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Posted by Melinda Tori on January 24, 2018 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)
Hello! It's been kinda 2 years since I checked this webpage and I can say that we're working on making it be more active than before. Like we stated, this page was first created in memory of Brandon Teena, but now we want to turn it into a place for people to feel welcome and supported. Brandon, Gwen and Matthew he will continue to be remembered, as well as those who suffered and lost their loves for simply being who they are in a society where people don't understand at the fullest yet,but we also want to provide some type of help and explanation for those seeking it.

Brandon Teena's Mother Sues Sheriff. L I N C O L N, Neb., Jan. 13 By Kevin O'Hanlon

Posted by DRIESA on May 26, 2014 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (1)

A sheriff should have done more to protect a transgender woman who was raped and later murdered, a lawyer for her family told the state's highest court.


In the case that inspired the movie Boys Don't Cry, attorney Herb Friedman said Friday that former Sheriff Charles Laux was more concerned with Teena Brandon's sexuality than with keeping her safe.


"He knew these people were brutal," Friedman said in state Supreme Court, comparing his inaction to throwing a puppy to the wolves.


Brandon, 21, posed as a young man and called herself Brandon Teena. He was killed in 1993 by two men who wanted to silence her for reporting that they raped her after learning her true gender.


The men also killed two other people who witnessed Brandon's death.


- Mother Sues Sheriff.


Brandon's mother, Joann Brandon, sued Laux for not offering Brandon protective custody when he reported the rape and the men's death threats.


A county district judge in 1999 found the county partially at fault for the death and ordered the county to pay $17,360.


Brandon's mother had sought more than $350,000 and is appealing the damage amount.


Friedman said the sheriff showed indifference to the rape allegation by referring to Brandon as "it" and not immediately arresting the men she accused, John Lotter and Marvin Nissen.


According to court records, Laux's interrogation included questions like "Do you run around … with a sock in your pants to make you look like a boy?" and "The girls that don't know about you … do you kiss them?"


Richard Boucher, representing the county, said Laux was trying to establish Brandon's credibility.


Necessary Questions?


"Sheriff Laux advised Ms. Brandon that … some of the questions would be rude, but the county attorney would need them if we went to trial," Boucher said.


He also said the sheriff was trying to determine if Brandon, who knew Lotter and Nissen, had agreed to have sex with them. That explanation appeared to anger some of the justices.


"What evidence was there that there was any type of consensual sexual activity?" Judge John Gerrard asked. Judge Michael McCormack said: "He's looking at more than a rape — he's looking at a threat to kill."


Lotter received three death sentences for the killings and is awaiting execution. Nissen, in a deal with prosecutors, testified against Lotter and was sentenced to life in prison.


Thirty-one gay and civil rights groups have filed briefs in the case.


"The civil rights community across the country has come together to emphasize how important the decision in this case will be," said David Buckel, an attorney for the New York-based Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. "This case has to do with what kind of deterrent we will have to hate crime in the state of Nebraska."


Boys Don't Cry earned Hilary Swank an Academy Award for best actress for her portrayal of Brandon. Chloe Sevigny received a best supporting actress nomination for playing Lana Tisdel, Brandon's girlfriend. The slaying also was the subject of a 1998 documentary, The Brandon Teena Story.

(Admin - Driesa)

20 years after 'Boys Don't Cry' murders, transgender violence still happens

Posted by DRIESA on April 17, 2014 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

December 29, 2013

Twenty years have passed since two Falls City men murdered Brandon Teena, Lisa Lambert and Philip DeVine in a shabby farmhouse on the outskirts of Humboldt.


Brandon Teena — who dated women and whose Nebraska-issued ID was marked male — was born a daughter and a sister on Dec. 12, 1972, in Lincoln and named Teena Renae Brandon.


Brandon Teena's death at the hands of two men furious after they learned the guy they'd been hanging out with was born a woman gripped Nebraska and the nation, inspiring an Academy Award-winning film, a documentary, a true crime novel and countless news articles and broadcasts.


But Brandon Teena's story is far from unique.


For many Americans, Brandon Teena's death was their first introduction to transgender issues, and 20 years later, we still see alarmingly high rates of violence directed toward transgender people,” said Michael Silverman, executive director of the New York-based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.


In terms of public understanding, transgender rights lag about 20 years behind the mainstream gay and lesbian movement, he said during a recent interview.


Most Americans know someone who is gay or at least have an understanding of what it means to be gay, but few know a person who is openly transgender.


That makes a huge difference in the public’s understanding of what it means to be transgender. We end up seeing that reflected in much higher rates of discrimination for transgender people,” Silverman said.


The dictionary definition of transgender is this: of, relating to, or being a person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person's sex at birth.


A recent survey of 6,450 transgender and gender non-conforming people found that 63 percent had experienced serious acts such as the loss of a job, eviction, school bullying so severe the respondent had to drop out, sexual assault or denial of medical treatment, according to a report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality.


The Trans Murder Monitoring Project recorded 1,123 homicides of trans people worldwide from 2008-12, including 69 in the United States. The actual numbers likely are higher, because many hate crimes related to sexual identity are not labeled as such and it's impossible to estimate the number of unreported cases.


While the details of Brandon Teena's story have begun to fade from the public consciousness, his struggles and death continue to resonate as individuals, communities and governments struggle to understand and address issues of sexuality and gender, said Pat Tetreault, director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's LGBTQA+ Resource Center.


Once, women wearing pants and working outside the home were an affront to gender roles. Now same-sex couples soon will be able to marry in 16 states, and opinion polls have shown a majority of Americans support it, something that would be almost inconceivable two decades ago.


Still, many people find the issue of gender identity to be foreign.


We're a very gendered society," said Tetreault. "People like for people to conform to what they see as the two primary genders. But that is actually a very limited view of gender.”


And many transgendered people are happy and healthy, she said.

                                                            *           *           *


Ryan Sallans, a 30-year-old man who grew up as a girl in Aurora, began exploring his sexuality in 2004, and with the aid of therapy, hormone treatments and surgery, reshaped his body.


“I was never a woman. My gender identity was male. My biological sex was female," Sallans said. "You can change the body, but you cannot change the brain. So I chose to align my body with my brain. And it would be impossible for me to live any other way.


“When I decided to transition, I told my parents in a letter, 'You can either have a happy kid or a dead kid.' Because I couldn’t go on any longer not living as my authentic self and having people validate who I was.”


Sallans learned about Brandon Teena the same way most Americans did, through the independent film, "Boys Don't Cry," which earned actress Hilary Swank a best-actress Oscar for her portrayal of Teena. Sallans went on to watch the more factual documentary, "The Brandon Teena Story."


While shocked and saddened, Sallans didn't let fear stop him from telling his story. If anything, it inspired him to be more open. He put his experience into a book, "Second Son," and tours the country talking about transgender issues.


I recognized that when I was open and I shared my story, it helped change people’s minds or break down the misconceptions around being transgender,” he said. “Me being out is a core part of my work. That doesn’t mean I don’t get scared sometimes.


Sallans said his parents initially struggled to accept his decision, and while they still don't understand it, they are proud of him, and use his chosen name and pronoun.


That's something Brandon Teena's family was unable to do in the aftermath of the murders. Brandon Teena's grave marker reads “Daughter, Sister & Friend.”


His father, Patrick Brandon, died in an alcohol-related crash while JoAnn Brandon was pregnant with Brandon Teena, her second child.


Both children were molested as kids by an uncle. JoAnn didn't find out until later, and it was not reported to police.


As a teenager, Brandon Teena experimented with sexuality, became a ladies' man.


He knew what women liked, swept them off their feet with flowers, gifts and romantic letters. But the women soon learned their admirer had stolen from them and forged checks to pay for the gifts.


Brandon Teena's mom: 'We've come a long way'

Posted by DRIESA on April 17, 2014 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (0)

JoAnn Brandon still gets the occasional calls from strangers.


They apologize for the heartache she suffered since two men raped and murdered her youngest child 20 years ago.


I tell them thank you. I appreciate their thoughts and prayers,” she said Thursday as she sat on her sofa and smoked a cigarette."


Mrs.Brandon, a thin woman who has a shuffling walk and doesn't work because she is disabled, still misses her little girl. She daydreams about where life would have taken Teena Brandon, who preferred to be called Brandon Teena.


I wonder about how my life would be different if she was still here with me. She would be such a joy to have around. She was always such a happy kid. I imagine her being a happy adult,” Mrs. Brandon said.


If being happy meant Teena living as a man, that would be fine, she said.


Mrs. Brandon also thinks about John Lotter and Tom Nissen, the men who had befriended Brandon Teena and were enraged when they learned the person they believed to be a man was housed in the women's section of the Richardson County Jail after being arrested for forgery.


The holidays are particularly hard for JoAnn Brandon.


It was Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1993 that Nissen and Lotter humiliated, raped and beat  Brandon Teena.


Brandon Teena went to the police, and Nissen and Lotter tracked him to an old farmhouse just outside Humboldt. There, they shot and killed Teena and two witnesses, Lisa Lambert and Philip DeVine.


It was New Year's Day when Lambert's mother found their bodies and Lambert's 8-month-old son screaming in his crib.


Lotter was later sentenced to death and Nissen to life in prison.


Mrs. Brandon is still waiting for Lotter to be executed and believes Nissen should be, too. Execution of Nebraska's death penalty has been on hold because the state can't get a supply of the sodium thiopental it needs to carry out a lethal injection.


Mrs. Brandon moved from Lincoln about a decade ago to an eastern Nebraska town to be closer to the family of her remaining daughter, Tammy. She comes to Lincoln at least once a year to visit Brandon Teena's grave.


Mrs. Brandon lives a couple of blocks off the town's main drag in a white duplex decorated with photos of her children and grandchildren. A framed photo of  Brandon Teena as a high school senior, smiling and feminine, hangs on the wall above the television. Just below it, another sits on the entertainment center displaying a professional photo of Brandon Teena as a man with short hair and a collared shirt.


While she isn't a fan of "Boys Don't Cry," a movie based on Teena's life, Brandon is happy the story has helped increase awareness of transgender issues.


It gave them (gay and transgender advocates) a platform to voice their opinions, and I'm glad of that. There were a lot of people who didn't understand what it was she (Teena) was going through,”  Mrs. Brandon said.


We've come a long way since then.”

Testimonies on Brandon Teena's death.

Posted by DRIESA on April 17, 2014 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Testimonies on Brandon Teena's death.

September 19, 2007 - Lincoln Journal.

Marvin Thomas “Tom” Nissen recanted his testimony in a 2½-page affidavit he gave July 23 to an attorney representing Lotter in a federal court appeal: - " I am the person who shot and stabbed Brandon Teena". 

Brandon’s mother, JoAnn Brandon, was shocked to hear the news and said she hopes Lotter will not walk free as a result. - "I think it’s really sad,” she said Wednesday evening. I don’t understand what Nissen is getting out of it.

In a recent interview, Nissen described the affidavit as “true and correct.” But the 35-year-old former Falls City man also said Lotter helped plan the killings and was at the rented farmhouse when they occurred.

Lotter is a major participant in the case in either version,” Judge Kenneth Stephan said.Now, Richardson County District Judge Daniel Bryan must consider whether to grant Lotter a new trial based upon Nissen’s own words. A hearing to submit legal briefs and documentation should take place. As for why Nissen decided to change his story, he initially said he didn’t know, then he said, “I guess it just took me that long to come to terms with what I had done and who I am.”

In November 1993, Brandon, who had recently moved to Richardson County from Lincoln, fell into their circle of friends, dating a woman they both knew.Lotter and Nissen befriended Brandon, but their friendship abruptly ended when they learned about Brandon’s biological gender. Angry over being duped, Nissen said, they assaulted, kidnapped and raped the 21-year-old , in Lincoln in the early morning hours of Christmas Day.The men soon learned Brandon had reported the rapes. According to Nissen’s testimony, they killed Brandon to derail the rape investigation, and they killed Lambert and DeVine to eliminate witnesses to the murder.

“It appears to this panel that without Marvin Nissen’s testimony the case against John Lotter was largely circumstantial and that there were some significant weaknesses in the evidence against Lotter,” the judges wrote in their sentencing order.

In fact, investigators found no fingerprints, footprints or tire tracks to link Lotter to the crime scene. A hair found on Brandon’s wrist wasn’t his. The only living witness besides the killer was Lambert’s 8-month-old son.


But witnesses saw Lotter in the home from which the murder weapon was stolen hours before the killings. And the knife used to stab Brandon had the name “Lotter” on the sheath.

If you came back from Heaven (Lorrie Morgan)

Posted by Hannah on September 4, 2011 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (2)

I wouldn't know what to say

I wouldn't know what to do

If you came back from heaven

And I could look at you

Would I fumble for the words?

Would I be a little shy?

Would I bust right out with laughter?

Or break right down and cry?


Oh,if you came back from heaven

Would it be like it was then?

Could we just pick up,where we left off

And try it all again?

Oh,if you came back from heaven

It would freeze me in my tracks

And I hope God knows,if he let you go

I'd never send you back


Do your kisses feel the same?

Do you still have the same touch?

And will you whisper softly

'Coz you've missed me so much?

Have you heard all my prayers

When I lay down at night?

And did you feel my body

When I held your pillow tight?


Oh,if you came back from heaven

Would it be like it was then?

Could we just pick up,where we left off

And try it all again?

Oh,if you came back from heaven

It would freeze me in my tracks

And I hope God knows,if he let you go

I'd never send you back


And if,God forbid,you leave this earth again while I see

I hope he knows if you go you'll be bringing me


Oh,if you came back from heaven

Would it be like it was then?

Could we just pick up,where we left off

And try it all again?

Oh,if you came back from heaven

It would freeze me in my tracks

And I hope God knows,if he let you go

I'd never send you back


Posted by Hannah on November 23, 2010 at 2:52 PM Comments comments (2)

That lonesome Texas sun was setting slow,

And in the rearview mirror I watched it go.

I can still see the wind in her golden hair,

I close my eyes for a moment, and I'm still there.



The bluest eyes in Texas,

Are haunting me tonight.

Like the stars that fill the midnight sky,

Her memory fills my mind.

Where did I go wrong?

Did I wait too long?

Or can I make it right?

The bluest eyes in Texas,

Are haunting me tonight.


Another town, another hotel room.

Another dream that ended way too soon.

Left me lonely, prayin' for the dawn.

Searching for the strength to carry on.


(repeat CHORUS)


For every heart you break,

You pay a price.

But I can't forget the tears,

In her blue eyes.


The bluest eyes in Texas,

Are haunting me tonight.

Like the stars that fill the midnight sky,

Her memory fills my mind.

Where did I go wrong?

Did I wait too long?

How can I make it right?

The bluest eyes in Texas,

Are haunting me tonight.



The bluest eyes in Texas,

Are haunting me tonight.