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Another transgender woman’s murder sparks renewed outrage in El Salvador

Zashy Zuley del Cid was shot in San Miguel on April 24

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Zashy Zuley del Cid (Photo via Facebook)

Editor’s note: The Los Angeles Blade published a Spanish version of this story on April 30.

SAN MIGUEL, El Salvador — A gunshot to the back on April 24 cost Zashy Zuley del Cid her life.

The murder took place while she was working in an area in the city of San Miguel in which sex workers gather, according to the information that COMCAVIS Trans shared with the Blade. This fact outraged the organization, which is based in the Salvadoran capital, and Colectivo Perlas de Oriente leaders with whom del Cid was working.

COMCAVIS Trans, for its part, issued a statement in which it stressed LGBTQ people in El Salvador should enjoy the right to life, integrity and personal security.

“We suffer attacks for the simple fact of having a different sexual orientation or gender identity, which each person expresses with different patterns and gender roles,” COMCAVIS Trans Executive Director Bianca Rodríguez told the Blade.

“Zashy is one more victim of that prejudice and hatred of which we are victims,” said Rodríguez, recalling del Cid’s work as a grassroots activist in San Miguel that she had been doing since 2017. “We do not want violence to continue against LGBT people, and it is for that reason we have made the corresponding call to the appropriate authorities to be diligent with investigations and (for us) to be recognized as citizens with equal rights and guarantees.”

The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has also condemned del Cid’s murder.

UNHCR in an article it published explained that it, along with COMCAVIS Trans, in 2020 provided del Cid with assistance and housing after criminal elements forcibly displaced her from her home. Del Cid was enrolled in a training program for entrepreneurs and both organizations were giving her support from the framework of protection and protecting the livelihoods of internally displaced people in the country.

Del Cid would have been able to work in a beauty salon in order to support herself.

Community leaders in San Miguel were more united during del Cid’s wake that lasted two days, but Rodríguez told the Blade the fact her family buried her with a masculine gender expression upset them.

“That process was difficult because the family did not want any LGBT people to attend, but a relative eventually allowed Colectivo Perlas de Oriente to attend,” Rodríguez added.

“It is a reprehensible fact, especially because the police have not conducted a credible investigation of the case,” she added. “It is worrying because the prosecutors didn’t even know the victim’s name.”

COMCAVIS Trans figures indicate more than 600 LGBTQ people have been reported killed in El Salvador since 1993.

Statistics also indicate 151 LGBTQ people between 2018 and September 2019 said they were forcibly displaced from their homes. Trans women account for 67.5 percent of these cases, while gay men account for 17.2 percent.

Del Cid’s colleagues will remember her as a woman who was committed to bettering herself with a business through which she could help other trans women get a job, but they will not forget their fear that her case will be another one in El Salvador that will be forgotten forever. That is why LGBTQ organizations will continue to call upon the appropriate Salvadoran authorities to investigate and bring justice for LGBTQ victims of violence.

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Transgender

West Virginia Sheriff posts transphobic meme gets transphobic comments

Mellinger posted the horrific meme on June 29, 2021. It wasn’t made private until July, 11, so in the meantime, it did a lot of damage.

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Shoulder Patch of the Jackson County, W.Va. Sheriff's Department via Facebook

By Kelli Busey | RIPLEY, W Va. – Jackson County West Virginia Sheriff Ross Mellinger posted a transphobic meme mocking the first transgender Miss USA contestant and as expected received hundreds of transphobic comments and likes.

Shortly after Kataluna Enriquez won the Miss Nevada USA Pageant, Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger posted his thoughts on his personal Facebook page. Enriquez is the first transgender woman advancing to the Miss USA Pageant.

Mellinger made fun of her body and called being transgender “a craze.”

Jackson News Papers originally broke the story reported that Sheriff Ross Mellinger declined to comment.

Most of those who defend Mellinger said that it is his right to post memes on his public Facebook page. Those same people then proceed to disparage transgender people, a minority protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Ross Mellinger posted this horrific meme on June 29, 2021. It wasn’t made private until July, 11, so in the meantime, it did a lot of damage.

“So, I see the transgender craze has now invaded the Miss USA Competition…..”

His Facebook page now displays this notation on the post: “This Facebook post is no longer available. It may have been removed, or the privacy settings of the post may have changed.”

One Facebook user posted that in his defense, the Sheriff’s post wasn’t just about “hate”.

A leading Trans activist noted; “She was right, this isn’t just about hate. This is about firing a law enforcement official for refusing to acknowledge he was wrong for publicly inciting hatred against a minority.

Fun Facts:

Mellinger was elected to serve and protect all of the citizens, not just the ones he chooses to.

This is about an elected law enforcement official with a public Facebook page inviting people to mock a minority that their state just legislated against.

This about a white man who is afraid of a transgender Filipina-American woman of color.

This is about holding a law enforcement official to a higher standard.

This about holding him accountable if he refuses to do his duty.”

Planet Transgender took a screengrab of Sheriff Mellinger’s Facebook meme just in case he removed it or made it private without first issuing a public apology:

The meme Sheriff Ross Mellinger posted to Facebook. It remained there for 13 days. It has been either removed by Facebook or Mellinger has made his profile private to escape scrutiny.

Kelli Busey is the Managing Editor of Planet Transgender magazine.

The preceding article was originally published by Planet Transgender and is republished by permission.

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Transgender

Trans woman Lehlogonolo Machaba makes it to top 30 Miss SA

The first transgender woman to officially enter the South African Beauty Pageant, has made the first cut

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Lehlogonolo Machaba via Instagram

By Kelli Busey | MAHIKENG, NW, South Africa – Lehlogonolo Machaba, The first transgender woman to officially enter the South African Beauty Pageant, has made the first cut joining 29 gorgeous women as a top 30 semi-finalist.

Lehlogonolo Machaba, the only contestant from the North West, wrote in an Instagram post “I am proud to announce that I have OFFICIALLY made it to the #Top30 of #MissSA2021 thanks to all of you. This journey has been nothing but a great one and all of you have made this worthwhile. I will continue to push for change and acceptance of everyone in the LGBTQI+ community and being the first EVER TransWoman in the competition I can declare that by the grace of God TOP 15 here we come. Look out for all the information regarding voting on my next posts and Instagram stories. @official_misssa ”

Editor’s note: If you are from South Africa you can vote, for a fee, as a fifth judge by clicking here.

Kelli Busey is the managing editor at Planet Transgender

The preceding article was originally published by Planet Transgender and is republished by permission.

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Transgender

Alleged Trans incident at upscale LA Spa may have been staged

The video quickly made the rounds in far right, and Trans-Exclusionary Feminist (TERF) sites and Anti-trans “feminist” websites.

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Screenshot via coverage from freelance news videographer Vishal P. Singh

By Robert Lansing | LOS ANGELES – On June 24th, Instagram user “cubaangel” posted a video of herself angrily confronting a staff member at the Wi Spa in Koreatown, accusing them of letting a disrobed transgender person into the women’s section of the business.

There is increasing doubt among law enforcement and staff at the Wi Spa whether there was ever was a transgender person there to begin with. Anonymous sources within the LAPD tell the Blade they have been unable to find any corroborating evidence that there was a transgender person present on that day.

Similarly, a source at the Spa told the Blade there’s no record of any of its usual transgender clients on its appointments guest list on the day in question. Treatment at the Spa is by appointment only, and most of its transgender clients are well known to the staff.

WI SPA LA ( Blade Photo by Troy Masters)

Several other factors cast doubt on the veracity of the claims in the video. Cubaangel’s Instagram account is almost exclusively Christian memes, which begs the question why she chose to go to a spa well known for being LGBTQ friendly. During Cubaangel’s video, no transgender person can be seen, and no other witnesses have come forward to confirm the allegations made. It’s also not the first time Wi Spa has been targeted for catering to transgender people. After the alleged, unconfirmed incident, Wi Spa was deluged with 1-star Yelp! and Trip Advisor reviews.

It also remains a possibility that there was a person, unknown to the Wi Spa staff, who pretended to be transgender to create an inciting incident. In 2015, anti-transgender activists in Washington State deliberately encouraged men to enter women’s facilities. One cisgender man entered a swimming pool changing area wearing only board shorts while claiming that he had a right to be there (he was removed from the premises without charges being filed).

The video quickly made the rounds in far right, and Trans-Exclusionary Feminist (TERF) sites. Anti-trans “feminist” websites like Mumsnet, Ovarit, and Spinster were sharing content by far right provocateurs known for disinformation, like Ian Miles Cheong, by June 27th.

Shortly thereafter, flyers for a protest on July 3rd began circulating in religious right, far right, and TERF social media circles, and were shared by Cubaangel on the 29th and users on Spinster. They discussed defending the alt-right troll website, Kiwifarms, which is known for targeting transgender women.

Prior to the protest, a Los Angeles trans woman was falsely accused by anti-trans feminists of being the alleged transgender person in the video. She received multiple death threats and harassment, including a picture of a masked man brandishing an assault weapon threatening to shoot her.

The anti-trans protest was a mix of religious fundamentalist street preachers, QAnon conspiracy theorists chanting “save our children,” and Proud Boys.  Black-bloc (like Antifa) and trans activists engaged in a counter protest at the same time, and violence erupted. Right wing personality Andy Ngo, who coordinates with far right groups when they’re looking to engage in violence on camera, was also there.

A right-wing protestor drew a gun on a person recording the event and told him it was “something to shoot you with.” A videographer wearing a vest marked “PRESS” was struck from behind by a right wing protester with a metal pipe. Another anti-trans protester stabbed two people: a pro-trans counter protester who was reportedly hospitalized by the wound, and a fellow anti-trans protesters while she was attempting to help him off the ground. The LAPD quickly declared the protest and counter-protest unlawful assemblies and dispersed them.

All of this fits into an emerging pattern of the alt-right, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, violent far right groups like the Proud Boys, the religious right, and anti-trans “feminists” collaborating and coordinating as they share the same media streams. Rhetoric against transgender people in popular right-wing media like Fox News has grown both more frequent, and more extreme. In April, Tucker Carlson (who serves as a gateway to the far right) declared that transgender people are a threat to the “perpetuation of the species.”

Dr Joe Mulhall, head of research at the UK’s renowned anti-extremist watchdog group Hope Not Hate, discussed this trend in a recent interview. “We see more anti-trans content from within the far right than against any other minority today… [They] disproportionally talk about trans rights way more than Muslims now”. He sees transphobia as more accepted publicly than anti-Semitism. “Talking about Jews isn’t. It ostracizes you. But if you talk about trans issues it opens the doors to the mainstream. The far right are saying things they know will be echoed in the comment pages of the right-wing press.”

Flyers are circulating online advertising a second protest against Wi Spa on July 17th. LAPD sources says they are aware, and will be taking steps to avoid a repeat of July 3rd. However, as of publication, no warrants, indictment, or arrests have been made as a result of the violence.

Robert Lansing is a pseudonym for a long time investigative trans researcher and writer-journalist. Use of the pseudonym is to protect the writer from retribution and potential harm by right wing extremists.

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