Killing a Woman Because She’s Trans “Not a Classic Hate Crime”

Angie Zapata was murdered in July. (See Sam’s post.)  Allen Ray Andrade, who has admitted to beating Zapata to death, supposedly became uncontrollably “enraged” upon learning that she was transgender after a sexual encounter. This is, of course, a common defense in such murders (known as “trans panic”), and one that apparently plays into bigoted public sensibilities that transgender individuals are unethically “fooling” people and of course no one would ever knowingly have consensual sex with them. It’s also worth noting that Andrade claims to have only learned Zapata was transgender by sexually assaulting her, grabbing her genitals without her consent. He then saw it as an excuse to kill her. (trigger warning)

Later on July 16, Andrade said he asked Zapata outright whether she was a man or woman. “I am all woman,” Zapata allegedly told him, according to the affidavit. He asked for proof and when she refused, Andrade told investigators, he “grabbed Zapata’s genital area and felt a penis.”

“Andrade indicated he became angered by his discovery and struck victim Zapata with his fists,” according to the affidavit. He then grabbed a fire extinguisher, he said, and struck her twice.

He told investigators he thought he “killed it,” referring to Zapata. As he prepared to flee, Andrade said, he heard Zapata “gurgling” and saw her start to sit up, then he hit her in the head again with the fire extinguisher, according to the affidavit.

The suspect admitted to taking Zapata’s PT Cruiser, which was missing from the murder scene. On July 28, a credit card in Zapata’s name was used at multiple gas stations in the greater Denver area, according to police. Andrade also admitted to taking Zapata’s purse and cell phone, which have not been recovered.

Yes, he did call the woman he murdered “it.”

The “trans panic” defense would be bullshit even if it was Andrade’s true rationale for his crime. But looking at this series of events, it strikes me that the defense is bullshit not only for moral reasons but also for factual ones. You don’t kill a woman in a blind rage . . . then steal all of her shit, including the incredibly stupid move of taking the car, and run up bills on her credit cards. This is not “the heat of the moment.” No, as Lisa Harney said, men like Andrade simply believe with good reason that they can get away with killing a transwoman. And everyone will be more than accommodating to him in tiptoeing around his violence and hatred. From the ABC article:

Crystal Middlestadt, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Anti-Violence Program said the group will wait for the prosecutor’s final decision before commenting.

“There is a possibility that the suspect did have bias against transgender women,” Middlestadt told “Regardless of whether those formal charges are filed, it’s important to notice that these type of crimes affect the gay, lesbian and transgender community.”

It’s possible that Andrade had a bias against transgender women? I’d say that when a man admits to killing a woman upon learning (again — through assault) that she was trans, noting this was his motive, that pretty fucking strongly indicates a bias against transgender women. Jesus, if you don’t want to comment, just don’t comment.

But ABC article is for the most part respectful, including strong arguments against Andrade with quotes from sources who note that failing to disclose your genitalia is not doing something wrong, that the disclosing of one’s genitalia is not something expected of cis people, and that when “I found out she had genitalia I didn’t like” is a defense for murder, we’re living in a sad fucking society. I’d like to add that it’s even more sad, if that’s possible, when such a defense is used and accepted by many in a case where said genitalia was only discovered because the murderer committed a sexual assault.

Of course Zapata’s murder would be wrong and tragic regardless of how Andrade came to learn that she was transgender (or if the murder had nothing to do with her gender identity at all). But the fact that what Andrade did when grabbing her crotch was sexual assault seems to be grossly overlooked by the mainstream media — including this article, the best I’ve seen on the matter. (Thankfully, bloggers have noticed.) And that is supremely fucked up.

Other news sources are far more unethical:

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.

“Duped.” “Fooled.” “Not a classic hate crime.” Why isn’t it a classic hate crime? The argument doesn’t hold up — the defendant did kill Zapata because of her gender identity. He sexually assaulted a woman, in the process discovered that she was transgender, and as a direct result he chose to beat her to death. Ergo, he killed her because she was trans, and this is not hard to follow logic. So allow me to translate. What Robinson really means is: “This is not a classic hate crime, because this time the defendant had a good reason.”

There’s no other way to put it. There’s no other reason to use language like “duped” and “fooled.” There’s no other reason to use this as an argument unless you’re trying to show that there was an understandable, if “irrational” reason for the murder. (Note that most of Robinson’s remarks are reasonable if inexcusably-phrased guesses about how the defense attorneys will behave, but the last paragraph seems to be his own opinion.) Usually, when one is trying to convince people that a crime was not a hate crime, they’d argue that the crime was committed for reasons other than the victim’s race/sexual orientation/gender identity/etc. This time, it is widely acknowledged that the reason was indeed Zapata’s gender identity, thus making one believe it to certainly be a hate crime (in jurisdictions where such a law is actually on the books). But it’s “not a classic hate crime” because this kind of hate is supposed to be considered justified.

Based on the common nature of this crime/defense, and the vast swarms of people who descend whenever it occurs to talk about how wrong it is to “trick” a person by not disclosing one’s trans status, this kind of hate is indeed completely acceptable in most places, including many supposedly-progressive ones. (Note: if someone’s thinking about trying that shit here, it ain’t gonna happen.) And it’s killing people. All the time.

R.I.P. Angie. And may Andrade spend the rest of his pathetic miserable existence inside of a jail cell.

ETA: what Holly said.

[Story and links via Questioning Transphobia.]

Cross-posted at the Curvature

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63 comments for “Killing a Woman Because She’s Trans “Not a Classic Hate Crime”

  1. Kristen
    August 4, 2008 at 11:03 am

    As I mentioned over at Belledame’s, every time I read Questioning Transphobia my head nearly explodes with rage. (My husband can already identify the specific gurgle of frustration when the articles hit my google reader.)

    I need to channel this into something productive. Mostly I’ve just been listening and learning (clearly going to continue with that part) but in the meantime anyone know something I can do to help. Somewhere to donate? Somewhere to volunteer? There are a lot of them listed on the google and the wiki, I’m not sure which ones are best.

  2. August 4, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I also wrote about this story because I just didn’t (still don’t) understand why this wasn’t quite clearly a hate crime.

    Off-line, I’ve gotten feedback that the reason this isn’t “really” a hate crime is b/c Zapata deceived Andrade and, therefore, the crime was really about deception and not about Zapata’s sexuality. Andrade was just acting in the heat of the moment b/c he was deceived.

    One person said to me something along the lines of: if you find your spouse at home with another man/woman and in a rage in the heat of the moment, you kill them, that’s b/c there was deception, not b/c of a hate crime.

    Umm… what?!

    I call b.s. here and say:
    1) sorry, but deception is not the only thing going on here,
    2) if the spouse you find cheating is trans and that has never been a problem, then you’re right, it’s not necessarily a hate crime, but that’s not what happened here (apples & steaks over here!), and
    3) even if it is “more” about deception than anything else, that would be for the defense to bring up– that doesn’t mean it isn’t a hate crime.

  3. August 4, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Kristen, your best bet may be to contact your local GLTBQI advocacy group. Ours here did a talk during Pride called “Gender: Trans or Otherwise” that was incredibly eye-opening, and it’s possible that your area has an equally good program.

    I will never understand why anyone would believe “gay panic” or “trans panic” when the murderer then steals the person’s stuff. This is the second or third time I’ve heard of this happening, and I’m appalled that anyone reads that and STILL thinks “Oh, well, it was an accident! He just freaked out! He’s a good person!!”

    It says some really fucked up things about what is considered “good people”.

  4. August 4, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    We also have to take into account the assumption that “deception” occurred here. In order to assume that, we’re accepting Andrade’s version of the story that Zapata did not tell him that she was trans. Secondly, we’d be accepting that not disclosing one’s trans status is a deception. Failing to have another person’s assumption be correct is not deception.

  5. Kristin
    August 4, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Cara–This is an excellent post. Also, well-done here:

    “Based on the common nature of this crime/defense, and the vast swarms of people who descend whenever it occurs to talk about how wrong it is to “trick” a person by not disclosing one’s trans status, this kind of hate is indeed completely acceptable in most places, including many supposedly-progressive ones. (Note: if someone’s thinking about trying that shit here, it ain’t gonna happen.)”

    I was astounded and sickened by the victim-blaming I saw going on over at Bilerico, and I’m glad you won’t be allowing it here.

  6. corey
    August 4, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Kristen, I hear you completely. I’ve been feeling pretty imoptent to do anything about trans hatred myself and am also finally looking at organizations to support with my meager discretionary income. I don’t understand for a second how anyone who claims to have a vested interest in ending gender oppression can be so ridiculous about transgender issues. I mean, they are still yapping about transgenderism being made up. While my head has not exploded yet, I did check out one of the worst of the anti-trans radfem blogs yesterday and I nearly gave myself lockjaw.

  7. corey
    August 4, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Er, “impotent”.

  8. August 4, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Cara’s last post raises something extremely important that we should all be aware of:

    “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.

    Lisa links to a couple examples, and there are more. 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:

    1) in quite a few of these cases, witnesses, friends, and continued investigation have attested that the murderers had an ongoing relationship with the victim, to the extent that it was quite unlikely they didn’t know about their trans status;

    2) trans women, even young trans women, are not total fucking 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.

    As for the whole “hate crime” crap, it plays into people’s ridiculous idea of what motivates other types of hate crimes as well. They’re thinking of cold-blooded strategizing Klansmen, not killers who freak out because they have emotional and mental problems related to race, or gender, or sexuality. But of course a lot of feelings of irrational hatred — for any group of people — are tied up with the killer’s own twisted, distorted feelings about all of that and how they see themselves fitting into the world. What’s truly disgusting is that people are just buying Andrade’s classic story, regardless of whether it’s true or not, and many patterns from similar cases in the past suggest it’s likely not true.

  9. August 4, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Brava, Holly!

  10. August 4, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Thank you for this post, Cara, and for your comment, Holly. Though it always feels weird to thank people for writing about such horrible things, since really one wishes there’d be nothing like this to write about.

  11. August 4, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Cara, you are exactly right, when someone assumes something about you that is incorrect YOU did not deceive them.
    It’s cissexism, common but still cissexism, to assume that anyone who identifies and/or presents as a woman has a female-assigned body-type(ditto for men and male-assigned body).
    In a noncissexist world, most people would discuss what genitals they have (and what acts they do or do not prefer) before sex; but if you had a preference for certain genitals it would be up to you to ask to make sure your prospective partner(s) have whatever body parts you prefer.

  12. August 4, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Kristen and Corey, one thing you can do that doesn’t require any extra time or money is simply educating those around you. Speaking up when someone makes a tranny joke, refusing to watch (and saying why) movies like the Crying Game (thats the one where the guy throws up after nearly having sex with a trans* woman, right?), speaking up when people talk about how Thomas Beatie isn’t a real man, etc.
    And Whipping Girl, Transgender History, The History of How Sex Changed, and Riddle of Gender are all good books to help educate you and others.

    Exactly Holly. it is quite possible that Angie told Andrade over the internet (or called him at some point) that she was trans*. It is entirely possible, that he chose to meet her so that he could beat her up or kill her. Perhaps, he wanted to do what so many police officers do, and rape her without consequences but she fought back and he killed her.
    Do they have copies of their emails? Have they looked at their phones? Did Angie have a eharmony profile that clearly states she is trans*? Did she tell other men who contacted her online that she was trans*? Have they looked at disproving Andrade’s story at all? (obviously, we may not know if they have or not, this is sorta rhetorical questioning…)

  13. August 4, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    (grrr, the links in my second comment set off the spam detector)

  14. Rebecca
    August 4, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Even if she “deceived” him, does it matter? If I’m a Jew passing as Christian, and someone comes to my house, ransacks my jewellery drawer and finds a Star of David, and kills me because they were angry to find out that I was Jewish, in what world would that, for example, not be a hate crime?

  15. August 4, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    I even believe the idea of deception is ridiculous because it privileges certain kinds of bodies as the norm. No one should assume a damn thing about anyone unless specifically told. The idea that a trans person or a gay person must confess helps to maintain heterosexism and CIS privilege.

  16. Kat
    August 4, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Speaking up when someone makes a tranny joke, refusing to watch (and saying why) movies like the Crying Game (thats the one where the guy throws up after nearly having sex with a trans* woman, right?),
    Why is The Crying Game a bad movie? The fact that he throws up after realizing the woman he was intimate with is trans isn’t unrealistic in our homophobic culture.

  17. William
    August 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    As a thought experiment,lets assumed that Andrade’s version of the events is true and give them the benefit of the doubt. Lets assume that Zapata knowingly and intentionally deceived Andrade. Lets take it a step further, far beyond the bounds of credulity, and assume that Zapata deceived Andrade specifically to cause emotional distress. Even then, working under assumptions that would put him in the best possible light, Andrade responded to deception (after the fact) with what is pretty clearly murder. In fact, Andrade waited for Zapata to come home after he became suspicious so that he could question her about her gender. Moreover, Andrade was never physically threatened by Zapata, but even if he was, he admits to beating her to death AFTER he had disabled her.

    After Andrade killed Zapata, he stole her car and ran up her credit cards. Even if you buy the defense that this wasn’t a hate crime, it still seems to be murder during the commission of a felony. A murder committed by someone with a record who was lying in wait for his victim.

    Lets take a step back. Say I’m Jewish and I meet someone who, the day we meet, gives me a ham sandwich and tells me its turkey. The next day I’m at their house and I see ham in the fridge by no turkey and I get suspicious. So I wait for them, they insist that the sandwich was turkey, it turns out that we have different ideas of what constitutes turkey, I beat them to death with a fire extinguisher, steal their car and their wallet, and run up their credit cards. I’d be laughed at for even suggesting that what happened before the assault had anything to do with my behavior. No judge would take it seriously, no jury would, and my lawyer would probably be a little embarrassed when we got to court, because it’s a ridiculous assertion. I’d end up in jail for first degree murder.

    The fact that we, as a society, even for a second consider the possibility that Andrade’s defense might be true tells us that this is a hate crime. Change the nature of the alleged deception to virtually anything else and no one takes the defense seriously. We wouldn’t even believe that a deception had taken place, we’d give the victim the benefit of the doubt and we’d see Andrade as an opportunistic predator and we’d put him in a cage so he couldn’t repeat his behavior again in the civilized world. Considering that perhaps Andrade has a point that what Zapata did was so terrible that its understandable he beat her to death just underscores why this was a HATE crime. Andrade is an opportunist who murdered someone to steal their stuff or he’s a man who hate transwomen so much that he thought he had the right to kill one because they disgusted him. Or, most likely, both.

  18. August 4, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Why is The Crying Game a bad movie? The fact that he throws up after realizing the woman he was intimate with is trans isn’t unrealistic in our homophobic culture.

    I think it’s a little exaggerated and stereotypical. I’ve never heard of someone having this kind of reaction in reality, and I have heard a lot of stories from a lot of people who’ve been in that situation. Being upset or pissed off, sure. Being a little perturbed but still wanting to have sex, or not thinking it’s that big of a deal — more people than you might expect, although not always without psychological dissonance, and that can be dangerous. Murdering people, unfortunately yes — although like I said, I think there’s far more to most of those cases than the “murderous rage” excuse.

    Also, the Crying Game was marketed and played up in the press as being all about “oh my god she’s got a secret” in a way that’s inherently sensationalizing and degrading to trans people. And one that is far too common of a “horrifying joke.” You can say that wasn’t Neil Jordan’s fault, but the marketing and press around the Crying Game was definitely all part of that film’s cultural gestalt and what it’s come to symbolize.

  19. Sailorman
    August 4, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I think that by “classic” hate crime they refer to the fact that (according to the alibi, anyway) the victim was not selected based on the victim’s characteristics–I think that it may be more common for folks to deliberately target a certain group for abuse (and the killer may be lying, as noted above.)

    But in any case, no matter what happened regarding selection, obviously the victim was killed because she was trans, so it’s a hate crime, “classic” or not.

  20. August 4, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Yes, the whole “trans women are deceptive creatures who try to trick men into relationships” is an offensive stereotype, and The Crying Game plays that up to the hilt.

    Holly, you’re brilliant.

  21. August 4, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Of course she was selected, Sailorman. I assume Mr. Andrade hasn’t beaten to death any of the other women he’s slept with or spent time around. He became aware of what group Angie Zapata belonged to and then, based on that information, selected her for murder and robbery over all the other people he sees in any given day. And it sounds like he thinks being beaten to death is something a person deserves for being trans.
    Unless Angie Zapata is the only person this thirty-one-year-old man ever interacted with, he very certainly selected her based on certain characteristics as a victim of violent crime, even according to his alibi. He waited for her, already suspecting she was trans, with the intent to a: commit the sexual assault that lead to his alleged “discovery” of her trans status (why else would he act in that way, if he hadn’t thought about it in advance?), almost certainly with the further intent to b: physically assault or murder her for it, and the fact that he c: had the presence of mind to take her possessions, credit cards to run up, and car says he wasn’t in a panic when he did it.

    If he gets off for this…I actually don’t have words for how angry I’ll be. I’m exhausted from being this angry for these reasons over and over and over.

    Cara, Holly, thank you. I haven’t had the emotional strength to write about this one, and the story deserves wide exposure–especially considering the inevitably offensive reporting. I even saw a news story with a big picture of a fire extinguisher. Thanks, guys. Real respectful.

  22. harlemjd
    August 4, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Agreed that the marketing around The Crying Game was shitty and homophobic. I don’t think the same can be said about the movie itself. The transcharacter clearly thought that the Irish guy (can’t remember anyone’s names) knew – they met at a gay bar, he’d known her ex and heard about her from him. She reveals her genitals pretty straightforwardly and when he freaks out, her reaction is “I thought you knew.”

    And the Irish guy freaks out, yeah, but he doesn’t get violent with her, or even yell at her. He goes home and vomits and doesn’t want to be sexual with her anymore, but he also realizes that the miscommunication wasn’t her fault, and that he actually likes her as a person. Their relationship changes into a friendship.

    [and the “big secret” happens pretty early on in the film and is nowhere close to being the point of the movie. (and it makes forrest whittaker’s line about natasha richardson’s character not being his type pretty funny)]

  23. August 4, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Sheesh, the Crying Game was simply the first example I thought of. It isn’t that important–just substitute it for any other anti-trans* movie.
    Thank you for commenting on a single line of my comment instead of the brutally murdered woman though. Real classy, Kat and Harlemjd. Also, real common to nitpick instead of commenting about the real issues.

    LL, I’m really hoping that the prosecution and jury and judge don’t let this murderer loose. Not only would it be a gross miscarriage of justice, but he (and others) would learn he can get away with murder. One of the posts Lisa links to, Phiogistic, mentions the murderer DeAndre Blake who killed his daughter while he was out on band after killing a trans* woman.
    I also find BFP’s post…interesting. Basically, since Angie was latina, will the prosecutor try to shed doubt on her or her family’s citizenship–another reason to see her as less than human and therefore not worth putting an “innocent” man in jail.

  24. harlemjd
    August 4, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Drakyn – sorry to upset you, but I thought that the difference between what actually happened in The Crying Game and how it was marketed tracked pretty well with what Holly said about the difference between what probably happened between these two people (ie. full disclosure from a transwoman) and how it’s playing in the media and how the general public is responding (OMG the lying liars!!).

    wasn’t meant as a nitpick. should have made that clear.

  25. Ginjoint
    August 4, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Drakyn, both Kat and Harlemjd are on your side, if you reread their comments. I think Kat also asked her question in good faith, not to derail or nitpick.

  26. harlemjd
    August 4, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    and after I clicked off I realize that I STILL didn’t quite say what I meant to about the damn movie (sorry all, tough day at work, I guess)

    Holly said that a large part of why stories like this get spun the way they do is because the victims are dead and can’t tell us what they disclosed when. That makes it easier for killers to pretend that they were “deceived.” What The Crying Game shows is that this myth of the lying transwoman is so strong that it presists IN SPITE of the movie goers seeing that it’s total bullshit. The transwoman meets a man in a gay bar. He tells her that he heard about her from her ex (who sure are hell knew she was trans). She’s straightforward about showing her genitals to him and, when he freaks, says flat-out “I thought you knew.” She’s clearly NOT deceitful, and yet that’s how the world remembers the movie.

    THAT’s what I meant to say. Sorry it took so long.

  27. August 4, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Ok harlemjd, that makes sense.
    Unfortunately, “the deceitful trans* person” is a transphobic trope that even trans* people spout (yay internalized cissexism!). I’ve seen it thrown about a lot in trans* forums (towards both guys and gals, but cis* folks tend to throw it at trans* women more).
    I’ve also seen cis* folks that say that you should be able to charge a post-op trans* woman with rape if she doesn’t disclose before sex.
    There was also a trans* guy whose marriage was annulled by his ex-wife–she claimed she hadn’t known he was trans*.

  28. August 4, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Part of the problem with making films like the Crying Game, no matter how sensitive or well-intentioned, is that they still feed into the myth. It’s like the use of racial stereotypes, or stereotypes of gay or lesbian people that feed into harmful images of people of color or gay or lesbian people.

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  30. Simone
    August 6, 2008 at 2:24 am

    I wish I can stress this, how damn careful you have to be. I am one who says it is always best to disclose very early, if anything if you are hitting on me, I will get a bit defensive. Yeah, you can “get a feel for somebody” and not disclose, but the truth is, it is still taking a tremendous risk. I have had numerous arguments over this, but the truth is, I have seen and heard about to many trans women who got into dangerous situations because of lack of disclosure. Yeah, philosophically, it shouldn’t be forced upon you. But the fact is that it is purely a safety concern, it is risk not to. I don’t think it should be a requirement, and its not your fault if you do. I don’t buy into the trans as deceptive thing because I am trans myself. But I do buy into the men can be extremely dangerous and its best to play it safe rule because with guys the violent asshole proportion runs fairly high. I rather not risk death. If anything disclosure does weed out quite a few assholes, I end up with better guys than most of my straight girlfriends. I know there are trans women who hate the push for early disclosure, but the truth is, it is a necessity in this dangerous world, the world itself does not match our philosophical groundwork with this regards, the world is dangerous. I completely resent the fact that I feel its a necessity, but I just value my life and safety to much.

  31. August 6, 2008 at 11:02 am

    How do we know Angie wasn’t careful in that way? All we have to go on is the testimony of her murderer. And murderers have lied before about trans women “hiding” their trans status from them, in order to serve the accepted narrative about how these things work and get off scot-free.
    As Holly points out, most of us in our little sorority aren’t idiots. We know how dangerous and risky it is just to dare to talk to some guy in public sometimes, let alone pick up on one. We know that very ugly things happen over and over and over to trans women who get in the way of other people’s insecurities. And just because we argue that disclosure shouldn’t be an issue the way it is, doesn’t mean most of us aren’t scrupulous about it out of a basic sense of self-preservation, since we’ve heard the “trans panic” defense and we’ve seen it work–that is, if we pay attention, we know that someone can do something awful to us and get away with it, and there’s no sense supporting the narrative they always use.

    Whether or not we disclose, someone can say we didn’t, kill us, and have that story believed–and maybe it will excuse them in the eyes of a judge or jury. That’s the point. Not only should it not be our responsibility “philosophically” to coddle the insecurities of violent assholes this way, part of the point is that, because of this pervasive myth about our deceptiveness, it doesn’t matter what we do–the assumption for the public will be what it will be anyway, and that perception will fit into the mythical “trans panic” scenario.

    In the meantime, while I’d urgeanyone to be careful and canny, saying that it’s just to be expected, that this is how things are, enables those violent murderous assholes–it lets the general culture know that we, too, buy into their narrative, that we bring these crimes on ourselves for behaving the wrong way, wearing the wrong thing, associating with the wrong people. Yeah, it’s a dangerous world, but we’re not the ones making it dangerous, and accepting the status quo isn’t going to serve us.

  32. Nia
    August 6, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    You can support the family by making contributions to Angie Zapata’s memorial fund!
    Please make donation checks payable to Monica Murquia (Angie’s sister) and mail them to the Colorado Anti-Violence Program at P.O. Box 181085, Denver, CO 80218.

  33. August 7, 2008 at 1:52 am

    When I read Simone’s post, the frustration I feel at seeing other trans women taking Andrade’s word at face value is indescribable.

    Also, what Holly said in reply 8 and little light in reply 38. On many occasions, it’s become clear that the murderer already knew and he still avoided a harsh sentence. It’s not about disclosure, it’s about the fact that men believe they can kill trans women – usually trans women of color – and get away with it, that they are killing disposable people.

    Also, my own experience (admittedly as a white trans woman) is that all the straight men I ever dated didn’t react violently when I told them I was trans. They didn’t stab me, shoot me, or bash my brains out. Most were willing to continue dating, and indicated sexual interest. They were pretty normal people, I think, being as they didn’t run around killing people for surprising them with unexpected facts.

    The question of whether Angie did or did not disclose (and if she didn’t, whether she should have or not) is completely irrelevant. Even if everything happened exactly as Andrade stated:

    * He was willing to sexually assault Angie to gain access to her genitals. He did not ask permission to grab her crotch, he just did it. This is massively violent, entitled, and misogynist

    * He killed her. Normal people do not kill people. I do not know how many times this needs to be said. He was willing to cross that line and murder a woman. We don’t need to have a conversation over the importance of disclosure at this point – trans women understand the importance of disclosure. Angie’s not responsible for the fact that Andrade felt it was his place to kill her for any reason.

    * Talking about disclosure centers the discussion on cissexism, on the assumption that everyone is cissexual until proven otherwise. It centers the discussion on the feelings of the cissexual men who bash teenaged girls’ brains out.

    Do I think conversations about how to navigate dating and relationships with cis people are appropriate? Oh, yes, I do. These are important conversations. However, I think that dredging the topic up in reference to a murdered woman is putting up a sign that reads “Victim Blaming Next Left.”

  34. September 20, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    I think the Trans-Panic Defense should be considered an automatic guilty plea to first degree murder.

    Jack Nicholson was in a movie a few years ago. In it a gay man hit on him. Jack told him in the most perfect normal way, “I am flattered and were I gay I would find you attractive but I am not.”

    Trans-panic is something else. Most often a rape or murder has already happened and it is used to devalue the victim. In fact it is a variation on “She was asking for it.” This is used on women who are seen as having transgressed some sort of imaginary line that makes them into a fair victim.

    There was a case a few years ago where this preppie guy murdered his equally preppie girlfriend in Central Park. He strangled her yet the lawyers made him into the victim by saying she was a slut and asked for it. Why should his life be riuned, blah, blah. The scum sucker got a tap on the wrist and has been in and out of prison since.

    This is trying the victim. It gerts used on transsexual/transgender women, it gets used on gay men, female sex workers or for that matter any woman that isn’t white and elite and probably some how Christian.

    Hard as it is to believe a judge looked at a six year old some pile of human shit with a dick raped and reduced her value with the statement, “She is a very seductive six year old.”

    Julia Serano’s “Whipping Girl” is a brilliant start on an analysis about how “transphobia” is just variation on misogyny.

    Back in the late 1970s some lesbian feminists saw fit to trash transsexual/transgender women because they failed to make the connection that TS/TG women were victims of the same woman hating misogyny that women born women are.

    Hopefully we have moved beyond that. I’m going to put up something on my blog on Monday when I get a day off. I want to pull together some material because this is turning in to a frequent occurrence.

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