Man found guilty of mur­der­ing LGBT At­lanta ac­tivist

GA Voice - - Newsbriefs -

The Trans­gen­der Health & Ed­u­ca­tion Al­liance (THEA) hosted their an­nual Peach State Con­fer­ence ear­lier this month at the At­lanta Mar­riott North­west at Gal­le­ria.

Now in its sec­ond year, the con­fer­ence was ex­pected to draw roughly 200 trans­gen­der per­sons, health providers and al­lies for pan­els dis­cussing ev­ery­thing from spir­i­tu­al­ity to work­place is­sues, all with a fo­cus on pro­mot­ing phys­i­cal and men­tal health in the trans­gen­der com­mu­nity.

The con­fer­ence marked one of the higher pro­file events for this group, which has a mis­sion of im­prov­ing the life ex­pe­ri­ences of trans­gen­der per­sons in the med­i­cal, edu- cation, com­mu­nity and church are­nas. The group re­cently earned its 501(c)3 sta­tus and, work­ing with a team of just 30 or so peo­ple, hosts a va­ri­ety of events aimed at af­firm­ing trans­gen­der men and women.

“Our goals are to uti­lize all four of those dif­fer­ent av­enues to in­crease aware­ness of gender di­ver­sity,” THEA co-founder and direc­tor of health and fam­ily pro­grams Lisa Ra­man told the Ge­or­gia Voice. “To pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion, ac­cess to health care and to im­prove qual­ity of life for trans­gen­der peo­ple.”

They tack­led that goal this year with a di­verse sched­ule of pan­els and speak­ers. Dis­cus­sions like “Safer Sex for Trans Bod­ies: A Com­mu­nity Re­source,” and “Hav­ing Dif­fi­cult Con­ver­sa­tions,” cov­ered some of the so­cial chal­lenges of liv­ing trans­gen­der, while pan­els on rein­vent­ing ca­reers were meant to em­power trans­men and women to con­sider start­ing busi­nesses or other­wise tak­ing con­trol of their work life. But the health pan­els were a ma­jor fo­cus this year.

“Even though there’s in­for­ma­tion avail­able on the In­ter­net, not all of it is ac­cu­rate, not all of it is reli­able and not all of it pro­vides enough de­tail and an­swers to the ques­tions [trans­gen­der men and women] have,” Ra­man said. “They need to come for the in­for­ma­tion and the sup­port but they also come for the sense of com­mu­nity.” The man ac­cused of rap­ing, stab­bing and chok­ing to death a beloved At­lanta LGBT ac­tivist was found guilty on all 12 counts by a Dekalb County jury on Oct. 31.

Project Q At­lanta re­ports Donte La­mar Wy­att was found guilty of mal­ice mur­der, felony mur­der, rape, ag­gra­vated sodomy, three counts of ag­gra­vated as­sault, home in­va­sion, first de­gree bur­glary, false im­pris­on­ment, theft by tak­ing and crim­i­nal tres­pass in the April 13, 2015 killing of Cather­ine Han Mon­toya.

Su­pe­rior Court Judge Asha Jack­son sen­tenced Wy­att to four life sen­tences plus 41 years in prison, ac­cord­ing to the DeKalb Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice.

Wy­att’s crime spree spread across two coun­ties as he stabbed his wife in the park­ing lot of a Stock­bridge Waf­fle House be­fore driv­ing to At­lanta in a rented truck and break­ing into Mon­toya’s home on Shad­owridge Drive, where she lived with her wife Mered­ith. He was later cap­tured af­ter an hours-long stand­off at an­other house.

Project Q re­ports that Wy­att is also charged with at­tack­ing his cell­mate in the DeKalb County Jail af­ter he was ar­rested. He al­legedly stran­gled Jah’Corey Tyson on July 4, 2015 and re­moved his eye­balls. He pleaded not guilty to charges re­lated to the jail­house mur­der in Septem­ber 2015.

Mon­toya was the direc­tor of field im­mi­gra­tion and ca­pac­ity-build­ing ini­tia­tives at the Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence on Civil and Hu­man Rights and the Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence Ed­u­ca­tion Fund, and was also cochair of the Na­tional Asian Pa­cific Amer­i­can Women’s Forum.

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