things that matter

A Trans Mexican Immigrant Is Suing The GOP VP Candidate To Have Their Name Legally Changed

@darrylsphoto / Twenty20

Indiana governor and current Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence is being sued over an Indiana law prohibiting non-citizens from changing their names on legal documents. The lawsuit has been filed in conjunction with the Transgender Law Center and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) for a trans Mexican immigrant living in Indiana under political asylum.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is at the center of a lawsuit brought by MALDEF and the Transgender Law Center.

Credit: Transgender Law Center
CREDIT: Credit: Transgender Law Center

The lawsuit stems from a law passed in 2010 banning non-citizens from changing their name on legal documents. The plaintiff, referred to as “John Doe” in the complaint, moved from Mexico to Indiana with his family when he was 6 years old.

Gov. Pence didn’t take office until 2012, two years after the law was passed, but he is responsible for the current enforcement of the law, according to the lawsuit.

Credit: @GovPenceIN / Twitter
CREDIT: Credit: @GovPenceIN / Twitter

“There is no legitimate reason for Indiana to prevent non-citizens from living consistently with their gender identity,” MALDEF staff attorney Matthew Barragan said in a press release. “Each of us should have the right to be known by the name of our choice.”

The lawsuit alleges that forcing “John Doe” to use the name tied to his gender assigned at birth could lead to emotional, psychological and physical harm.

Credit: Transgender Law Center
CREDIT: Credit: Transgender Law Center

“I want to use a name that is in line with my true identity,” “John Doe” said in a press release. “Without a legal name change, I am forced to use an I.D. that is inconsistent with who I am and puts me in danger of harassment, violence, and being outed as transgender whenever I present it. I am simply asking for equal treatment under the law.”

The condition created by forcing trans people to stick to their gender assigned at birth is called Gender Dysphoria and is a medically recognized disorder that has some pretty straightforward remedies.

Credit: Transgender Law Center
CREDIT: Credit: Transgender Law Center

It should really be of no surprise that Pence isn’t jumping at the opportunity to overturn or amend the law. In 2015, Pence signed the highly controversial, and ultimately very costly, Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). RFRA made it legal for Indiana businesses to turn customers away based on religious beliefs.

Among those remedies to avoid or diminish the impact of Gender Dysphoria is the legal name change; the very thing Indiana’s law forbids to non-citizens.

Credit: Transgender Law Center
CREDIT: Credit: Transgender Law Center

“Everyone should be able to live as their authentic selves no matter their gender identity or immigration status,” Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center, said in a press release. “Transgender immigrants already experience disproportionate violence without the government further jeopardizing their safety and privacy with this unnecessary and discriminatory rule.”

You can read the full lawsuit here.

READ: This Transgender Boy’s Question To His Mom Is Simply Heartbreaking

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São Paulo Hosts First Pride Since Bolsonaro’s Election And The LGBTQ+ Community Took Over The City

Culture

São Paulo Hosts First Pride Since Bolsonaro’s Election And The LGBTQ+ Community Took Over The City

@ruuh_avlis / Twitter

Since Jair Bolsonaro assumed office as Brazil’s president on January 1, 2019, a lot has changed for the LGBTQ+ community of Brazil. In the past, Bolsonaro has publicly stated that he’d prefer his son to die than to be gay. During his winning campaign, he relied on anti-gay rhetoric to gain right-wing support. In April of this year, he told reporters that Brazil “can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism.”

São Paulo’s first gay pride parade since his election is set to prove him wrong. This month, the Brazil Supreme Court has criminalized discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, much to Bolsonaro’s dismay, and the gays are celebrating.

Hundreds of thousands of queer people flooded the streets of Brazil’s largest city.

@rufusdowling / Twitter

There were nineteen moving stages with live performances by queer and allied artists that kept the world’s largest gay party going. Like many other LGBT parades, São Paulo aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots against police brutality in New York City.

These are the people that Bolsonaro refuses to accept or acknowledge.

@wesyvinicius / Twitter

The fact is that we’re queer and we’re here. The culture of Brazil has changed rapidly in the last 10 years. More and more LGBTQ+ rights have been secured while the evangelical community has grown 15 percent since 2000. A third of the country is now evangelical, which often translates into flagrant homophobia.

Brazilians were soaked up all sun and no hate this past weekend.

@MidiaNINJA / Twitter

The parade lasted all day June 24 and might have been the largest parade in the country’s history. With both victories to celebrate and growing hate to keep the community marching forward, there were plenty of reasons to show up.

Last month, the head of the nation’s HIV Prevention Task Force was fired for launching a campaign to educate transgender Brazilians about the deadly virus.

@arabellamartuni / Twitter

Acknowledging trans people in Brazil has become a fireable offense, and it’s not going to get better while Bolsonaro is in charge. Some politicians are even advocating to ban gender and sexual orientation diversity from being discussed in the classroom.

This is erasure and São Paulo isn’t having any of it.

@DivetePurple / Twitter

The city launched the use of new walking signals up and down the main street that feature same-sex couples in time for the celebration of PRIDE. Seeing ourselves in even the smallest ways is validating.

Bolsonaro has inspired bills that seek to define a family as an exclusively heterosexual relationship.

@FADASLGBT / Twitter

That would limit LGBTQ+ folks from accessing health care, welfare benefits, and adoption abilities, and so much more. Of course, evangelicals are also pushing for a bathroom bill to go into effect.

Human rights watchdog Grupo Gay Bahia reports that 141 LGBT people have died because of hate crimes or suicide between January and May 15 of this year.

@cleytu / Twitter

That’s an average of one person every 23 hours. The LGBTQ+ community is in serious threat, especially as a toxic culture continues to brew in Brazil. Currently, 1 in 6 Brazilian politicians is evangelical (i.e. right-wing conservative).

Many signs at the parade affirmed to the community that God loves them.

@MidiaNINJA / Twitter

Too often, Latinos raised in religious households internalize homophobia for others and even against themselves. These kinds of messages are more powerful than heteros realize.

Bolsonaro refuses to include the LGBTQ+ community as a group protected by the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights.

@FADASLGBT / Twitter

Bolsonaro has spoken to reporters about how the future will no longer look like boys playing with dolls. Boys will be boys and girls will be girls under Bolsonaro’s understandings of the words.

But at least we have glitter. 🌈 

@magerson / Instagram

Sorry, Bolsonaro. We have style, compassion, and wide open hearts, and you don’t. Must suck.

There was also a considerable intersection of gay pride and advocacy to release ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from prison.

@fofunista / Instagram

He was convicted of money laundering and being bribed and sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison. Politicians ranging from Noam Chomsky to the Nobel laureate of Argentina to Bernie Sanders have advocated for his release. It’s been brought to light that Bolsonaro likely had a hand in denying Lula due process and a fair trial.

Happy Pride, Brazil!

@marciojmsilva / Twitter

Thank you for having the bravery to stand up to an administration that wants to erase you from existence.

READ: Pabllo Vittar Is The Superstar Brazilian Drag Queen The World Has Come To Love Because Of Their Unapologetic Persona

Pregnant Mom Of Two Children Faces Deportation Back To Guatemala Without A Place To Go

Things That Matter

Pregnant Mom Of Two Children Faces Deportation Back To Guatemala Without A Place To Go

@OccupyWallStNYC | Twitter

It’s quite rare to hear of raids in sanctuary cities such as New York City or Los Angeles, but detainments do happen. In 2018, the Queens Eagle reports that 33 people were detained in Queens and 35 were detained in Brooklyn. This latest case is not only affecting the person arrested but her small children as well.

A Guatemalan pregnant woman living in Queens with her two U.S.-born children is currently facing deportation.

Alma Sofia Centeno Santiago is a 33-year-old undocumented woman that was arrested by ICE at a Queens courthouse. She was there for a court appearance in regards to a dispute with the father of her child. Some called foul when Santiago was initially arrested because ICE cannot do those inside courthouses.

“This a particularly harrowing example of the human devastation caused when ICE enters the courthouse,” Make the Road Action Managing Director Daniel Altschuler told the Eagle earlier this month.

The family of this woman is very concerned for because she’s currently very sick and, also, if deported, has nowhere to go when she gets to Guatemala.

Santiago, who’s been held at New Jersey’s Bergen County Detention Facility for two months, is reportedly experiencing extreme stomach pain and is in quarantine due to a measles outbreak at the center.

Her family and friends already fear the worst because they haven’t heard from her in a couple of days.

“We are nervous and concerned because she usually calls us,” her friend Jennifer Pacheco told the publication, “She said if she didn’t call them, they may have moved her. They told her that maybe Sunday night going into Monday, or Monday night going into Tuesday that she will probably be removed and deported.”

If deported, Santiago leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

READ: 11-Year-Old Undocumented Girl Is Being Forced To Leave The U.S. Without Her Family

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