jhameia: ME! (Call To Arms)
[personal profile] jhameia

Remember Angie Zapata?

She was a young transgendered woman who died after being bludgeoned to death by the guy she went out on a date with. Jury selection begins on April 14th. From Feministe:

It bears strong noting that Angie Zapata’s is the first murder of a transgender person that will be tried as a hate crime. This is a monumental moment for that reason, and also a highly sobering one — the Transgender Day of Remembrance is held ever year because of the fact that such astonishing numbers of transgender people are murdered as a result of hate. The murders of so many should have been tried this way before. It’s a disgrace that they were not. And now, all we can do is hope for the best in Angie’s case, that the crime will be recognized for the act of hate and bigotry that it was, and that justice will be done.

Angie's family are asking us to light a candle for her. Publicly, that is. You can be a fan of the Facebook Group, or friend the MySpace page, or follow them on Twitter.

I can foresee several trolls trawling the Internetz who're probably bombarding Feministe and other major blogs with shit like "how do you know it was a hate crime" or "she deserved it" or "tranny lol" (no matter how we cut it, that term is still a slur, and the only people who can really use it publicy are transgendered folks themselves) and nothing in the world will ever be able to make it clear to them that it doesn't matter. Hate is hate is hate. She didn't deserve to die. It's not going to make a lick of difference to these people because they're hateful.

But most people are not purposefully / inherently hateful - they simply don't recognize transphobic biases within themselves and their own community. (OK, maybe I'm being optimistic here.) Most people simply don't know enough transgendered people to know that these hate crimes - of discrimination, at least, to harassment, to bullying, to assault, to murder - exist, because for many of us, these things do not exist within our sphere of experience.

Yet, just because we don't see them doesn't mean they don't happen. We may not recognize hate in what we do and see, because we've become so accustomed to the violence and the words that hurt others so badly. "This is just how life is" and "get used to it" are lazy excuses that serve to avoid the hard work that is required to make a true transformation in society that could make life better for everyone.

Hatred is deadly. The worst bit is that it is so ingrained within the societal subconsciousness, that it drives unknowing children to bully others, innocuous people to discriminate, general publics to apathy, and sociopaths to kill, and all this is acceptable, so long as we do it to the most marginalized, unaccepted, powerless of people. And that's an injustice of life that we CAN fix.

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