Tag Archives: Texas

PHOTOS: DC Vigil for Teen Lesbians Shot in Texas

29 Jun

Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin

Last Friday night as many Americans prepared for a weekend of Pride celebrations, 19 year old Mollie Olgin was taking her girlfriend of 5 months, 18 year old Krissy Chapa to a movie. They had some extra time on their hands, so they stopped by a local park.

What happened between then and roughly 9am on Saturday is still being pieced together by Police.

Authorities were called to the scene after a couple came upon them in the morning. Mollie had died due to a gunshot wound to her neck and Kristene remains in intensive care with a gunshot wound to her head.

The investigation continues and as of 7pm last night, no motives or suspects have been discovered. A witness has come forward and described the shooter as a white male in his 20s, 5 foot 8 inches tall, 140 pounds with dark hair. As of this time, it is unknown whether the girls’ relationship was a motive for the crime. The police also indicated that the women did not know their assailant.

As of right now, there are more than 25 vigils planned across the country for the girls.

We hear from Kristene’s brother that she’s making progress and can now move the right side of her body. In trying to get her to communicate, she’s only been able to write – most of what she’s writing is Mollie’s name. Her family has refrained from telling her Mollie is gone for fear it will impact her recovery. Friends and family had been very supportive of their relationship.

Tonight, we were proud to help organize a twilight vigil in Mollie and Kristene’s honor in Washington D.C.. More than 100 people braved the 104 degree weather and contributed over $300 to help with Kristene’s medical care (as she is uninsured).

Speakers included Maya Rupert , Federal Policy Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights will be Chad Griffin, new Executive Director for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Executive Director of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL), Andrew Barnett and Chair of Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), A.J. Singletary.

Thank you to those who joined us. Please feel free to make a contribution here to help out Kristene’s family.

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Houston Judge Discriminates Against Married Gay Man

22 Aug

Judge Charley E. Prine, Jr.

In a stunning case of bigotry from Houston Judge Charley E. Prine, Jr., a married gay man has been forbidden from ever leaving his children alone with his husband.

According to the Houston Chronicle, William Flowers married Jim Evans last year in Connecticut. At the time, William’s ex-wife had full custody of the children with William getting regular visitation with them. After William married Jim, he sought to change the custody agreement. The jury decided that the custody agreement should remain as-is.

While there were no allegations of abuse or endangerment of the children in any way, the Judge added a ruling applicable only to William. The Judge’s ruling prohibits him from ever leaving his children alone with any man who is not related to the children “by blood or adoption.”

The article goes on to cite interviews with many practicing law in Houston stating they had never heard of such an injunction in cases not involving abuse or neglect. When William’s ex-wife’s lawyer was interviewed about it, she claimed it was common and referred the reporter to Teresa Waldrop, a member the of the Family Law sections of the State Bar of Texas and Houston Bar Association – Waldrop admitted to never having seen an injunction such as this and referred the reporter to Austin Family Law Attorney Jennifer Cochran.

When Cochran was read the injunction she told the Chronicle the provision is “just not reasonable.” The fact that William can’t leave the children alone with any man to whom they aren’t related by blood or adoption “strikes at the very heart of the fact that he’s gay…it’s judicial activism, legislating from the bench,” and has nothing to do with protecting the best interests of the children, said Cochran.

Texas Judge to Void Marriage of Deceased Firefighter and Transgender Woman

26 May

Thomas & Nikki Araguz

This is one of those stories that not only explains precisely why we need equal protections on the Federal level, but it is also one of those stories that many of our friends, relatives and co-workers wouldn’t believe if they heard it.

Texas firefighter Thomas Araguz died on July 3rd, 2010 while fighting a fire on an egg farm in Boling, Texas. His wife, a transgender woman named Nikki Araguz – who changed her name legally in 1996, was devastated. Nikki was out of town when it happened and sadly, not one person in her husband’s family called Nikki to tell her of the tragedy. She learned about her own husband’s death from a posting on a social networking site. When she arrived home, she was treated like a stranger by her husband’s family, blocked from seeing her stepchildren and outcast from what she thought was a loving relationship with her husband’s family.

The day after her husband’s funeral, Nikki learned that there were two separate lawsuits filed against her in attempts to stop her from receiving the benefits a firefighter’s spouse usually receives. Her husband mentioned her in one instance, by name as the beneficiary should anything happen to him. This ensured that she and his two children would be taken care of. Still, Thomas’ mother and ex-wife filed these suits to grab at the money due to Nikki.

The most disgusting part of this whole situation is that the primary argument being used against Nikki is that her marriage should be voided because she was born a man. And a Houston judge is about to do just that. So on top of all the other challenges a transgender woman faces each day in a place like Texas, on top of losing her husband and a family with whom she thought she had a loving and supportive relationship, on top of losing funds which are rightfully due to her following her husband’s death, these shameful bigots are now going to void the marriage she had with Thomas.

Thomas’ ex-wife, Heather Delgado, his mother and the judges who are allowing this horrendous miscarriage of justice – District Judge Randy Clapp and Delgado’s lawyer, Edward Burwell should ALL be ashamed of themselves. This kind of hateful odious treatment of another human being should be reviled. Our thoughts are with Nikki at this tremendously difficult time.

Lesbian Mom Takes Own Life After Losing Custody Battle

3 Jan

A heartbreaking story today about a lesbian mother who has taken her own life because of a custody dispute over her son.

Debie Hackett and her son, from her facebook profile.

The news comes from the Dallas Voice, which had covered the legal battle this summer. In July, Debie Hackett had sued her former partner and the biological mother of their child, Kim Ferris for proper visitation rights with their son. Debie won in an appeals court and the case was remanded to a lower court, where this past month, Debie lost. To explain further: the appeals’ court ruling did not grant Debie visitation, but did allow for the case to continue and not be dismissed as Ferris had hoped.

On Christmas Eve, distraught by the fact that she could may possibly never see her child again, Debie took her own life. The Dallas Voice asks: “Could interpretation of laws to discount a same-sex relationship be the underlying cause of this needless death?”

A sad story to start of 2011, but will hopefully ignite some fire in us to continue creating the change we so desperately need.