A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!
Mridul Wadhwa would be the first trans woman and first woman of colour to serve in the Scottish parliament. (Twitter)
Mridul Wadhwa, a women’s rights activist and the manager of a rape crisis centre, has launched her bid to become a member of the Scottish parliament in the 2021 election.
Wadhwa is seeking selection as the Scottish National Party candidate in two constituencies – Stirling and Edinburgh Central. If she makes it through the selection process and wins in the election, she will be both the first trans person to serve in any of Britain’s parliaments and assemblies, and the first woman of colour to serve in the Scottish parliament.
An activist, Wadhwa is outspoken about women’s rights, trans rights and migrant rights, and she was a key proponent for #Vote100 in 2018.
Currently working as the manager of Forth Valley Rape Crisis Centre, Wadhwa told Brig News, the University of Stirling’s student newspaper, that if elected she will fight to make sure “all of our communities had the voice in Holyrood that they deserve”.
“As a violence against women sector worker, I have dealt with the injustices of homelessness, poverty and trauma every working day of my life in Scotland,” Wadhwa said. “Working on the frontline has given me an insight into what needs to be done to alleviate these.”
“Equality is not achieved when our Black and minority ethnic, disabled and LGBTQ+ residents are excluded,” she continued.
“As a candidate of a diverse background who has worked within these communities, I can reach within Stirling’s diverse community to ensure that structural inequality that continues to exclude minorities is reduced.”
In Stirling, Wadhwa is up against Ellen Forson, Moraig Henderson, Rosemary Hunter, Susan McGill, Sameeha Rehman and Evelyn Tweed to be selected as the SNP candidate.
Her inclusion on the all-women shortlist has offended SNP members who are opposed to trans rights.
On National Coming Out day, Wadhwa described in a Twitter thread how she came to Scotland from India a few years after transitioning.
“In 2005, I started working at Shakti women’s aid and my life changed forever. I came out to some of my colleagues in the first few weeks of working there and never looked back. Those colleagues are now my closest friends,” Wadhwa wrote on October 11.
She added: “I was denied the opportunity to be inspired by the trans women who came before me. Therefore, it is my responsibility to tell my story so that those who come after me, know that a lot more is more possible for them.”
In Edinburgh Central – the seat currently held by Ruth Davidson, the Conservative leader in the Scottish parliament, by a majority of just 310 votes – Mridul Wadhwa and another activist, Lee-Anne Menzies, are up against Marco Biagi and the former SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson.
Like the rest of the UK, Scotland has never had an openly trans or non-binary member of parliament.
Seeking selection as #SNP candidate for Stirling and Edinburgh Central. I stand for equality, fairness, and social justice. An Independent Scotland will allow us to achieve these ambitions. https://t.co/sNIxwrNFQQ #Selectmridul #Stirling #Edinburgh #Holyrood202 pic.twitter.com/uUc7ibOELU
— MRIDUL Wadhwa (@mridul_wadhwa) October 12, 2020
Police said it was ‘reasonable force’ to shoot Roxanne Moore 16 times. (Getty)
Police officers who fired 16 shots at Black trans woman Roxanne Moore used “reasonable force”, says the Pennsylvania district attorney.
Moore, 29, remains in hospital, in critical but stable condition, after being fired at by officers on September 13.
At a press conference on Wednesday (September 23), Pennsylvania district attorney John T. Adams said that the police shooting Moore 16 times was “justified” and confirmed that she was hit multiple times.
“Based on the facts of what took place here, the law that we must follow here in Pennsylvania, I have determined that the shooting was a reasonable use of force, which was justified under the law here in Pennsylvania,” Adams said.
Moore allegedly pointed a gun at officers before they fired at her. Authorities later found that though the gun she was wielding was loaded, it was unoperable due to a safety mechanism that wouldn’t allow it to be fired.
“The only person who knew that that gun could not fire, most likely, was the owner of the gun, from whom it was taken,” Adams said. “There’s no way anyone could have determined from a distance that that gun could not be fired.”
He added that footage from the body cameras worn by officers had not been released, as local activists have been urging, because Moore will be charged once she is medically fit.
“I would have released the body cam footage, but it’s evidence in a criminal case,” he said. “We would be happy to release it.”
Police had been called to reports of “shots fired” at 7am on September 13 in Reading, Pennsylvania. The first officer to arrive on the scene saw Moore holding a gun, ordered her to drop it, and fired when she didn’t.
Moore had reportedly just left her apartment after having an argument. She was known to police as having mental-health issues and Adams said she was “displaying erratic behaviour” during the incident on September 13.
All three officers involved in the shooting have been put on temporary administrative leave.
Roxanne Moore: Family and friends show support.
Friends and family of Roxanne Moore gathered last Sunday (September 20) to show her their support, as she remained in hospital following the shooting.
Wearing Black Trans Lives Matter buttons and T-shirts, friends and family spoke of their love for Moore.
“I just want my sister to know I love her,” her brother reportedly said, according to the local newspaper Reading Eagle. “That’s all.”
Moore’s family and friends also criticised the police’s handling of events, saying that officers should have used deescalation tactics or crisis intervention instead of opening fire.
They claimed someone who was experiencing visible trauma should have been met with “patience and compassion […] not violence, felony charges, and hospitalization,” as the Reading Eagle reported.
A date has not been set for the return to work of the three officers involved in the shooting.
Jane Palmer, executive director of the progressive group Berks Stands Up, said: “We see in their treatment centuries of racism and homophobia, and we have had enough.
“Do Black people ever get the benefit of the doubt in a situation involving the police? Add trans or gender-nonconforming on top of that, and you’re in real trouble.
“We’re here today for Roxanne, who is, at this very moment, still in the hospital in critical condition because of who she is: a Black trans woman.
“Any one of those things, being Black, being trans, being a woman, would make her vulnerable, but she lives at the intersection of all three.”
First and foremost: Happy Birthday to my girlfriend, who is perfect, who I love to pieces, and who can finally pretend that they’re older than me (hahaha, I’m older than you baby!!!). Can’t wait to keep growing with you forever and ever. Ew, is love real?! Ugh. I guess so.
Okay, now. Happy Sunday little bumblebees! This week I hung up most of my art, cried only like three days out of the week, applied for two jobs, and discovered a bunch of new Hebrew music. It was a solid 6/10, and what more can I ask for? As Ari from Grease Bats (god I have a gay name) reminded us yesterday, “the entire world is in a collective depression”, so any moments of happiness are to be celebrated! So, while we celebrate my average week and the birth of my girlfriend, let’s also get into some collective joy!
+ I found this song this week and added it to my country music playlist and uh, you need to hear it if you haven’t.
+ Mikael Owunna’s photo project, “Limitless Africans” looks at LGBTQ+ African immigrants living their lives in over 10 countries. Such as this gorgeous photo entitled “Four Queer African Women in the Snow:”
Historically, these are spaces that have not been welcoming to black people. They’ve been hostile, violent. There’s a shot of the Black Panthers in the snow by Hiroji Kubota where you see that same idea of black people asserting ourselves in a space of snow, asserting selfhood even as the world tries to tell us that we can’t. We’re going to take it for ourselves, just like we did on this street, in the face of the elements.
+ Do people care about Shakespeare anymore? Anyway, he’s “definitely bisexual”, whatever that means for someone who died over a century ago. I’m really glad we called him Shakesqueer in high school. Feeling ahead of the curve.
+ Listen, don’t stan politicians. But it is cool to see that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a towel rack that’s obnoxiously normal.
+ If there’s any time to study the work of Octavia Butler it’s now; and the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA will fund a one-year fellowship for someone to do just that!
+ Brandi Carlile was on the Kelly Clarkson Show and baby when I tell you they sang down?!???? I love her so much.
There was so much good news to choose from this week, and I’m so happy I got to share it with you. I’m gonna celebrate another successful week with some of the sourdough biscuits that I recently made and give my cats some playtime because they are feeling… some type of way about me being around all the time but not playing with them every waking moment. I love you, I’m proud of you, I’m grateful for you (Especially after y’all helped keep the site alive for another year! Thank you!!!). Drink water, take naps, take walks, and remember that love is real. See you soon friends ❤️
Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.
Ari has written 316 articles for us.
Melissa Faliveno is a Wisconsin born-and-raised writer living in New York.
Her first book, Tomboyland, is coming out 2020-08-04. It’s an essay collection cum memoir.
An adapted extract from the book was published in Esquire as ‘Why our gender identity language isn’t enough on 2020-06-24.
I don’t know if Melissa Faliveno uses the word butch as a self-descriptor. But she writes about the complex relationship she has with gender and gender identity and gender expression from the perspective of someone who gets misgendered at least twice a week
From the perspective of someone who typically looks more traditionally masculine than feminine:
It isn’t just the choices I make about my appearance that make me androgynous — that I keep my hair cut short, say, or that my wardrobe is composed of t-shirts and jeans, button-downs and suits — but the body I was born with, the DNA that built me. Equal parts farm-family Midwesterner and swarthy Mediterranean, my body is a stovepipe, long and lean without much curve. My hips are narrow, my back and shoulders broad. My biceps are big and my breasts are small, my cheekbones sharp and my nose large. My body hair is dark and thick; it grows black and wild on my arms and legs, and with obnoxious consistency between my eyebrows and above my upper lip. My voice is deeper than that of many men I know.
I’ve already pre-ordered the book.
NB: an extra reason I, in particular, pre-ordered the book. In the Esquire extract above, Faliveno also writes about being bisexual and the endless erasure that comes with that, from everyone, gay or straight.
There were many sentences in the extract that made it very likely I was going to order this book. But the literal sentence that made my pre-ordering the book inevitable was this one:
most of the time, when someone in the queer community tells me I don’t belong there, I believe them.
I mostly keep to the margins of Kinsey-6–centric spaces but I think this book might be of interest and perhaps value to some of the folk who virtually gather here. So this postscript is a pre-emptive bit of (self-)defense. Faliveno is absolutely masculine of centre. She might even be comfortable with butch as a descriptor. But she is not a lesbian. Just in case that matters (as experience tells me it often does).
Merci Mack was just 22 years old when she was shot and left in a Dallas parking lot. (HRC)
Merci Mack, a 22-year-old Black transgender woman, was tragically killed by a gunshot to the head on June 30 in Texas, making her at least the 18th trans person murdered in the US so far this year.
According to Out, there were no eyewitnesses to her murder, and police are appealing to the public for help.
Local residents heard gunshots at around 5am. They did not call emergency services.
Mack was found unconscious in a Dallas parking lot by a passerby who called an ambulance at 6.15am, but the 22-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Mack recently posted on Facebook that she was excited to return to her job at a restaurant which has been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She loved baking cookies and relaxing in the jacuzzi.
on april 9th, #MerciMack posted this picture on facebook to commemorate her 22nd birthday. yesterday morning, she was found shot to death in a dallas parking lot. another trans woman’s life stolen, and for what? because she dared to live it? pic.twitter.com/cWYjmGdMrN
— Kelley Rand (@kelley_rand) July 1, 2020
Tori Cooper, HRC director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a statement: “Another Black transgender woman has had her life stolen from her.
“We cannot become numb to the fact that our community has learned of more killings of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the past few weeks than HRC has ever tracked in the past seven years.
“Her friends say that Merci Mack was a young, upbeat soul who deserved to experience a full life.
“HRC is mourning with Merci’s loved ones and are calling for a full, thorough investigation into her death.”
Merci Mack is at least the 18th trans person violently killed in the US in 2020.
In 2019, there were 27 trans people murdered in America. According to the LGBT+ rights organisation, Merci Mack is at least the 18th trans person who has been violently killed in the United States so far this year, just six months into 2020.
Since HRC began collecting data on the violent deaths of trans people in America, 10 per cent of killings have occurred in Texas. The state is tied with Florida for the greatest percentage of violent trans deaths nationwide.
Police are asking anyone with information in connection with Mack’s death to contact Dallas police Detective Brian Tabor at 214-671-3605 or [email protected]