Saturday, January 13, 2007

ITN: Colombian TG woman murdered, Dallas Constable Dupree criticized, asylum in the news

Trans woman stoned to death in the rural plains of eastern Colombia: El Tiempo reports today that a popular personality from the rural town of Puerto Paz in the Venezuela-bordering great plains state of Meta, was stoned to death.

The body of 44 year-old Myreya Sanchez a/k/a Balalá (pictured above), whose birth name was Edgar Enrique Echeverry and was known to adopt the names of many television soap heroines throughout her life (including Laisa), was found on a field near a major interstate road on January 7th. Authorities say that they found the semi-nude body in a fetal position with wounds to her head indicating that she was hit with a large stone.

Myreya was well-known throughout the community since she usually was seen riding on her bike offering to wash dirty laundry, iron shirts or cook for others, which is how she made a living. She also was active political races and volunteered for several local candidates.

Her funeral on Monday drew a multitude or mourners as her body was carried from the town's church to the cemetery. Victor Bravo, a neighbor, asked authorities to do their best to solve the murder.

FOLLOW-UP! Dallas Constable Mike Dupree does some damage control after having his younger male ex-lover deported to Honduras: The Dallas Observer reports that openly gay Dallas Constable Mike Dupree (and his lawyer) met this week with a number of local leaders to defuse outrage from activists following the disclosure that he had one of his officers arrest an ex-lover at his home have him deported soon after their relationship soured.

On Wednesday, members of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, Gay LULAC, the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, Valiente and the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus held a meeting with Dupree at which he and his lawyer questioned the "accuracy" of the Dallas Observer article that exposed the deportation.

Dallas Observer reporter Matt Pulle stands by his original story and the Dallas Observer notes that neither Dupree nor his lawyer have called the paper to question any of the facts in the original article.

"That's just not something we do" says Human Rights Campaign on helping LGBT immigrants seek political asylum in the US: Doug Ireland has the cover story of this week's Gay City News and shines a light on the difficulties facing LGBT immigrants seeking asylum based on sexual orientation.

a worthy read.

In the article, Holland & Knight attorney Chris Nugent (an unsung hero to us) says that he is disappointed that there seems to be no institution in the United States that has mobilized on the issue. While that might be true on a national scale (the Human Rights Campaign comes out smelling the worst as quoted above), I'm not sure I am in agreement.

As a staff member of the Latino Commission on AIDS, I know for a fact that our agency has successfully mobilized over 200 political asylum applicants who have been granted asylum based on persecution due to sexual orientation over the last decade, and that local organizations such as the African Services Committee and GMHC have also been engaged in the issue.

Still, Nugent is right to criticize the fact that the two national gay rights organizations are unwilling to take a stand on the issue or devote any resources to helping out. We certainly did our work despite the few resources we had towards assisting immigrants in their asylum claims but, in some ways, it was the most important and rewarding work we have ever done.


Anonymous said...

While I am not suprised that HRC did not jump on the bandwagon, I was a bit suprised that NGLTF did not. NGLTF is known for all of its work with communities of color. My guess is that if any of this garnered national attention--then, HRC would have been all over it. They can be media whores at times.

My two cents,

Osvaldo Del Valle
Boston, MA.

Lavi Soloway said...

I think the criticsm is both fair and unfair. There are many organizations working on these issues, Immigration Equality, has worked on sexual orientation and gender idendity based asylum, mobilizing, advocating and conducting trainings to Asylum Officers and even Immigration Judges. Furthermore, I don't agree with everyting Ireland writes in that article. Another article could be written about how poor legal representation is the SINGLE greatest reason asylum cases lose.