Queer Subversion | An Emotional Outburst

I have been following Jackson on Twitter and after reading this on his blog wanted to share

An Emotional Outburst

This is hopefully my last "emotional outburst" for the day. see, I've been paying attention the the Andrade Murder Trial (for the murder of Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old transgender woman who was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher last July) and also sort of keeping track on Twitter, more for my own records but of course a couple people saw fit to follow me so I'll keep track for them too. I'm not shocked, but I am appalled, and I'll admit, I had my own emotional outbursts today. The most common response I've gotten from people who ask about these sort of outbursts is along the lines of "bummer," "oh, that's too bad," and other slightly apathetic ways of putting it, not only outside of the queer community, but within it.

So for this "emotional outburst..." Angie, although I have never met her, has a lot in common with me. We both were assigned the opposite gender to the one we currently claim, although we have gone different directions in that journey. Unlike me, however, Angie was brutally murdered. Now, it's not that I assume I will be brutally murdered. It's that I identify with her. I identify with having people constantly mistake you for being something or somebody you are not, being faced with the decisions of whether or not to tell them, having to deal with the consequences of whether or not you choose to do so. Those consequences should never include murder. Never. What happenede was not excusable. Not because Andrade felt deceived, cheated, or whatever the fuck else.

I watched the story on CNN.com, watched Angie's mother and sisters and some of her best friends come up on the stand and go through questioning. The prosecution, "The People," would refer to Angie in an appropriate way, I feel. Her name is Angela, she is a she, she is their sister/daughter, etc. Then the defense attorney would come up and my blood would boil beneath my skin.

Annette Kundelius is her name... Andrade's attorney... she stands there, stone-faced, asking the loved ones of Angie Zapata about "his" lifestyle, never once deterring from her theme of referring to Angie as "Justin," using male pronouns, and otherwise dealing major blows and insults to not only Angie and her family, but the entire transgender world. I know this is her tactic... she is emphasizing Angie's supposed "maleness" to get the jury to view her as such, as a deceiver who tricked Andrade into thinking she was a "real woman." Kundelius calls this a "crime about a deception." That Andrade was provoked by Angie's smiling at him.I really want to be angry at her, but I am trying not to. And I'll admit, I am. Furious. Blood-boilingly furious. Somebody standing there, in court, on television, completely shattering the identity of a woman who was brutally murdered in order to convince a jury that she deserved it. But a large part of me tells me I shouldn't be angry at Kundelius. After all, she's an attorney. Does she really believe this? Is she just trying to be a good lawyer, to Hell with ethics? If she isn't as cold or heartless as this case makes her appear, I strongly wonder how she falls asleep at night... do thoughts of Angie Zapata run through her head? Does she think of the pictures of her, covered in a blanket with her face smashed in? I try not to be a vengeful person, but I must admit, a part of me hopes she does. Of course, one thing is for certain... this rage that Kundelius has set aflame within my very soul has not once made me feel like taking a fire extinguisher and slamming it into her face. Not even once. I have been having these "emotional outbursts," but they have yet to escalate to "crimes of passion and deception," such as the deceptive notion that because we are transgender people, we deserve to be murdered.

I felt for Angie's family. Her sister, Stephanie, would correct the defense when the words "Justin," "he," and "brother" were used, adamantly defending Angie's right to be Angie, her sister. But of course, the defense would remain firm in their mis-labeling and mis-gendering of Angie, attempting to drive the jury to their bigoted goal of representing Angie as having been a man posing as a woman rather than the reality, that she was a transgender woman who should be presented as such.Before I close my little rant, I feel I need to address one more thing though. See, throughout this case and many others, I've seen a number of people try and raise the case that Zapata's murder was somehow a "lesson" to the rest of us in the transgender or transsexual communities... that we should not misrepresent ourselves in some youthful naivety, or it could lead to us lying dead in our rooms... while I do not discount that this is good advice, and feel it is best to be open to one's partners, this is still victim blaming. There are any number of things one could learn about a partner after the relationship has taken off, but nobody is saying it's okay to murder them for it. If it turns out my partner has breast implants, is it okay for me to stab her for being deceptive? No. So why is this okay? Why is it acceptable? Any normal, functional human being with a conscience should be able to see that this is murder without dragging in a bunch of victim's issues into it. No, she didn't deserve it. No, she wasn't being deceptive. No, Andrade was not provoked by an irresistable rage.I only hope the jury can see that, too.--Jackson

Website built by Jackson - 2008-2009 If I wrote or drew it, you are free to use it in any publication or website which promotes the causes of liberation.

1 comment:

Abby said...

The defense attorneys are being allowed to refer to Angie as "Justin" on the presumption that that was her "real" or "legal" name. However, in the U.S., you don't have to have a court order to legally change your name. All you have to is use it. Since Angie had used that name for some years prior to her murder, that was, in fact, her "real" and "legal" name.

I'm sad that the prosecution didn't ask the judge before the trial started to order the defense attorneys to refer to Angie by her true and legal name, Angie, at trial. Then, if they want to make fools of themselves by continually asking about "Angie, formerly known as Justin" and refer to "Angie" as "he", let them. It would only take about 10 minutes, if that long, for the jury to see right through the illusion that the defense attorney are trying to create that Angie was "really" a man.