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The latest on the impeachment inquiry, another attack against a transgender woman in Dallas, and a Q&A with a “Project Runway” winner.
Today’s featured news
Meghan Markle makes gender-based violence a focus of her South Africa trip
According to the Associated Press, more than 100 rapes are reported every day in South Africa, and President Cyril Ramaphosa calls the country “one of the most unsafe places to be a woman.” The recent murders of three young women, including the rape and murder of 19-year-old University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana, has set off protests in the country. Meghan secretly visited a memorial for Mrwetyana last week. A post from the official Sussex Royal account said that Meghan and Harry had been following the story, and that Meghan tied a ribbon at the site of the murder “to pay her respects and to show solidarity with those who have taken a stand against gender based violence and femicide.”
Washington has been in political turmoil since Tuesday, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump. That came after it was revealed that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president and potential 2020 campaign rival Joe Biden. Trump has responded by casting himself as a victim in what he has repeatedly called a “witch hunt.”
Pelosi, who staved off calls for impeachment until Trump released a transcript of his call with Zelensky, has reportedly turned to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.) to lead the inquiry. On Sunday, Schiff said his committee had reached an agreement with the anonymous whistleblower who first brought attention to the conversation between Trump and Zelensky, and that the whistleblower would testify privately “very soon.”
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has recently renewed investigations into the email records of current and former State Department officials who sent messages to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email, according to current and former officials.
On Wednesday, the Dallas Police Department arrested 29-year-old Domingo Ramirez-Cavente after he admitted to shouting slurs at and shooting a Latina transgender woman, leaving her in critical condition. The attack was just the latest in a string of violence against the trans community in Dallas, including the murders of two black trans women over the summer.
Experts have some ideas as to why Dallas has become a “hot spot” of violence, including the state’s lack of legal protections for transgender people and its relatively lenient gun laws. But activists say that the problem mostly lies in the fact that transgender women of color face multiple forms of discrimination, including transphobia, misogyny and racism.
Stacey Monroe, a Latinx transgender activist in Dallas, says that the issue needs immediate attention. “I understand being an open and visible trans woman, especially a trans woman of color, may put me at risk of being killed, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Monroe said.
Andrea Goldstein, a reserve Navy intelligence officer and a lead staff member for the Women Veterans Task Force on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, told the New York Times that she was assaulted earlier this month at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Goldstein said she was waiting in the cafe when a male patron “body slammed her below the waist and told her that ‘you look like you could use a good time,’” according to the Times. Goldstein said she was carrying in her purse the draft of a bill that aims to curb sexual assault and harassment. The incident illustrates a problem facing female veterans at VA hospitals: While many praise the care they receive, some say they deal with harassment or assault by male veterans within the centers.
Sandra Muller, who helped launch France’s #MeToo movement by accusing media executive Eric Brion of making lewd and sexist remarks, was found guilty of defaming Brion. Muller, a French journalist, detailed the allegations on Twitter using the hashtag #balancetonporc (“squeal on your pig”) in October 2017. The court ordered her to pay 15,000 euros in damages to the executive as well as publish statements issued by the court on her Twitter account and in two press outlets. Muller has vowed to appeal the sentencing.
She called the verdict a “backwards step” and said women must “continue the fight,” the Guardian reported.
Five need-to-know stories in 100 words or less
1. Mattel launched its first line of what it calls “gender-inclusive dolls.” The figures are not coded as stereotypically male or female and come in different skin tones. The announcement was cheered by many, including by Allison Hope Kahn, who wrote about the dolls in a perspective piece for The Lily.
2. The murder trial of Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer charged with killing 26-year-old Botham Jean while she was off duty, continues today. On Friday, Guyger delivered testimony in which she said she believed she entered her own home and thought the man was going to kill her.
3. According to ancient Bangladeshi wedding tradition, a groom and his relatives are to go to the house of his bride, where the marriage and celebrations take place. But in an act of defiance, 19-year-old Khadiza Akter Khushi recently led hundreds of people to her fiancé’s home, setting off controversy. The couple was supported by family and friends, and took a stand for gender rights in a way many Bangladeshi women cannot.
4. Chanel Miller, whose sexual assault case against Brock Turner gripped the country in 2016, released her memoir, “Know My Name,” last week. Here are nine takeaways from the book.
5. The Trump administration declared there is no “international right to abortion” at a United Nations meeting, prompting alarm from other countries and women’s rights groups. The United States also called on other countries to eliminate what it called “ambiguous” language — terms such as sexual and reproductive health — from U.N. documents.
A quotable moment
In the latest issue of Harvard Business Review, Melinda Gates laid out a plan for gaining true equality for women. “I believe our goal should be to expand women’s power and influence in society,” she wrote. That will require many things, Gates said, but “strategic capital and stakeholder collaboration” in particular. Her three-pronged approach for achieving measurable results by 2030 includes dismantling barriers such as disproportionate caregiving; fast-tracking women to advance in a variety of industries; and amplifying external pressure on shareholders, consumers and employees.
This week, we hear from Ashley Nell Tipton
When Ashley Nell Tipton won Season 14 of “Project Runway” in 2015, she became the first plus-size designer to win the show. Now, she’s debuting a made-to-measure collection with Balodana, which she says is inspired by that final “Project Runway” collection. This is the first time Tipton will be creating clothing for the general public — and for all sizes. If you’re interested in seeing which styles will launch first, you can sign up here to be notified.
On the body-positive movement: “I am happy with the progress that is being made. … There is a lot of hurt, pain and hate out there. When I won ‘Project Runway,’ I didn’t realize I would also be a voice of a much-needed movement.”
What may surprise viewers about the “Project Runway” process: “That it is more of a life competition than design competition. All of those issues we face in our personal lives come up during the show, including animosity, envy, fat-shaming and back-stabbing.”
What inspires her style: “I get my true inspiration from looking for something new and exciting. You have to realize that as a ‘fat’ girl, I spent my life compromising what I really wanted because it didn’t exist. I got into this business to put an end to that concept.”
Things we love but weren’t paid to promote
I recently moved into my own place. I didn’t bring a lot of kitchen gadgets, so I’ve been slowly working on intentionally building up my cooking arsenal. My friend heard me complain about not having a microwave. A couple days later, this steamer basket arrived on my doorstep. So sweet of her, and the steamer is beyond useful. I can’t believe I’ve never used one before. Did you know you can also warm up meat in it? Game changer.
—Rachel Orr, By The Way design editor
[bye-koo] Saying goodbye with a haiku
Listen to everything we’ve recommended here.
A quick, curated list of Team Lily’s go-to content this week