Archive for the ‘transgender’ Category


This Thursday is the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.

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Duanna Johnson was beaten by police officers in Memphis last June.

Now she is dead.

h/t Pam’s House Blend, where Autumn Sandeen, who posted this story, asks:

I’m trying to keep this all in perspective, but it’s hard. Thousands of people have been marching over Proposition 8 passing in California; who remembers — who marches for — our dead?

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What part of this is hard to understand – every life matters?

The vicious murder of bodies that are deemed unreal, unthinkable, an “it” – open season has been declared upon bodies that are said to be wrong. Law enforcement and judicial officials are colluding.

Perhaps you know – if not you should know – that 18 year old Angie Zapata was murdered on July 16.

Angie was a trans woman. She was beaten to death by Allen Ray Andrade, 32, who confessed to the crime, yet placed the blame for his actions squarely upon the victim.

As Holly of Feministe breaks it down, this is not an unusual defense:

“Deception” is the commonly told and commonly believed story in cases like this, but further investigation and examination of the facts has OFTEN suggested it’s a smokescreen.

Seriously, don’t let anyone sell you the usual line that “oh, she tricked him and then he freaked out and killed her.” For one thing, even if that was the case, the appropriate reaction is not to kill someone. But more importantly, it’s often totally fabricated. But everyone just believes it because it’s so “plausible.” It’s the entire audience of listeners to these stories that need to wise up. Tell your friends. Here are some important points:

2) trans women, even young trans women, are not total ….. idiots. Especially the ones who have experience, who lived to see adulthood and have had to survive on the streets. Trans women know the risks associated with sex partners who aren’t aware of our status. Trans women are, by and large, experts at judging and negotiating this kind of situation. Part of the reason many community advocates think the ongoing wave of “trans panic” crimes involve bogus stories is that most trans women, sex workers included, make sure that potential sex partners are not confused as hell about what’s going on. Unfortunately, that doesn’t eliminate the unpredictable violent psychopaths of the world.

3) The victims of these murders are DEAD and cannot tell their side of the story. Seriously — Andrade killed her, he confessed it. He knows what kind of story is likely to elicit the most sympathy from other straight guys, and he’s telling it. He even included details about “she wouldn’t let me touch her, but she gave me a blow job.” This whole scenario is a classic myth — which doesn’t mean it never happens, but when the murderer is caught red-handed and then proceeds to give the most “sympathetic sob story,” why the hell does everyone believe him? Because most people find it impossible to identify with the victim, and far too easy to identify with the killer of a “thing.” This needs to change, but the dead cannot speak for themselves, cannot persuade people to empathize and listen. It’s up to the rest of us.

If this were not bad enough, it gets worse.

Experts say it may not be easy for prosecutors to prove it was a hate crime.

“A prosecutor is going to talk about this being a knowing killing, that the defendant knew what he was doing. The defense is going to argue that it was the heat of passion, that he did it because he, the defendant, was so upset for being duped,” said 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson.

Robinson believes that while the prosecution will be seeking a conviction for second-degree murder, the defense could seek a lesser offense of heat of passion manslaughter.

“This is not a classic hate crime, where an individual is beaten to death because of their orientation. This is a case when an individual reacted irrationally and unlawfully to learning they had been fooled,” said Robinson.

Again, blame for the death placed squarely on the victim, who cannot speak for herself. How is this not a “classic” hate crime? Did Andrade need to be exclaiming “I hate transgendered persons” while he bashed Angie’s head in with a fire extinguisher? Did he need to be wearing a Klan robe while stealing her car? Did he need to burn a cross at the scene of the crime?

As long as people know they can get away with this kind of defense, they will.

It’s up to the rest of us to speak for those who cannot.

Read more here, here, here, here, here.

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This is the transwoman whose beating by a Memphis cop was caught on tape. It is not surprising that this is not the only incident:

After the video leaves off, she was taken to a trauma center in Memphis (incidentally, the officer who beat her up was supposed to be the one to accompany her down there, but she objected to that). They didn’t want to treat her head wounds because they didn’t want to touch her weave, and she says she felt like they just didn’t want to touch her at all.

In all, she suffered from lacerations and contusions on her head, scarring and bruising on her side, and permanent nerve damage on the left wrist from the handcuffs.

After that, she was held in jail for several days until she could post bond.

All this, for what? Because she was presenting the wrong gender, had the wrong skin color, and walking down the wrong street?

Since the release of the video last week, Wells said that he received a “tremendous number” of phone calls from people who had gone through similar incidents, with McRae and other officers. Looking at the case history, he said that the department’s constant defense in the few cases that make it to trial is that this is just one bad cop.

Read more here.

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It’s an enraging reminder that while each civil rights gain in the LGBT community is meaningful, we cannot rest until we are all safe, all free from discrimination.

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