Transgender Day of Remembrance - November 20, 2008

For Immediate Release, November 15, 2008

By Affirmation Co-spokespersons Diane DeLap & Tim Tennant-Jayne

Last Sunday night someone shot Duanna Johnson to death. The police - the
very people who pledge to "protect" all - ignored, or even worse, mistreated
and abused her, like many of the victims of violence against transgender
persons. In addition, many experience extraordinarily vicious brutality at
the hands of their killers. According to TransgenderDOR.org, in the past
year, over twenty individuals were murdered for being transgender. Over
half of these deaths were in the United States.

And yet, The United Methodist Church remains silent. We rejoice that the
2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, TX did not demonize or exclude
transgender and intersex persons. Yet we need our denomination to show
positive support and encouragement for their transgender members and their
families as they deal with the extraordinary circumstances of their gender
identity. Only when the Church supports all of the downtrodden of society,
like transgender people, will be fulfilling its obligation to "the least of
these."

Ten years ago, on November 28th 1998, the murder of Rita Hester, a popular
Boston transsexual, inspired over 250 of her friends to come together in a
vigil of remembrance. A year later, on the anniversary of her death, San
Francisco held a vigil in Rita's memory. The following year more cities
joined in. This year, churches and organizations will hold hundreds of
observances in dozens of countries.

This year services of remembrance are scheduled around Nov 20th in at least
ten countries and over 65 US communities. Affirmation supports these
services and encourages its members and all progressive United Methodists to
show their support by attending a service in their area. You can find a
service in your area by referring to the following web site:
http://www.transgenderdor.org/

Homicide Victim Identified as Transgendered Person, Duanna Johnson

Reported by: Jill Margetts, Contributor: Shane Myers Eyewitness News
Memphis, USA

November 10, 2007

MEMPHIS, TN - Duanna Johnson was found shot to death in North Memphis,
according to her lawyer.

Memphis police say it happened just before midnight at Hollywood near Staten
Avenue, Sunday, November 9, 2008. According to detectives, when officers
arrived at the scene, they found the body lying in the street. Police say a
witness heard gunfire and then saw three people running away from the scene.
Investigators do not have any suspects at this time.

Lawyer Murray Wells confirmed to Eyewitness News that the person who was
killed is his client Duanna Johnson. He says Johnson was often in the area
where she was killed. Murray says Johnson was trying to leave Memphis and go
back to her hometown of Chicago. According to Murray, Johnson was just about
homeless trying to live in Memphis. He says the apartment where Johnson was
living did not have power. Murray says he was helping Johnson buy a bus
ticket to Chicago.

Johnson was the subject of an alleged video taped beating that happened in
June of 2008. Johnson, who had been arrested on a prostitution charge, said
former Memphis Police Officer Bridges McRae beat her after making derogatory
remarks about her sexuality. Johnson said another man, Officer J. Swain,
held her down during the beating. Both officers were fired from the
department.

Johnson was suing the city for $1.3 million.

C 2008 Newport Television LLC

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As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer
people, Affirmation radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming
gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church
as we journey with the Spirit in creating God's beloved community.

Affirmation is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with
no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

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