Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill Story ‘Exporting Homophobia’ Wins Journalism Award

Boise Weekly Deanna Darr Jody May-Chang Rachael Daigle Idaho Press Club Awards Banquet

(left to right) Boise Weekly Features Editor Deanna Darr, yours truly, Boise Weekly Editor-in-Chief Rachael Daigle at the Idaho Press Club awards Sat. April 7, 2011.

My first feature published in the Boise Weekly Sept. 10, 2010, Exporting Homophobia: American far-right conservative churches establish influence on anti-gay policy in Africa won a 2nd place award at the Idaho Press Club’s Best of 2010 banquet category:
Weekly Print Media Watchdog / Investigative Report. Having received such praise from other journalists is very humbling.

Thank you Idaho Press Club and most especially to Rachael Daigle, Deanna Darr and Nathanial Hoffman for believing in my work and providing the opportunity to write for such a great publication!

To start a completely new career at this time in life is a rather scary venture and I am extremely grateful to have such great readers and supporters. I could not have been more blessed to be encouraged, mentored, and at times kicked in the ass, by two of my very special and dearest of friends, John Redding, himself a very talented media professional and my BFF Melinda Moreno.

Nothing could make this a more perfect time than to also be enjoying Mother’s day with our amazing son Cody, and at the same time to be celebrating my 14th wedding anniversary with the love of my life Maria, who has not only loved and supported me unconditionally for more than 15 years, but with whom I cannot imagine a better life.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom, this one is for you!

National Media Watchdog Mag Publishes May-Chang’s

The May 2011 issue of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR’s) magazine Extra! is now hitting newsstands and includes Idahomophobia; In a conservative media market, anti-LGBT bias still thrives. Idaho independent journalist, Jody May-Chang, explores the most extreme stories where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been misrepresented, vilified and dehumanized by Idaho media.

May-Chang writes:

“Idaho coverage suffers from a lack of diverse sources, unchallenged arguments, sensationalized and even contrived stories that perpetuate LGBT stereotypes and misinform the public. LGBT issues here are generally undercovered, and outspoken homophobes have been given prominent platforms in local media (see The Fischer Files, But perhaps the most egregious reporting comes when presumed criminality is involved.”

Jody May-Chang Idahomophobia FAIR Extra! May 2011Extra! accepts NO outside advertising–so your support is vital to continuing FAIR’s work of presenting well-documented media criticism.Get a your subscription HERE!

The May 2011 issue will not be fully available online until August 2011. Order your copy HERE! Just $4.95 and includes shipping.

FAIR is a progressive national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. Working to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press, FAIR scrutinizes media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints, exposes neglected news stories and defends working journalists when they are muzzled.

Hear Me! My Name is Catherine!
Legally a Woman, Jailed Among Men

On The Record with Catherine Carlson

Catherine Carlson in Payette Country JailA small and fragile transgender woman sits behind bars in solitary in a men’s section of an Idaho county jail for crimes sparked by years of mental and emotional torture brought on my a malicious parent, cruel state actions, and a savage legal system that refuses to recognize the most personal part of an individual’s identity, gender.

Meet Catherine Carlson, a 56-year-old, on her way to prison after years of what she describes as being terrorized by her family, the State of Idaho and the police.

Read her story and listen to Catherine’s emotional courtroom testimony and exclusive jailhouse interviews of why she says she finally came to the end of her rope and snapped.

On July 11, 2010 she set fire to her home and truck and was later arrested walking down the highway naked.

Convicted of first-degree arson, possession of a hoax destructive devise and indecent exposure, Catherine is facing up to 40 years in prison.

In this compelling and heart-wrenching story about one woman’s quest for simple respect and human dignity, Catherine talks exclusively to investigative journalist, Jody May-Chang from the Payette Country Jail as she awaits sentencing.

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Earlier Reporting On This Story:

Kristina Ross Guilty on Battery Charges

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on Apr. 21, 2011

Kristina RossToday Kristina Ross, the woman arrested for practicing medicine without a license after allegedly offering breast exams in two area bars, was sentenced to 360 days in jail with 157 days deducted for time served.

Ross will serve out the balance of 203 days in county jail followed by two years of unsupervised probation. Ross also must abide by two no contact orders with the victims and pay a $1,000 fine, as well as pay court costs and an additional $700 for the reimbursement of the psycho-sexual evaluation she underwent as a part of the plea to reduce the charges from felony practicing medicine without a license to two misdemeanor charges of battery.

Judge John Hawley called Ross a con and said that although the case was presented in the media as titillating and, some thought, humorous, there was nothing funny about the humiliation the victims were made to feel by Ross’ actions.

After a psycho-sexual evaluation, the judge said the therapist who evaluated Ross concluded that her transgender status was not a factor in her crime. However she was found to be bi-polar with a borderline personality disorder and likely to re-offend.

Carlson Talks After Guilt Verdict

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on Apr. 18, 2011

After being found guilty of first degree arson, possessing a hoax destructive device and indecent exposure on April 14, Citydesk talked to Catherine Carlson about her conviction.

“Well I expected it, and I didn’t expect it, and it blew my mind … I [am going] to prison because I couldn’t transfer that title of that trailer into my name because I refuse to register as transgender,” said Carlson.

The 56-year-old Payette woman has a long history of physical and psychological abuse, and has had numerous encounters with the courts and law enforcement over the years.

July 11, 2010, Carlson torched the trailer where she lived, placed four fake pipe bombs on her doorstep and put a note on her front door that read, “No one inside, booby trapped, it’s not worth your life, keep out.” She then headed to a storage facility where she set her truck on fire. Carlson was arrested shortly afterward, while walking naked down Highway 95 in Payette. Continue reading

Catherine Carlson Found Guilty On All Charges

It took the jury of five women and seven men one hour to come to a verdict, finding 56 year-old Catherine Carlson guilty of first degree arson, possessing a hoax destructive device and indecent exposure.

After the verdict Carlson’s attorney Phillip Heersink said that although he “was not overly surprised” he was still “disappointed” by the decision.

Against Heersink’s advice, Carlson took the stand as the only witness for the defense. Extremely thin and gaunt, the weathered looking Carlson began her testimony restrained and respectful. She responded to her attorney’s questions regarding the events leading up to her July 11, 2010 arrest.

During cross-examination Payette Country prosecutor Anne Marie Kelso’s, line of questioning agitated Carlson. It got particularly emotional during the following exchange between Carlson and Kelso. Continue reading

Catherine Carlson’s day in court
Advocates suggest a hospital is more appropriate than prison

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
NEWS FEATURE: Originally published on Apr. 6, 2011

Catherine Carlson, Boise Weekly, Transgender, Prison, IdahoCatherine Carlson knows that when she steps into the Payette County courtroom on Tuesday, April 12, she faces the possibility of spending the rest of her days in prison. She also knows that she is her only defense witness. But she wants her day in court.

Carlson, a 53-year-old transsexual woman, is charged with three felonies: first-degree arson, unlawful possession of a bomb or destructive device, and usage of a hoax destructive device. She is also facing a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure. All told, she faces up to 35 years behind bars and a $120,000 fine.

On the morning of July 11, 2010, firefighters responded to a report of a blaze in a Payette trailer park. Tension quickly mounted when authorities discovered alleged pipe bombs rigged to a propane tank on the front porch of one of the trailers. Attached was a note warning that the home was booby-trapped. Law enforcement evacuated the area while bomb technicians defused the device.

Within an hour, firefighters received another call, this time for a car that had been set ablaze near a storage unit north of Payette. Emergency dispatchers received a third call shortly thereafter. Drivers on U.S. Highway 95 near Payette said they had seen a naked woman running down the highway. It was Carlson. Police said she owned the vehicle and the trailer home. Continue reading