Adding to the growing death toll of transgender women of color across the nation, Nina Pop, 28, was found stabbed to death in southeast Missouri on Sunday (May 3). 

Pop was found in her apartment in Sikeston, Missouri, with multiple stab wounds, according to the Associated Press.

Sikestown’s police chief, James McMillen says that although the motive has not yet been determined, investigators are looking into the possibility of a hate crime. 

No arrests have been made. 

With the region’s major case squad and Missouri State Highway Patrol assisting in the investigation, the death of Nina Pop is at least the 10th violent death of a transgender or gender nonconforming person this year and the fifth in the last month, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ civil rights organization. 

The organization also states that five most recent victims were transgender women of color.

With the region’s major case squad and Missouri State Highway Patrol assisting in the investigation, the death of Nina Pop is at least the 10th violent death of a transgender or gender nonconforming person this year and the fifth in the last month, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ civil rights organization. 

The organization also states that five most recent victims were transgender women of color. 

“We are seeing an epidemic of violence that can no longer be ignored. Transgender and gender nonconforming people, especially trans women of color, risk our lives by living as our true selves -- and we are being violently killed for doing so,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative said. 

National Center for Transgender Equality is looking at the case of Nina Pop as an example of why Missouri needs to rapidly implement LGBTQ nonsidcrimination protections, as told by the Gay City News.

“Transgender people — and particularly transgender women of color — are facing a wave of violence,” Mara Keisling, NCTE’s executive director, said in a statement. “Police and other government officials must do more to keep transgender people safe, to thoroughly investigate crimes against out community, and to stop enacting laws that enable transgender people to be targeted.” 

The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, a bill that would include sexual orientation and gender identity to the Missouri Human Act, have yet to pass through the State Legislature, despite its multiple attempts. 

“We must be outraged by this news and we must channel that outrage into action immediately. These crimes must be reported, investigated and prosecuted. These lives must be mourned, honored and fought for. What we are doing is not enough. HRC mourns alongside all those who know and loved Nina, and we will continue our tireless fight to ensure a future where living one’s truth can never become a death sentence,” said Tori Cooper. 

 

 

Washington - (May 4, 2020) - The first ever set of specific recommendations to support transgender autistic young people was co-created by these youth and their families working hand-in-hand with clinical experts. The resulting model offers clinicians a set of concrete ways to provide this unique population the support they need.

The recommendations, A Clinical Program for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Neurodiverse/Autistic Adolescents Developed through Community-Based Participatory Design, were published by the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology on May 4, 2020.

"The idea of patients helping to co-design their own care isn't new, but including the perspectives of autistic youth in their own care is quite new," says John Strang, Psy.D., who directs the Gender and Autism Program within the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children's National Hospital.

He continues, "And for the many youth who are both transgender and autistic, including their voices and perspectives in their clinical care is critical. Without their input, there is a great risk for misunderstanding their needs - and for marginalization."

"This was an important process in which to participate, and will hopefully help those -- autistic people, trans people, and autistic trans people alike -- who often only see themselves represented by cisgender, neurotypical researchers and providers. It is a relief to be a part of creating something like this," adds Marissa Alexa McCool, a co-researcher who is an autistic transgender woman.

The new publication builds on previously published broad clinical guidelines for providers, now integrating the perspectives of autistic transgender individuals themselves. The program includes specific approaches for supporting young people in their diverse needs, and identifies three key components central to this care:

1. Helping autistic, gender-diverse young people build community together, which they need and often want, in contrast to clichés about lack of desire for social contact in autism. Many autistic transgender young people prior to entering clinical care have never met another person who is transgender and autistic. The connections that they built with one another through this new clinical care model were critical in helping them develop a positive sense of identity and to know that they are not alone in this world.

2. Introducing the youth to a broad spectrum of gender diverse and/or neurodiverse role models helps make possibilities for their future more concrete, and builds a sense of hopefulness and pride. Abstract concepts such as gender or future gender can be particularly challenging for autistic youth. The new care model addresses this by providing these youth opportunities to meet and interact with a range of living role models who represent various gender identities as well as neurodiversity experiences.

"Being able to see and hear about the diverse journeys of adults who have already navigated gender and/or autism-related diversity has been helpful in making the various options more tangible for gender diverse autistic youth," says Dr. Strang. "The chance to meet role models with different gender-related experiences - transgender, cisgender, exploring - has helped autistic gender diverse youth to better figure out what is most true for them and what they need from us."

3. Supporting the gender expression needs of autistic transgender youth through gender style coaching. Because of autism-related sensory sensitivities and problems with planning and social understanding, autistic transgender young people often have difficulty achieving their desired gender transition. Gender-style coaching can help autistic youth reach their gender-related goals in ways that accommodate and support the young person's autism-related challenges.

The perspectives included in the new clinical program were from a range of ages and backgrounds, as well as across multiple points in time to make sure that as youths' own views evolved, their evolving needs were captured as well.

The authors created a specific clinical guide to complement the publication, which is available on the Children's National website.

"We're so happy to have been able to partner with self-advocates from the autistic transgender and gender diverse communities, youth who are living this experience, and their families, to co-create a community-driven model that can be used for kids seeking guidance and support," says Dr. Strang.

"We hear over and over again that what parents and care providers really need are concrete tools to support young people with co-occurring autism and gender diversity, so that's what we sought to do here," he concludes. "It's exciting because, for the first time, we have some simple tools to support these kids. And this is critical, because although the co-occurrence of autism and gender diversity has been of great interest to researchers, nearly all studies to date have focused on how many transgender youth are autistic, instead of how to help and support this poorly understood group."

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About Children's National Hospital

Children's National Hospital, based in Washington, D.C., celebrates 150 years of pediatric care, research and commitment to community. Volunteers opened the hospital in 1870 with 12 beds to care for Civil War orphans. Today, 150 years stronger, it is the nation's No. 6 children's hospital. It is ranked No. 1 for newborn care for the third straight year and ranked in all specialties evaluated by "U.S. News & World Report." Children's National is transforming pediatric medicine for all children. In 2020, it will open the Children's National Research & Innovation Campus, the first in the nation dedicated to pediatric research. It has been designated twice as a Magnet® hospital, demonstrating the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty outpatient centers in the D.C., metropolitan area, including the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs. Children's National is home to the Children's National Research Institute and Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and is the nation's seventh-highest NIH-funded children's hospital. It is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels.

The daytime talkshow host spoke to actor Gabrielle Union, who is raising her 12-year-old transgender stepdaughter Zaya with retired NBA player Dwyane Wade.

 Ellen praised Gabrielle for standing by Zaya in the face of fierce criticism from those who cannot understand their family.

“I know this is silly to say because, you know, who doesn’t love their children unconditionally? But I guess a lot of people don’t,” Ellen said.

“But it’s so amazing how supportive you’ve both been.”

Gabrielle replied: “Yeah, I mean, to us, it’s a little odd to be, to get, you know, any kind of recognition for doing what, you know, you’re supposed to do, which is love and accept and embrace your kids.

"But unfortunately, there are so many people who just don’t. They just don’t. And so many people who really truly feel like their kids are disposable. If they’re not perfect images of them, they’re not interested. And it’s heartbreaking. So for us, we are just doing what’s natural to us and loving her.

Ellen DeGeneres says Zaya Wade is a ‘lucky’ girl.

Ellen DeGeneres concluded that Zaya was “very, very lucky” to have the parents that she does.

She added: “It is unfortunate that a lot of people have children thinking they can mould them and make them who they want them to be and have a certain idea of what they are supposed to turn out like. But they all turn out different.”

Gabrielle appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show via video link, with Ellen also filming her half from home to abide by coronavirus restrictions.

In recent weeks the host has been dogged by rumours of her “notoriously mean” demeanour as members of her staff, past and present, share stories of her alleged bad behaviour.

Ellen has not directly responded to the rumours, but says she “loves and misses” her crew while she remains in lockdown.

A group of struggling transgender sex workers in Italy recently found a surprising beneficiary: a cardinal working under Pope Francis.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski is the Vatican's distributor of alms, overseeing philanthropy for the Catholic Church. Krajewski was told of the plight of trans sex workers facing destitution because of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine. Informed that many of the sex workers, living in a beach town near Rome, were undocumented and unable to obtain government aid, Krajewski leapt into action. The cardinal, nicknamed "the Pope's Robin Hood," wired the sex workers enough money to feed and care for themselves, Reuters reports.

"I don't understand why this is getting so much attention," Cardinal Konrad Krajewski told Reuters. "This is ordinary work for the Church, it's normal. This is how the Church is a field hospital."

Speaking to Reuters, Krajewski repeatedly expressed empathy for the plight of the sex workers.

"Everything is closed," he said. "They don't have any resources. They went to the pastor (who referred them to Krajewski). They could not have gone to a politician or a parliamentarian. And the pastor came to us.

"They are really in difficulty because sometimes their passports were taken away by the mafia pimps who control them. We follow the gospel."

At 56, Krajewski is one of the youngest cardinals in the world and often holds his hand out to the disadvantaged and marginalized. His worldview, especially in regards to LGBTQ people, is a refreshing change from the official dogma of the church, which rejects both same-sex marriage and transgender identity.

 

The coronavirus outbreak is presenting LGBTQ youth with a new set of unique challenges. The widespread school closures throughout the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are preventing LGBTQ youth from accessing vital resources provided by schools.

The Trevor Project has reported a dramatic increase of LGBTQ youth requesting crisis-related services through their organization since the outbreak of COVID-19.

“We know the COVID-19 pandemic poses unique challenges for LGBTQ young people,” reports The Trevor Project. “At The Trevor Project, the volume of LGBTQ young people reaching out to our crisis services programs has more than doubled and we are hearing from many LGBTQ young people who feel isolated because they do not have access to their usual support systems.”

Sadly, a number of LGBTQ youth, both in the U.S. as well as around the world, live in unsupportive homes where they are unable to freely express themselves. A 2018 Human Rights Campaign (HRC) study found that nearly half (48 percent) of LGBTQ youth are made to feel bad by their families for being LGBTQ and over half (67 percent) of LGBTQ youth are subjected to hearing their families make negative comments about LGBTQ people.

Due to schools being closed for the remainder of the year resulting from the threat of COVID-19, these youth are now more at risk than ever of facing severe ramifications, as many of them are already subjected to abuse and intolerance within their homes.
“For some, social isolation means being forced to hide who they are in unsupportive, even abusive home environments,” says The Trevor Project.

Another challenge LGBTQ youth are facing brought on by the closing of schools, particularly transgender and non-binary youth, is having access to gender-affirming care, to which many are already burdened with not having sufficient access. Schools often provide these youth with an outlet to services that aid in their gender transition process. And with access to these resources halted from the closing of schools, many are afraid of not being able to continue their journey of transitioning.

“Transgender and non-binary youth may no longer have access to the affirming community they found at school and those who are in the process of transitioning might be afraid that this crisis will interrupt that process,” The Trevor Project says.

While social distancing practices brought on by COVID-19 are necessary precautions during these uncertain times, The Trevor Project says it is also creating a potential health crisis for LGBTQ youth, as connecting and spending time with LGBTQ peers provides a support network that has proven to be life-saving. Without that support, mental health concerns such as suicidal ideation are expected to become more prevalent among these at-risk youth.

“Physical distancing (commonly referred to as social distancing) the practice of avoiding close physical contact with others, is a crucial part of the public health approach to minimizing the impact of COVID-19 on the health of the U.S. population,” says The Trevor Project, “However, physical distancing can impact LGBTQ youth by decreasing their access to positive social interactions and increasing negative social interactions,” the organization added.

Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, says LGBTQ youth heavily rely on social connectedness and that COVID-19 has the potential to make the issues they’re already facing much worse.

“LGBTQ youth already face increased risk of anxiety and suicide and disproportionate rates of unemployment and unstable housing,“ Paley adds. “The COVID-19 global pandemic has the potential to exacerbate these ongoing concerns and to create new, unique problems for LGBT+ youth. At The Trevor Project, we know that positive social connections are vital for suicide prevention.”

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