed into conversion therapy. Others may be kicked out of their homes. Studies show that trans people who faced rejection from their families were about twice as likely to experience homelessness and engage in sex work.
Trans people also face stigmas and misinformation around who they are, as well as barriers and discrimination in employment, housing, health care and public assistance. Only 20 states and Washington, D.C. explicitly ban discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For its part, the Human Rights Campaign says it is expanding its work on justice for the transgender community in a new initiative that will include employment opportunities, legislation and education campaigns.
What are your thoughts on this subject?
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