Daily Fix: London Chanel, Black Trans Woman, Killed in Philly and Other News Stories

Hey rocky road kids! Have you seen Beyonce and Nicki’s music video for “Feeling Myself”? I did and it wasn’t on Tidal. I loved it so much that I reblogged two photo/gif sets on my Tumblr.

What do you call a group of violent white people?

+ Nine bikers were killed and 18 were injured in a rival bike gang shootout in Waco, Texas on Sunday. All nine men killed were members of two main rival gangs, the Bandidos and the Cossacks. More than 170 arrests were made and are being charged with engaging in organized crime in connection to a capital murder case. The deadly shootout happened at a Twins Peaks restaurant where five bike gangs convened to address turf and recruitment issues. At least 100 weapons were recovered including, knives, guns, chains and rifles.

“In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the worst crime scene, the most violent crime scene that I’ve ever been involved in,” Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said Sunday.

Swanton told reporters the deadly gang shootout started in the restroom and spilled into the bar area and then to the parking lot, quickly escalating from a fist fight to one using firearms. The police had known about the meeting at Twin Peaks for a week and urged the restaurant’s local management to shut it down for fear of violence. Law enforcement, including SWAT and state agents, were stationed outside of the restaurant before the shooting happened in anticipation of violence. On Monday, the company that owns Twin Peaks revoked the Waco’s location franchising rights.

Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP

Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP

The most interesting thing about this story is the way police treated the predominately white gang members involved in the violent shooting compared to the way they treat black protestors or black people in general, and how the media reported (or failed to report) on the chaos.

Jenny Kutner over at Salon points out that news outlets were quick to use less abrasive words like “incident” over using the word “riot,” like they have been using to cover the recent events in Baltimore.

A riot is not simply a demonstration against police brutality. It can also be what happens when scores of hostile white people open gunfire in a parking lot. And when that happens, it can be described as anything but a “riot.”

Dan Soloman over at Texas Monthly wrote about the #WacoThugs Twitter conversation and how their points are valid:

The idea that it’s “special treatment” to “not be shot by police for looking violent” is something one could argue with—the police are supposed to use great restraint in those situations—but making that argument misses the point. In a country where, among black citizens, having potentially stolen cigars from a corner store can leave a person dead on the sidewalk, or where playing with a toy gun can result in the immediate shooting of a twelve-year-old boy, or where a person who was able to walk when taken into police custody can be dead of a severed spinal cord by the time the ride in the van is finished, the mere fact that a massive shoot-out in a strip mall could end with police and bikers on peaceful terms does look like special treatment.

Terrible News

+ London Chanel, a 21-year-old transgender woman, was fatally stabbed by a 31-year-old man in an abandoned row home in Philadelphia. Police say an argument sparked the incident which grew into a physical fight. Detectives are still investigating. NBC10 initially reported the crime and misgendered Chanel but updated the article after commenters reported Chanel was a trans woman.

Chanel’s friends remember her as a person with a heart of gold and an infectious laugh. A candlelight vigil in honor of Chanel will be held at the scene on Friday.

rest in power London Chanel

rest in power London Chanel

+ The event page for a retreat hosted by Black Lesbians United was overrun by racist, homophobic slurs written by white men who clicked they were “attending” the event this weekend. Following the abuse, the organization took down the event page but said the retreat was still on.

+ In horribly sad news, investigators recovered the body of 23-year-old trans woman Rachel Bryk after she jumped off the George Washington Bridge and died by suicide a few weeks ago.

+ In absolutely unsurprising news, Jeb Bush, an expected 2016 presidential hopeful, told David Brody of Christian Broadcast News that it’s totally cool for businesses to discriminate against gays. He also talked about traditional marriage and protecting the children, yadda yadda.

+ The St. Louis police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old VonDerrit Myers Jr. will have no charges filed against him, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney has announced.

Positive Notes

+ On Monday, the White House announced the federal government is placing new restrictions on providing military-style equipment to local police. Effective immediately, the government will no longer provide wheeled-armored vehicles, battering rams, grenade launchers, and more. The changes were recommended by a task force that Obama created in December as part of actions to relieve tensions between police and communities across the country, especially after the events that happened in Ferguson, Missouri where protestors where met with tanks and riot gear.

+ Notorious RBG aka Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated a gay couple’s wedding in Washington D.C. This isn’t the first time Ginsburg officiates a gay wedding but it was a very special one because of her use of the word “Constitution,” according to New York Times‘ writer Maureen Dowd and knowing that the Supreme Court ruling over marriage equality is just right around the corner.

“But the most glittering moment for the crowd came during the ceremony,” Dowd writes. “With a sly look and special emphasis on the word ‘Constitution,’ Justice Ginsburg said that she was pronouncing the two men married by the powers vested in her by the Constitution of the United States.”

+ U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier is calling for a federal investigation of therapists who administer “conversion therapy.” She wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission demanding they investigate mental health providers who claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression and to enforce any applicable laws regarding false claims to prevent these conversion therapists from misinforming potential patients.

“When children and adults undergo these so-called ‘treatments,’ they don’t come home from sessions ‘ex-gay’ as their therapists promised, ” she writes. “Instead, studies show that these abusive therapy practices pose critical health risks to their patients, including decreased self-esteem, confusion, guilt, shame, helplessness, hopelessness, social withdrawal, and substance abuse.

+ A third grade North Carolina teacher received both praise and criticism for the way he handled a bullying problem in his classroom. Omar Currie read King & King, a children’s fairy tale that features gay characters, to his classroom after he overheard some of his students referring to a boy student as “gay” and a “woman.” Currie, who’s gay, addressed the situation by reading the book and wanting to teach his students about treating people well, not matter how different they seem. At least three parents filed complaints against Currie and the book which led to a meeting to determine if the book should be banned. Currie garnered overwhelming support at the meeting.

Image #: 36945118    Efland-Cheeks Elementary teacher Omar Currie turns to acknowledge the applause of his fellow teachers and parents after an impassioned speech in front of the school's media review committee in the school gym Friday evening, May 15, 2015 in Efland, N.C. Currie is at the center of a controversy of reading an approved gay-themed fable book to kids in his elementary class. Over two hundred turned out Friday to speak to the review committee on the issue of the controversial book read to children at the school. (Harry Lynch/News & Observer/TNS)       Raleigh News & Observer/ TNS /LANDOV

(Harry Lynch/News & Observer/TNS) Raleigh News & Observer/ TNS /LANDOV

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Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.


  1. Hearing that one of my sisters was murdered less than an hour away from me is heartbreaking. Rest in power, London.

  2. Fortunately I live in California so discrimination really isn’t legal here, so I can’t do it as a business owner. However, if I did live in a state that was I would make it a point that homophobic and transphobic people are banned from my store as are relatives of presidents and ex presidents. I may still try this at some point in the future.

  3. Still really depressing that all the “positive” news in this round-up are responses to really shitty things in the first place.

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