Flight Papers

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It would be nice to think that we actually had respect for the dead.


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It’s not exactly like we gave her much in life, is it?

I haven’t written about Angie Zapata, which is particularly unforgivable since she was killed in my city. I find myself having trouble articulating anything that hasn’t already been said.

It might be that it’s too close, that those things made clear by her murder seem to large and too obvious. Trans women—like most women, as it happens—are acutely aware of how much our status makes us targets; how much random men on the streets want to either fuck us or do violence to us, or maybe some exciting new combination of both.

It looks like the prosecutor is going to prosecute her murder as a hate crime, which means the defense is probably going to advance the idea that it’s an all-American hate crime. The kind of hate crime that’s fun for the whole family; the kind that any red-blooded American boy would be practically forced to commit (or not commit—such a nasty, criminalizing word—but maybe enjoy) after a nasty, dirty, brown (of course she’s an illegal immigrant, even if her family has lived in Weld county since the invention of, say, dirt) tranny coerces and deceives him into getting a blowjob and then sexually assaulting her.

It could have happened to any of you (straight, white men), and then what would you have to do?

So the trial’s going to be hilarious, in that way that leaves you in shock, shaking and sobbing on the floor and perhaps I have not quite selected the appropriate adjective.

The D.A. is prosecuting her murder, at least, and while I don’t exactly put a tonne of stock in our criminal justice system, I have to feel a little better about that. Little steps, I guess.

Speaking of the D.A.

“It doesn’t matter who the victim is,” Buck said, “. . . a crime like this cannot be tolerated at any level.”

That’s nice to hear, Buck. It would have been nicer without the implication that trans women are, somehow, almost tolerable victims. That we ought to prosecute this man not because of his demonstrated vicious hatred for transgender people, or women, or Latinas, per se, but because of a philosophical commitment to discouraging people from bashing heads in with fire extinguishers.

Little steps.

The papers are reporting it as a hate crime, which it is, and the stories are written an unfortunately-shocking sympathy for the victim. It’s nice that the Denver Post, at least, refers to Zapata as “she,” and “her.” It would be nicer if they didn’t use her birth name in half their ledes (when someone changes their name, legally or not, the paper generally uses their chosen name—unless they’re trans, of course). It would also be nice if they extended trans people this courtesy while we’re still alive.

And while I’m wishing for horses, it would be nice if after her murderer is convicted, we maybe started asking how he felt like what he was doing was sanctioned by society, and how he could mount such a grotesque defense with the expectation that people would, y’know, buy it.

It would also be nice if I didn’t wince in my stomach whenever I wrote “I,” or “we” in this post.

Little steps, little steps…

One Response to “It would be nice to think that we actually had respect for the dead.”

  1. Roundup of Angie Zapata posts, plus Holly at Feministe: Trans Panic Defense is Often a Smokescreen « Questioning Transphobia Says:

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