TMZ bumped into Carmen Carrera as she was walking around Los Angeles and, of course, they asked about Caitlyn Jenner. Before you know it, she basically told the camera Caitlyn doesn’t get what it’s like to be a trans woman in normal society. Grab some papitas, it gets good.
Carmen Carrera threw shade right off the bat when asked if she’d heard the rumor that “I Am Cait” is being cancelled.
“I think that Caitlyn is obviously awesome, brave and all those great things,” Carrera said. “But I think that she put herself in a tough situation because she hadn’t experienced much of the trans life.”
And, though she recognizes Caitlyn has brought some visibility to the trans community, Carmen thinks her knowledge of trans experiences starts and stops with living a closeted life.
“You have to learn about this community and you have to really understand our views and what we have actually been through,” Carrera told TMZ. “Because I don’t think she’s really experienced, aside from living a closeted life, I don’t think she’s experienced the adversity that we have faced, that I still face, on a daily basis.”
Carmen made a point to say that she doesn’t think Caitlyn will ever fully understand what it means to be a trans person in everyday society, because ?.
“Once she experiences that first-had, which I doubt she ever will because she lives in a beautiful castle, I think that then she might change some of her political views and some of her conservative views,” Carrera said in closing.
As PRIDE month comes to an end, we say goodbye to one of our trans sisters who was taken from us far too soon.
Bedecked in vibrant rainbows to celebrate the vivid woman they’ve lost, hundreds of mourners paid their last respects to Layleen Polanco. The transgender woman was found dead in Riker Correctional Center at the beginning of June. Since then, activists in the LGBTQIA+ community have come forward demanding Justice for Layleen.
Further information about Polanco’s last days are finally shedding some light on her death.
On June 7, 2019, the 27-year-old was found unresponsive in her cell. According to the the New York City Department of Corrections, attempts were made to resuscitate Polanco. Unfortunately, she was soon pronounced dead after she was discovered. Though there is no cause of death as of yet, the DOC has gone on record as saying that her death was not “the result of violence or foul play.”
That’s all the information we had about Polanco’s passing until earlier this week. The City of New York has recently disclosed that the trans woman was being held on $500 bail because of charges stemming from 2017. The incident involved a minor charge for prostitution and low-level drug possession.
According to reports, Polanco missed a court appearance for an unrelated charge that happened in April 2019. A warrant was issued for her arrest and Polanco was unable to post bail. Due to this, she was remanded to Rikers Correctional Center. As if this information isn’t troubling enough, we have also learned that Polanco spent her last 9 days of life in solitary confinement.
The information we’ve been given about Polanco’s time in Rikers reflect a woman in the midst of struggle.
According to her Rikers’ record, Polanco spent eight days in the prison’s hospital during the first part of May. The reason why is unknown to us because of patient confidentiality laws. However, we do know that Polanco was disciplined for fighting soon after she left hospital services.
Her punishment for this was to be moved to a restrictive housing unit that segregated her from the general population. Aside from the daily three-hour group therapy sessions, the rest of her time would have been served in complete isolation.
“This is a tragic loss and we extend our deepest condolences to her family. We are conducting a full investigation as the safety and well-being of people in our custody is our top priority.”
Polanco’s death has spurned activists, community members, family, and friends to protest the criminal and prison systems.
Protesters have gathered in NYC throughout June, calling for justice for the late woman. Polanco was a member of the House of Xtravaganza, one of New York’s iconic ballroom scene institutions. Her ballroom community and family have been some of the loudest voices calling for change in the wake of her death.
One of the demands coming from these protests is the closing of Rikers Correctional Center. The facility has had issues housing trans individuals in the past and Polanco’s death is the final straw for prison activists. Criminal justice reform advocates have long been pushing for Rikers’ closing. A November 2018 testimony to the New York City Council also found that the physical and mental needs of trans inmates aren’t always met at the facility.
Additionally, activists have called for the decriminalization of prostitution and minor sex crimes. This is a direct result of Polanco’s prostitution charge. Had she not been arrested in 2017 for prostitution, she never would have been in Rikers, to begin with. If her bail hadn’t been so expensive, Polanco would still be with us. This was all avoidable.
The struggle for Justice for Layleen is far from over. Still, we won’t forget and we won’t give in. Justice for this trans woman is justice for all trans women. We won’t stop until we have it.
There’s no question that in metropolitan cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami, that gay rights must be respected. With such huge LGBTQ+ communities in those cities, Pride is like 4th of July, but in smaller cities and states that is not the case. There are still places, like Montana, trying to attack LGBTQ+ rights and one nonbinary Latinx activist stood up and defeated an anti-trans bill.
In Montana, lawmakers introduced a measure that would strip rights away from the trans community and one person would not have it.
The bill — I-183 — would be a change a Montana law that would allow the permission to discriminate against transgender people.
“I-183 would force people to use public accommodations like restrooms and locker rooms that align with the gender on their original birth certificate instead of the gender by which they live and identify.”
That means that a trans woman could not use a female bathroom and a trans man could not use a male bathroom. Furthermore, “I-183 would 1) make work, school, and recreation unsafe for transgender Montanans; 2) put local government and state agencies at risk of expensive, unnecessary lawsuits; and 3) fail to further protect anyone from assault or rape, as these things are already illegal in Montana. I-183 would also jeopardize your privacy by forcing you to prove your gender to anyone who requests to see your paperwork before you enter a public facility.”
Essentially, the Montana government was ready to tell trans people that they have to adhere to the sex they were assigned at birth. This would strip away the most basic right for trans people, and one most Americans enjoy, of self-determination.
Thanks to Zuri Moreno that bill never saw the light of day.
Moreno, who describes themselves as queer, nonbinary, multiracial, and Latinx, made sure their community remained safe in Montana and fought hard to make sure that the bill was blocked.
“My life and my passion focus on racial equity and access in the community,” Moreno said to The Advocate.
The LGBTQ+ community is no stranger to state and the federal governments from attacking their basic rights. North Carolina tried and failed to limit trans people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. Indiana tried passing a “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed anyone to legally discriminate against anyone in the LGBTQ+ community.
It is because of their fight for trans rights in Montana that The Advocate named them among the 2019 Champions of Pride.
“Montana still does not have an explicit sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination law,” the 32-year-old said to the magazine. “Although a handful of municipalities have passed local nondiscrimination ordinances, at the state level progress is hindered by transphobia, disinterest from non-LGBTQ people, and a lack of political will. There is still a lot of work to do around bringing awareness and dispelling misinformation about trans, nonbinary, and two-spirit identities.”
The federal government is also fighting over a similar measure. H.R. 5 and S. 788, also known as the Equality Act, is a simple piece of legislation that has been embroiled in legal battles for years. The Equality Act seeks to protect LGBTQ+ American from discrimination based on “sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” That’s right. The Equality Act would finally close loopholes in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and legally address discrimination against women based on sex. So, the LGBTQ+ community and women would benefit if the Equality Act were passed.