top2.gif - 6.71 K

Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries
Demand Justice

Sylvia Rivera Critiques Human Rights Campaign Disinterest

Other Groups Endorse Commemoration for Amanda Milan

Compiled by GayToday

STAR founder Sylvia Rivera (right) and Julia Murray (left) with GayToday's editor, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion New York, New York—STAR, Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries, New York's pioneering direct action transgender group founded during the Stonewall era by Sylvia Rivera, is coordinating widespread actions to commemorate its murdered New York City sister, Amanda Milan, and to demand justice for her.

Reflecting on a recently suspended date for the Milan murder suspects' trial and STAR's call for action, both Sylvia Rivera and Julia Murray suggested to GayToday that they believe "there is now more time before the trial," and that "perhaps we can involve more people in the demonstrations." They are approaching gay/straight clubs in colleges and high schools who, it is hoped, "may bring in some youthful energy."

An announcement by Clarence Patton of the Anti-Violence Project says:

“The Prosecution's request to combine the trial of the two main defendants was accepted by the judge. However, now they would also like to add the third defendant to the case. Given the time for motions back and forth, according to the District Attorney's office, the trial will most likely not begin until April.”

Ms. Rivera, critical of The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), says that it appears to have turned its back on New York's call for interim action. HRC's Liz Seaton Deputy Field Director and Field Director Seth Kilbourn wrote to Ms. Rivera on February 23:

"Unfortunately HRC is unable to sponsor or offer financial support to this current effort. HRC's resources are being strategically spent on legislative efforts, including preparing for reintroduction of the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act that would give federal authorities jurisdiction over hate crimes motivated by "real or perceived gender." We are also supporting the work of state and local organizations working on a number of state bills on civil rights, hate crimes and family issues, including several which are transgender-inclusive."

Recalling an apology tendered last year by the Human Rights Campaign following the murdered Amanda Milan's memorial service, STAR representatives told GayToday:

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:

Transsexual Amanda Milan, 25, Murdered in Manhattan

Tracy Thompson, Transvestite, Beaten to Death in Georgia

Transgender Equality: A Handbook for Activists Published

Related Sites:
National Transgender Advocacy Coalition

GayToday does not endorse related sites.

“The HRC has no backbone when it comes to backing our community when we are standing up for ourselves. We will never tolerate the hatred that other communities direct toward us.

“The HRC bears responsibility for forgetting the fact that we have lives, feelings and blood just like every other human being. Representatives of HRC, after the Amanda Milan memorial, personally apologized to Sylvia Rivera for their ignorance of the extent of the hatred that we face and the danger we live with day after day, day in and day out.”

Ms. Rivera objected strenuously to the HRC representatives' phrasing “real or perceived gender,” saying that it indicates that the organization believes some gender identities to be more “real” than others.

Addressing the HRC representatives, Sylvia Rivera wrote:

“You would probably find it difficult to imagine how disappointed and angry we are at your failure to back us in our time of need. You obviously can spend your money any way you want but it would cost you nothing to lend your name.”

Recalling the participation of transgendered people in the 1969 Stonewall uprising, Ms. Rivera continued:

“Your people had no problem in 1969 from using the anger of our people who gave their all, who had nothing to lose, who brought you out of the closets you would still be in if it were not for us.

“We still have nothing to lose, and we are still giving our all. We've told your representatives that if you did not back us we would come knocking at your door and your representatives agreed that we would have the right to do so. Watch out!”

Other organizations indicating their endorsements for STAR's call for action reportedly include:

The Gay and Lesbian Anti Violence Project, Metropolitan Community Church of New York, Audre Lorde Project, a people of color community center, Gender People of MCC New York, New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy, National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, Queers for Racial and Economic Justice, Efeminists, Fed Up Queers, Queer Apparatus, Hampshire College Queer Community Alliance, Gwendolyn Smith - Columnist, Bay Area Reporter, Chris Tuttle - GSLEN, Vieques Support Campaign, Pro Libertad, Frente Socialista, International Action Center, African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change, Positive Health Project, Housing Works, Council Member Christine Quinn, Council Member Margarita Lopez, Council Speaker Peter Vallone, State Senator Deborah Glick, Adodi/NY, Assal East Coast, Brazilian Rainbow Group, Caribbean pride, COLEGA, CoMex, GAPIMNY, GRIOT Circle, Harlem United, Iban/QKNY, Kilawin Kolektibo, Las Buenas Amigas, Lavender Light, Mano a Mano, NY Tongzhi Chinese Queers, POCC, PRIDE, SISTAH, Amnesty International, Gender Identity Project/ Gay and Lesbian Community Cent!er, Zengers Newsmagazine, South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association, Heritage of Pride New York, State Senator Tom Duane, Soulforce, Bluestockings Cafe and Bookstore, Gay and Lesbian Switchboard of New York, Gay and Lesbian National hotline, First Church of the Goddess, Transsexual Avengers, Al-Fatiha Foundation (LGBTQ Muslims and friends) National Organization of Women New York City (Founding Chapter), MIT (Italian Transgender Movement), Prostitutes of New York, Jessica Xavier, Gay Men of African Descent, Brooklyn PFLAG, Latin American Network of Sex Workers, Nucleo de Orientacao em Saude Social (Brazil), Brooklyn Pride, Empire State Pride Agenda, Grupo Gay da Bahia (Brazil)
Contact Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries:

© 1997-2002 BEI