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Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, June 12th, 2019


Top Stories This Week

1. The violent separation of migrant mothers from their newborns;
2. A monument in New York City honoring trans activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera;
3. The death of Johana Medina Leon, a 25-year-old trans Salvadoran woman, after her release from ICE custody;
4. Changes in the definition of who is a “public charge” and widespread fear in migrant communities regarding public benefits;
5. The merits of Medicare for All;
6. Reviews of the five best dating apps for non-monogamous people;
7. Updates in the fight to decriminalize sex work in D.C. 



Trump Administration Separates Some Migrant Mothers From Their Newborns Before Returning Them to Detention (Rewire.News)

A year has passed since President Trump signed an executive order to end his practice of separating families and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, yet still today, his “zero-tolerance” policy remains. Tina Vasquez details a particularly heinous consequence—the separation of migrant mothers from their newborns—through interviews with various advocates, including Taylor Levy, the legal coordinator of an El Paso nonprofit. As Levy says, “You’re in an entirely new country. You just gave birth and your baby is taken from you after two days. You have no clue what is going to happen to your baby or if your baby is safe. You’re taken back to prison, your breasts are leaking milk, you’re in pain, and you sit in a prison cell with no idea when you’ll get released or if you’ll see your baby again.” Read more.



(Diana Davies/New York Public Library)

Two Transgender Activists Are Getting a Monument in New York (The New York Times)

On Wednesday, May 29, New York City announced that Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two trans activists known for their incredible contributions to the LGBTQ+ rights movement, will be honored in a monument down the street from the Stonewall Inn. Julia Jacobs writes, “Ms. Johnson and Ms. Rivera were both drag performers and vibrant characters in Greenwich Village street life who worked on behalf of homeless LGBTQ youth and those affected by HIV/AIDS. They are also believed to have been key figures in the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising who fought police as they raided the gay bar on Christopher Street. The planned monument is [...] part of the city’s effort to fix a glaring gender gap in public art. Statues of LGBTQ individuals are virtually nonexistent among the city’s monuments, and the city says the dedication to Johnson and Rivera will be one of the world’s first for transgender people.” Read more.



(Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Transgender Woman Johana Medina Leon Died Shortly After Being Paroled From ICE Custody (Teen Vogue)

On June 1, Johana Medina Leon, a 25-year-old trans woman from El Salvador, died. Her death—which occurred just four days after her release from the Otero ICE facility—marks yet another loss associated with ICE’s pattern of violence toward LGBTQ+ migrants. As advocates and lawyers allege, the Otero facility  is characterized by “inadequate medical care,” “retaliation and unlawful use of solitary confinement,” and “rampant sexual harassment, discrimination, and abuse.” But as Lucy Diavolo writes, these horrific practices extend far beyond Otero: “Medina Leon’s death comes just over a year after 33-year-old trans woman Roxsana Hernández died in ICE custody. Hernández, a migrant from Honduras, died on May 25, 2018, and an independent autopsy, commissioned by her family and the Transgender Law Center (TLC), reportedly found that she had been beaten and died of dehydration and complications from HIV. The autopsy process also found witnesses who said she had been denied medical care, despite obvious need.” Read more.




(Mike Kane/Marguerite Casey Foundation)

“Public Charge” Raises Concerns About Poverty for Families (Truthout)

In 2018, the Trump administration formulated a change to the definition of public charge, an administrative rule that historically permits immigration authorities to deny visas and/or residency to migrants considered to be financial burdens to the state. As Sasha Abramsky writes, this new definition has incited widespread fear in migrant communities, causing many people to lose emergency medical, nutritional, and/or housing assistance: “As anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric increase in the U.S., more immigrant families—especially ones with at least a member who is undocumented—are shying away from applying for any form of public benefits. With the Trump administration pushing rule changes to expand the definition of who is a ‘public charge’ and ineligible for permanent residency, a mix of fact and rumor is pushing families away from accessing the help they need for stability—and often when they are entitled to the support.” Read more.



(Wellcome Images / Wikimedia)

Surprise! We Need Medicare for All (Jacobin)

In the U.S., medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy. While the vast majority of politicians are promising to do something, their promises, according to Meagan Day, miss the solution. Day contends, “Instead of establishing elaborate guidelines for how insurers and providers should interact with each other in specific situations, lawmakers should just give private insurers the boot. Medicare for All would create a single universal network that covers everyone and everything. That network would be democratically controlled and transparent, instead of corporately controlled and unaccountable. It would be paid for by taxes, which would cost less for most individuals, and save trillions of dollars overall.” Read more.



(Ebin Lee)

The Best Dating Apps For Non-Monogamous Couples (Refinery29)

Erika W. Smith puts it simply: ethical non-monogamy—“anything outside of a monogamous relationship, with everyone involved knowing and consenting”—is on the rise. Because of this, some mainstream dating apps have made changes to welcome non-monogamous people. Smith shares reviews five of these apps—Feeld, OkCupid, PolyFinda, Tinder, and #open—detailing who the apps are for and what their users are saying. Read more.




D.C. Sex Workers Want Decriminalization—and City Council Members Agree (Reason)

On Monday, June 3, D.C. sex workers and activists demanded “an end to the stigma, the arrests, and the violence endured by people who sell sex.” These demands have long been central to the sex workers’ liberation movement, but this D.C. Councilmember-at-Large David Grosso joined to  introduce legislation to end criminal penalties for paid sex between consenting adults. The Community Safety & Health Amendment Act of 2019, Elizabeth Nolan Brown explains, “was drafted with the help of a coalition that includes D.C. sex workers, community health advocates, LGBTQ folks, feminists, racial justice advocates, and religious organizations. [...] From the steps of the city building, Monarez stressed that ‘there are many different kinds of sex workers, but the passage of this bill will help marginalized communities like trans women of color the most.’” Read more.



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