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Richmond, Virginia City Council is voting TOMORROW 1/11/21 on forcing women’s homeless shelters to accept males- please call and email! Let's fill up their voice mailboxes TODAY and follow up again TOMORROW.

In Richmond, Virginia, the mayor and a councilwoman have introduced a resolution to force taxpayer-funded women’s homeless shelters to be ‘inclusive’ of males, or face a 50k - 100k fine. A penalty this large could result in women's shelters being shut down permanently.

The city council is voting on this resolution TOMORROW EVENING. Please call and email your council people and the mayor.

The first link is a news article on it, the second is the legislative detail, and the third is the page of council members.

Links

News Article

Legislative Text

Find your local council member's contact info here

[Richmond, Virginia City Council is voting TOMORROW 1/11/21 on forcing women’s homeless shelters to accept males](https://vadogwood.com/2021/01/08/transgender-homeless-people-struggle-to-find-shelter-in-richmond-this-bill-would-help/)- please call and email! Let's fill up their voice mailboxes TODAY and follow up again TOMORROW. In Richmond, Virginia, the mayor and a councilwoman have introduced a resolution to force taxpayer-funded women’s homeless shelters to be ‘inclusive’ of males, or face a 50k - 100k fine. A penalty this large could result in women's shelters being shut down permanently. The city council is voting on this resolution TOMORROW EVENING. Please call and email your council people and the mayor. The first link is a news article on it, the second is the legislative detail, and the third is the page of council members. # Links [News Article](https://vadogwood.com/2021/01/08/transgender-homeless-people-struggle-to-find-shelter-in-richmond-this-bill-would-help/) [Legislative Text] (https://richmondva.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4734650&GUID=AA5E190B-77D0-4D45-8CE0-4688891F4E6F&Options&Search&FullText=1&fbclid=IwAR0H4tmW0zDx0JHT5p5-UrvR2A6GdBVzco100DG7vV9iMoLlLZ2VDgXSg7o) [Find your local council member's contact info here] (http://www.richmondgov.com/CityCouncil/contacts.aspx)

79 comments

I don't understand why they don't just open an LGBT shelter. It's easier to leech off existing infrastructure created by women, for women.

[–] pennygadget 37 points (+37|-0)

Because opening a new shelter would require work. And TRAs aren't equipped for that.

Like you said, they prefer to steal what women worked hard to create

[–] sarahsmile 25 points (+25|-0)

They need affirmation and will stand for nothing less than unfettered access to women's spaces.

[–] stern-as-steel 11 points (+11|-0)

A T shelter, you mean...the issue is that wouldn’t validate their womanly feelings...

[–] JLeGuin 35 points (+35|-0)

Ok I drafted this, and sent it to the following people - <Summer.Morris@richmondgov.com>, <Stephanie.Lynch@richmondgov.com>, <Katherin.Jordan@richmondgov.com>, <Cynthia.Newbille@Richmondgov.com>, <Reva.Trammell@Richmondgov.com>, <Ellen.Robertson@Richmondgov.com>, <kristen.larson@richmondgov.com>, <andreas.addison@richmondgov.com>, <kimberly.gray@richmondgov.com>, <Chris.Hilbert@Richmondgov.com>

That's the email address to people on the council -

Honorable Richmond City Council members, I appreciate the work you are doing to help the marginalized and vulnerable - but I'm not certain how Res 2020-R072 protects the vulnerable female women who seek the services of Richmond's homeless shelters? It's confusing, you don't seem to support sex segregated spaces but don't elaborate why? Why aren't you fighting for third spaces or trans-care specific spaces within these shelters?

Richmond's homeless shelters often serve everyone, and no trans person has been denied service - but female women deserve a safe place overnight.

The shelters' duty is to protect the vulnerable women it serves.

Virtually all the women Richmond's shelters service have suffered rape, physical abuse, and domestic violence, often at the hands of the opposite sex.  While I understand many trans women have experienced these things, that doesn't mean it's fair to women to house them together.

These women should not be forced to sleep or disrobe in the same room as a males.

The government should not attack the way that lead these vital charities serve battered women in need, that vulnerable women need sex segregated spaces.  I can imagine there are more creative solutions that respect the rights and agencies of women.

Across the United states and Canada there are reports that many women are feeling unsafe in shelters, having to share space with males, many aggressive, often not respecting rules around intoxication, and the shelter employees being unable to do anything - these women feel forced to be spend nights on the street, in the cold, unable to take sex segregated shelter or risk being in an abusive home situation.

When this came to head in Alaska, many women made clear they would literally sleep in the cold woods than be forced to stay with people of the opposite sex. See Downtown Hope Center v. Municipality of Anchorage, et al. for more details.

I can't believe that the Richmond city council can't think of something more humane as a creative solution for all these vulnerable women, because this bill is not that.    Thank you, Josephine LG The West End

[–] stern-as-steel 13 points (+13|-0)

There's also the liaisons for each council member, as well as the governor's office (last on the list).

<daniel.wagner@richmondgov.com>, <craig.bieber@richmondgov.com>, <Lisa.Townes@Richmondgov.com>, <aaron.bond@richmondgov.com>, <amy.robins@richmondgov.com>, <tavares.floyd@richmondgov.com>, <Sam.Patterson@Richmondgov.com>, <richard.bishop@richmondgov.com>, <Summer.Morris@richmondgov.com>, <RVAMayor@richmondgov.com>

[–] Verdandi 1 points (+1|-0) Edited

Honestly, I personally enjoy your letter and appreciate the time you took to write it, but in my experience with the interns reading these letters... this letter is simply too long and takes too long to say whether you support or oppose the issue.

They don't actually read the entire letter at all. They skim the first paragraph looking for patterns and words that match. You need to clearly state in the first sentence that you OPPOSE this move and then very briefly and very concisely state why.

I know this is too late, but I want to advise the women here on the most effective way to actually get the message spread. Letter writing is really cathartic and I've noticed the letters I see here tend to be a bit... rambly, more akin to blog posts or journal entries. You just cannot use the Socratic method in a long letter, it won't get read fully and becomes a mental exercise for the letter reader instead of a clear message about whether you support or oppose.

[–] JLeGuin 0 points (+0|-0)

I believe that - it's hard to balance "You shouldn't do this," with facts / info. Thankfully I didn't put a lot of effort into this :p

[–] TerfSedai 32 points (+32|-0) Edited

How do you reasonably counteract these measures when the news stories are written like the one above? You have to really read between the lines to understand that homeless TIMs who don't want to enter shelters with men are going to be placed in shelters with women.

Obviously no one should be homeless or forced to experience needless suffering, but it's very hard to argue against this sort of rhetoric when the alternative position of "why are women always expected to give up their safe spaces?"* isn't given any air whatsoever in the news coverage of this situation.

*We all know the answer to that one.

[–] JLeGuin 31 points (+31|-0)

Ugh the article was awful "“She’d tried to use the shelters twice,” said Harrison. “But both times she was told she’d have to sleep in the quarters with the men. And both those times she was told to stay in the men’s quarter, she slept on the street.

Eventually, Harrison ended up checking her into a hotel room."

REwrote

"While the shelters offered him service and support, he rejected them because he wouldn't be allowed to stay with the vulnerable women, most of whom had experienced assault and violence at the hands of men. So he decided to check into a hotel room."

[–] Gini 8 points (+8|-0)

I'm confused if he was able to get a hotel room what was he doing at a women's shelter in the first place

[–] Kevina 30 points (+30|-0) Edited

I remember there being some Tim who bragged/tweeted about walking around the womens homeless shelter with his dick out, I think he even took pics. Wait, found it...

https://www.womenarehuman.com/male-transgender-boasts-of-harassing-women-in-crisis-shelter/

Then there's this

https://abc30.com/homeless-women-harassed-in-shower-lawsuit-says/3514544/

Send them these articles.

[–] Srfthrowaway 11 points (+11|-0)

That's what they really mean when they say they want validation.

[–] pennygadget 21 points (+21|-0)

If they put half as much effort into establishing LGBT shelters as they do pestering women's shelters, they could provide housing for everyone!

IMO, a better solution would be to offer extra incentives to men's & women's shelters willing to make accommodations for trans people. That way, female-only shelters could stay the way they are. And shelters willing to take on trans people could make the changes they need to keep them safe.

....but my solution doesn't punish women for having boundaries. So it would never fly

[–] bornwithovaries 10 points (+10|-0) Edited

An even better yet solution would be to just house homeless people.

It worked, though not perfectly, in Utah.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2020/05/11/utah-was-once-lauded/

Thing is, too, that federal law allows you to be discriminatory when choosing a roommate or housemate, the one exception to civil rights law on housing. A smart lawyer should start pointing this out in cases having to do with men in women's homeless shelters. The women live there, right? Then they should have a say over whether men are there. Even a fucking hotel wouldn't force two people to share a room who didn't want to.

[–] Verdandi 0 points (+0|-0)

The biggest obstacle we have is people who INSIST that homeless people are homeless by choice. Not like "oh poor people deserve to be homeless" but people like my dad maintain a large portion of homeless men are drifters who enjoy drifting and would refuse to live in a house if you gave them one (which I don't believe for a second). Or he says they're too mentally ill to continue to waste funds on because they'll refuse treatment and lose the house anyway (I guess he assumes they'll be paying a mortgage??)

[–] Elegantissima 0 points (+0|-0)

I used to live in downtown San Francisco, which is full of homeless people.

Women do not usually choose to be homeless because it's fucking dangerous to sleep on the street.

Men, however, often do choose to be homeless because panhandling is easier and more lucrative than working for minimum wage, and also they can make it fucking dangerous for women to sleep on the street.

This is literally why women have shelters.

[–] Hermione 16 points (+16|-0)

Gah, this is infuriating. I’ve found documents (government ones explaining why it’s good to include trans women) keep saying there is no evidence or research saying that violence against women go up when trans women are allowed in, nor evidence that cis men will feign being trans to gain access to their victims, etc.,

It is so misleading because there isn’t any significant research on it at all!!!

Further, thanks to criminals being able to be recorded by their “gender identity” rather than sex in places like the UK and Canada they have made the data impossible to extrapolate.

And don’t tell me that’s not by design. There’s a reason they don’t want that data or those studies done.

[–] Zuritza 16 points (+16|-0)

Contact as many news organizations as you can. Even those you don’t necessarily align with. They are doing this now while everyone is focused on what happened in DC

[–] Ruby [OP] 12 points (+12|-0)

Exactly. They should be ashamed to pass such anti women legislation when eyes are elsewhere.

[–] Verdandi 1 points (+1|-0)

I agree it's a shame, but I don't think this is deliberate. Liberals didn't take this riot seriously enough and I think the scheduling was a coincidence.

[–] Lilypad9999 13 points (+13|-0)

I emailed them this comment. Thank you to those who posted the email addresses!!!

Honorable City Council Members,

It is my understanding that you are going to vote on whether to allow biological men into women's shelters, RES 2020-R072. I encourage you to vote against this measure. I implore you to consider, why are biological men allowed to say that they do not feel safe around other men (such as transgender men stating that they do not feel safe in men's shelters), but women are considered bigots for voicing the same complaints? What has happened in our society where the primary focus of a women's refuge is to protect the biological men in them?

Any biological woman understands that it is not just the very real threat of rape or sexual assault that is so feared by the eradication of single-sex spaces. Women are routinely traumatized by verbal harassment, intimidation, eye contact in specific situations, staring behaviors, language uttered in a certain tone of voice, etc. Any woman knows what I'm talking about.

The female residents at Naomi House in Fresno, California know this too well, as they have filed a lawsuit against the shelter due to a transgender biological man who sexually harassed them while they were forced to shower naked with him. From the article, I beg you to look at one sentence:

"Karen Adell Scot, a local transgender advocate, even offered to train Naomi's House employees on how to recognize people just pretending to identify as the opposite gender."

This is a transgender advocate acknowledging and offering a training on how to identify people of the opposite sex pretending to be transgender to gain access to vulnerable women. It is so common, and so well understood, that sexual predators could abuse this type of legislation to gain access into women's refuges, that there are trainings on it.

And yet, following the passage of your legislation, what if a staff member determines that a biological man is just "pretending" (as Karen Adell Scot, Fresno transgender advocate states) to identify as the opposite sex - if this biological man is turned away and submits a complaint of discrimination, will the women's shelter still be fined $50,000 and most likely bankrupted? Will they become mired in investigations and legal proceedings? Or will a dynamic be created whereby the women's shelter is pressured or coerced to allow knowingly dangerous men to be admitted and remain in its residence for fear of being bankrupted? If a biological man in a women's shelter starts to harass or intimidate women, will the shelter now be forced to look the other way for fear of being in violation of this legislation?
https://abc30.com/homeless-women-harassed-in-shower-lawsuit-says/3514544/

Here is another article written by a staff member who worked in a women's shelter where biological men claiming to be transgender were allowed. She wrote that the biological men proceeded to stalk, leer, stare, follow, sexually harass and intimidate female residents. Men would wait until they were alone with a woman in the bathroom and then they would ask for a blowjob. Men would watch pornography on their phone with women around and masturbate. On three occasions, men threatened to kill female residents with guns. https://www.feministcurrent.com/2020/09/13/protecting-men-at-the-womens-shelter/

They say this never happens, and yet here is Tyler Porter, a self-identified transgender man who boasted online and posted pictures about getting erections in a women's shelter. He detailed on twitter about how he harassed the women, and posted a picture of himself naked with an erection in the communal women's bathroom. https://www.womenarehuman.com/male-transgender-boasts-of-harassing-women-in-crisis-shelter/

I encourage you to consider creating shelters that are specific to transgender needs, or creating transgender-specific floors or dorms within existing male homeless shelters. There are alternate options. Transgender men deserve safety as well, but this should not be at the expense of the most vulnerable women of your community. There are ways to keep everyone safe. Thank you for considering this message.

[–] stern-as-steel 13 points (+13|-0)

My name is [name] and I live in [place/address/zip code]. I’m calling today to urge you to please vote against Resolution 2020-R072 tomorrow.

This resolution would force female-only homeless shelters to accept males, which would be a danger to the vulnerable women and children who depend on the shelters. The massive 50k to 100k fines could also shut a shelter down permanently.

The reason that female-only homeless shelters exist is because homeless women are very vulnerable to coercion, abuse, assault, and rape by homeless males. They are often unsafe in mixed-sex homeless shelters. Most homeless women also have a history of mental illness and sexual trauma. Forcing these vulnerable women to share space with males in a space that is meant to be safe violates their human rights by putting them at risk of being retraumatized and of being assaulted.

Protections for transgender-identifying males should exist in the form of either third shelters, or guidelines teaching male shelters to have protections for nonconforming people. Resolution 2020-R072, however, is an infringement on the rights, privacy, and safety of women and girls. Please vote no on it tomorrow. Thank you.

(This is about a minute and a half long, so you shouldn't get cut off in a standard answering machine).

[–] Verdandi 0 points (+0|-0)

This is fantastic! It gets to the point in the very first line, which is almost always the ONLY thing the intern is going to read.

[–] Hermione 10 points (+10|-0)

Here’s a 2006 study that looks at the dangers homeless women face in general and why the need is so high. Note; this would have been before the financial meltdown, and of course before COVID-19 and all the homelessness that’s about to bring for women, so $50k fines is just evil.

https://vawnet.org/material/no-safe-place-sexual-assault-lives-homeless-women

Also, did someone link that lawsuit from a woman who was sexually assaulted while in care because of the inclusive policies?

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