Transgender interior designer Felycya Harris shot to death in Georgia park / LGBTQ Nation

Felycya Harris

Felycya HarrisPhoto: Facebook

A 33-year-old transgender interior designer was found shot to death this past Saturday in Augusta, Georgia.

Felycya Harris’s body was found after 1 p.m. at a city park with one gunshot wound. An autopsy on Monday classified her death as a homicide.

Related: US Marine who murdered a transgender woman was just pardoned

“I went outside and we were just sitting in the car, laughing and talking and jiving on each other” before her death, her friend Ricola Collier told WRDW.

She is the 31st known transgender or non-binary person killed this year in the U.S., according to HRC, in what has become one of the most violent years on record for transgender people. The number is believed to be higher as many murders are not reported in the media and many victims who are transgender or non-binary are misgendered in media reports.

Most of the victims this year have been Black and latina transgender women.

“With news of the death of Felycya Harris, we have hit a grim milestone: we have now matched the highest number of transgender or gender non-conforming people who were victims of fatal violence in one year – and there are three more months left in the year,” said HRC President Alphonso David.

According to the organization, Harris ran her own interior decorating business and said she could do “just about anything with decorating” to make people feel better in their living spaces. She also worked at a furniture store and taught dance.

Her friends said they will remember her “laugh. The smile – the smiles. The talks. The arguments. The attitudes. Everybody is going to remember who Felycya Harris is.”

According to the Augusta Chronicle, friends and family are sharing “Justice for Felycya” posts on Facebook. Police have not yet said if they have a suspect.

At least two other transgender women were murdered in the past two weeks. Mia Green, 29, of Philadelphia, Louisiana was found shot in the neck on September 28 and later died at the hospital.

Abdullah Ibn El-Amin Jaamia, in whose car Green’s body was found, has been arrested in connection to her death.

In Los Angeles, 42-year-old Daniela Hernandez was stabbed in the throat Sunday night after she was surrounded by a group of men in a park who told her “something to the effect of, ‘We don’t want gays in the park,’” according to LAPD.

“We don’t know exactly why, but we know it was simply because she’s trans,” said TransLatina Coalition President and CEO Bamby Salcedo.

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Teacher Fights Ban on LGBTQ ‘Signage’ With Rainbow Classroom Decor

A Nevada teacher responded to her school district’s restrictions on LGBTQ “signage” by making a TikTok video that shows her classroom plastered with rainbow decor. 

Jennifer Leja, whom BuzzFeed News identified as a teacher of middle school students in Reno, Nevada, posted a video on her TikTok last week showing off her rainbow posters, teacher’s desk, and duct tape separating student desks. 

According to her TikTok video, the school said talking about LGBTQ issues would be considered “supporting a single political party.” 

“And if anybody asks, I just really like rainbows, like, I just really like rainbows,” Leja says.

She takes the viewers on a tour of different parts of her classroom, including a pen stand flaunting rainbow feathers and a sign above her classroom door, decorated in rainbow colors. 

“No politics in Ms. Leja’s classroom,” she says. “She just likes rainbows. Rainbows aren’t political, not at all, rainbows are just colorful.”

The video then lands on her wearing a face mask with a rainbow heart. She says, “What, this? This is not political, this is just that I really like rainbows.”

She told BuzzFeed News that students often come to her when they’re exploring their identities.

She has always kept a rainbow flag, but a new policy issued by the Washoe County School District bans political “signage” and “partisan political activities,” according to BuzzFeed News. 

In an email reviewed by BuzzFeed News, banned “political activities” include signs supporting LGBTQ issues, Black Lives Matter, pro-life, and pro-gun campaigns. An official for the school district said, however, that teachers are still allowed to share their sexuality or talk about same-sex partners with students.

Leja’s video has garnered thousands of “hearts” and comments, with many pointing out that one’s ability to love or identify with their gender is not a matter of politics.


Must-reads on the Daily Dot

H/T BuzzFeed News

*First Published: Sep 21, 2020, 4:48 pm

Samira Sadeque

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Tokyo highlights LGBTQ rights before Olympics with Pride House

TOKYO – Tokyo will open Pride House, Japan’s first permanent such center, next month to raise awareness of LGBTQ rights before and during the rearranged Olympic Games in 2021.

Although there have been similar initiatives before previous Games, organizers said Pride House Tokyo, which will open its doors on International Coming Out Day on October 11, is the first to get official International Olympic Committee backing.

“Pride House Tokyo aims to educate the world and also Japan of the difficulties the LGBTQ community has playing and enjoying sports … while helping create a safe space for the community too,” Pride House Tokyo said in a statement on Monday.

“Many people might think that Japan is a human rights defender, but actually there are no laws to protect LGBTQ people.”

Gon Matsunaka

It is traditional for most nations competing at the Olympics to have a hospitality “house,” where they promote their country and hold parties for winning athletes.

Gon Matsunaka, the head of Good Aging Yells, one of the organizations supporting the project, said Japan lags behind many other developed nations when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

“Many people might think that Japan is a human rights defender, but actually there are no laws to protect LGBTQ people,” Matsunaka told Reuters via email.

“Society is filled with prejudice, discrimination and harassment towards LGBTQ community.”

“While we have to change the sports arena, we also hope Pride House Legacy can help change society as a whole as well.”

Gay marriage is illegal in Japan and although about two dozen cities, towns and wards issue same-sex partnership certificates, they lack legal standing and prejudice persists.

Fumino Sugiyama, a transgender man and former fencer for the Japanese national team, said little had changed in 15 years since retiring from professional sport.

“Even now looking around, there are few LGBTQ athletes that live their lives openly and that is the reality here in Japan,” Sugiyama told a news briefing to launch Pride House Tokyo.

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Tokyo Highlights LGBTQ Rights Before Olympics With Pride House | World News

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo will open Pride House, Japan’s first permanent such center, next month to raise awareness of LGBTQ rights before and during the rearranged Olympic Games in 2021.

Although there have been similar initiatives before previous Games, organizers said Pride House Tokyo, which will open its doors on International Coming Out Day on October 11, is the first to get official International Olympic Committee backing.

“Pride House Tokyo aims to educate the world and also Japan of the difficulties the LGBTQ community has playing and enjoying sports … while helping create a safe space for the community too,” Pride House Tokyo said in a statement on Monday.

It is traditional for most nations competing at the Olympics to have a hospitality ‘house’, where they promote their country and hold parties for winning athletes.

Gon Matsunaka, the head of Good Ageing Yells, one of the organizations supporting the project, said Japan lags behind many other developed nations when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

“Many people might think that Japan is a human rights defender, but actually there are no laws to protect LGBTQ people,” Matsunaka told Reuters via email.

“Society is filled with prejudice, discrimination and harassment towards LGBTQ community.”

“While we have to change the sports arena, we also hope Pride House Legacy can help change society as a whole as well.”

Gay marriage is illegal in Japan and although about two dozen cities, towns and wards issue same-sex partnership certificates, they lack legal standing and prejudice persists.

Fumino Sugiyama, a former fencer for the Japanese national team who now identifies as a man, said little had changed in 15 years since retiring from professional sport.

“Even now looking around, there are few LGBTQ athletes that live their lives openly and that is the reality here in Japan,” Sugiyama told a news briefing to launch Pride House Tokyo.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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