Remembering Angie and Ebony alongside Lawrence, Greg, and Linda

Lou FCD's picture

(Co-authored with Elizabeth Wood.)

Emily of Sexual Ambiguities has rightly called for the recognition and addressing of the real issues of transgendered people that so often get ignored or dismissed even within the broader framework of the equality movements of feminism and gay rights.

We have not blogged about any of the recent heartbreaking and horrifying stories in recent months, not because we don't think they are important - we think they are incredibly important - but because we have been at a loss for words, unable to think of anything new to say. After reading her call, we believe that we don't need to have anything new to say. It is enough to add another voice to those calling for attention to stories like these:

Angie Zapata, 18, of Greeley Colorado, was killed on July 16, 2008. She was killed because she was transgendered. The New York Times reported yesterday morning that Allen Ray Andrade, the 31-year old charged with killing her, is being charged with murder as a hate crime.

Andrade reportedly confessed to police that he bludgeoned Zapata to death the day after they had met. When they met, he said, Zapata performed a sex act on him. The next day some pictures in Zapata's apartment made him wonder about her gender. Reportedly he asked her. She answered "I'm all woman," he grabbed her crotch, found a penis there, and started beating her up with a fire extinguisher.

He told police that at one point during the assault he thought he had "killed it." Then he realized he hadn't. And then he did.

Ebony Whitaker, 20, was found shot to death in Memphis on July 1. Ebony was a trans sex worker whose cousin Claudia said that if Ebony  had "a place to live and clothes and all that" maybe she would have been free to make different choices.

Lawrence (Larry) King, 15, was shot to death by a 14 year old classmate on February 12 . Prosecuters in the case allege that Larry was murdered because he was gay, and that the direct impetus for the slaying was Larry's giving of a Valentine's Day card to to the defendant.

Greg McKendry, 60, and Linda Kraeger, 61, were shot to death on July 27, and six (or seven depending on the account) others were wounded when a man opened fire in their chuch with a sawed-off semiautomatic shotgun. The alleged assailant left a note giving as his reason the church's support for "the liberal movement", Democrats, and gay people. The church had recently put up signs saying "gays welcome".

Feminist, Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual issues are inextricably linked to Transgender issues and appear so similar because they stem from the same root causes, those causes being sexism, heterosexism, and homophobia, all rolled up into a tight and inseparable package. Continuing to disown or even just ignore or marginalize transgendered people in our greater struggle for equality is to deny them the safety and protection which we are demanding for ourselves.

All people who break mainstream gender rules are at greater risk for violence no matter what they do. In a heterosexist and homophobic society anyone who visibly deviates is a target. (That is one reason we were so upset when the gender identity provision got "compromised" out of the ENDA legislation.) When targeted for violence and labeled as deviant, transfolk are often pressed into more dangerous position. For those who turn to sex work, the stakes are especially high. We want to make sure people are aware of this SWOP service for trans sex workers:

 

From Compassionata at Bound, Not Gagged:
"While some of these people are not sex workers, many transgendered people are Sex Workers because when society labels you a freak, the job market gets amazingly small in a hurry!"

and

If you are a transgendered sex worker and need support, we want to let you know that SWOP’s Chicago Chapter is offering a hotline to support transgender sex workers for general health and safety issues as it relates to the TS community, etc. To access this service dial 877-776-2004 option 3, then option 3, or if you are in the chicago area, dial 312-252-3880 then option 3."

 

Elizabeth Wood, SITPS co-founder

Lou FCD, SITPS contributor

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