Photojournalist Kristin Lyseggen profiles nine current and former inmates in “The Women of San Quentin: Soul Murder of Transgender Women in Male Prisons.” Surrounded by convicted murderers and rapists, she writes, they are often forced to fight for their lives on their way to womanhood inside some of the world’s most dangerous prisons for men. She and Daniella Tavake, one of those profiled in the book, share intimate parts of their stories with host Eric Jansen on Out in the Bay.
Lyseggen notes that California is home to one of the largest correctional systems in the Western world, and consequently one of the largest populations of incarcerated people with gender identity challenges. This has many implications that are detailed by the experiences of the women in the book. Many of these women have been forced to perform sexual acts on other inmates and guards, kept in solitary confinement when they complained, and been denied access to transition-related health care, even when prescribed by a doctor. (Live in-studio interview aired Dec. 17, 2015 on KALW, 91.7fm San Francisco.)
The Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex (TGI) Justice Project has more information on this topic, and helps prisoners in California with alternative sentencing, access to hormones, preparing their legal cases and finding attorneys. You can also find information at the Prison Activist Resource Center.
The Women of San Quentin: Soul Murder of Transgender Women in Male Prisons is available in many independent bookstores, including Book Passage in Corte Madera and Diesel in Oakland, Brentwood and Larkspur, and on Amazon.com.
Special thanks to Kyrie Whitsett, who produced this week’s Out in the Bay. Photo by Melanie Hofmann.
With recent gay rights gains, why is it still difficult for young people to be lesbian, gay, bi, transgender or “queer,” even in the San Francisco Bay Area? The Pacific Center for Human Growth, an LGBT counseling and community center in Berkeley, reports that many queer youth feel unsafe at school every day.
Eric Jansen’s guests on Out in the Bay are from LOUD (Loving Ourselves & Uniting Diversity) the Pacific Center’s after-school youth program. What’s it like to be a gay, trans, or “questioning” adolescent — trying to figure yourself out today? Has growing mainstream acceptance helped? Legalization of same-sex marriage? Why or why not? Davi and Jesse of LOUD’s Safer Schools speaker’s bureau share their stories, and we also hear from Jared Fields, the Pacific Center’s youth programs manager. (Broadcast Dec. 10, 2015)
For more than 20 years, LOUD has provided a social space for young folks to meet each other, participate in discussions and other activities, and receive counseling if they want it. LOUD’s two key funders cut their support recently at about the same time, and the Pacific Center is seeking donations by December 31 to keep LOUD’s full range of services intact in 2016.
Give what you can and learn more about the Pacific Center’s discussion groups and other services for teens and adults at the Pacific Center’s website, PacificCenter.org. The Pacific Center has been serving the East Bay LGBT community since 1978.
Twenty bronze sidewalk plaques guide pedestrians on a stroll through queer history in San Francisco’s Castro district. The Rainbow Honor Walk, a growing monument along the streets of San Francisco honoring LGBT pioneers, debuted one year ago. To celebrate the anniversary, Out in the Bay re-airs Eric Jansen’s interview with Rainbow Honor Walk co-founder David Perry at 7pm Thursday. Or listen right now at the link below. You’ll also hear Steven Short’s feature on “The Queer Past Becomes Present,” an ongoing exhibit at the GLBT History Museum on 18th Street, also in the Castro. (First aired October 2, 2014; rebroadcast 7pm PDT Oct. 1, 2015, on 91.7fm SF/ kalw.org)
Contrary to popular mythology, the LGBT civil rights movement did not begin with the June 1969 Stonewall Rebellion at New York’s Stonewall Inn. Eric Jansen’s guests this week on Out in the Bay are Adrian Brooks, essayist and editor of, and Max Wolf Valerio, essay contributor to the new anthology The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQI Activism. The book contains 31 essays by and about people who’ve advanced queer rights over the past century, starting with Isadora Duncan, the early 20th Century revolutionary dancer who shocked the U.S. with her Communism and bisexuality, and including Stonewall participant Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Harvey Mik, Barney Frank, Josephine Baker and Martin Luther King Jr.’s chief strategist, Bayard Rustin. (Airs 7pm PDT Thursday, 9/10/15, on 91.7fm + kalw.org)
LISTEN after broadcast:
The Right Side of History is available on Amazon.com and in independent bookstores.
Famed mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade sings in this weekend’s Bay Area performances of Street Requiem, a choral contata to call attention to the plight of people living on our streets and in other insecure conditions around the globe. Australian co-creators Andy Payne and Kathleen McGuire – conductor and artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus from 2000 to 2010 – play selections from Street Requiem’s World Premiere in Melbourne last year and speak with host Eric Jansen about their creative collaboration and their work to help people in need on this week’s Out in the Bay, 7pm PDT Thursday, Aug. 27 on kalw.org, 91.7fm SF Bay Area.
LISTEN here after broadcast:
This weekend’s California Premiere of Street Requiem: For those who have died on the street features opera star Frederica von Stade and benefits Singers of the Street, a San Francisco-based choir McGuire founded in 2010 for people affected by homelessness. They will sing in this weekend’s concerts as part of a mass choir made up of four choruses and accompanied by the Community Women’s Orchestra and Carl Pantle on piano.
Performances: 7pm Saturday, Aug. 29, Old First Presbyterian Church, 1751 Sacramento St., San Francisco and 2pm Sunday, Aug. 30, Congregational Church of San Mateo, 225 Tilton Ave., San Mateo.