New report documents rising anti-transgender violence
It’s now a waiting game in the case of former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, who was fired nearly three years ago after distributing a self-published anti-LGBT book at work. Legal teams for both Cochran and the city met in court on Nov. 17 and now await a federal judge’s ruling.
Cochran alleges the city discriminated against him because of his religious beliefs. However, the city says Cochran’s “defensive public relations campaign, which included a Georgia Baptist Convention call to action as the city was conducting its review of the book,” led to his termination, according to WABE.
District Judge Leigh May told WABE she expects to rule within the month, but added that some parts of the case could still end up before a jury.
The book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked,” was available on Amazon and through Barnes & Noble in November 2014. It defined “uncleanness” as “whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion” and included the phrase “Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.”
The book was brought to the attention of retired Atlanta Fire Department Capt. Cindy Thompson, who is openly gay, after firefighters received copies at work and were disturbed by it, as well as by Cochran identifying his affiliation with the fire department in the book.
A joint report issued Nov. 17 by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Trans People of Color Coalition documents the rising amount of “often deadly violence” faced by the trans community.
2017 has been the deadliest year on record for the transgender community. At least 25 individuals, many of whom were transwomen of color, have been killed. Since January 2013, HRC documented 102 known transgender people who were victims of fatal violence. According to a news release about the report, these numbers likely underrepresent the violence, as not all victims may be properly identified as transgender.
The report looks at contributing factors to this fatal violence, including anti-LGBT sentiment, racism, access to guns and political attacks on the LGBT community. The report includes ways lawmakers can address violence as well: enhancing law enforcement response and training; improving data collection and reporting; passing non-discrimination protections; and adopting commonsense gun violence protections.
“Each of the stories featured in this report is unique, tragic and devastating,” TPOCC Executive Director Kylar Broadus said in the news release. “Unpacking these stories is a difficult but necessary process if we as a society want to protect the most vulnerable and address the root causes for their unjust and premature deaths.”