Saturday, February 7, 2009

Now its only Five Years, actually Three

First Bulgaria, now Ireland

Less than two weeks ago, I wrote about the lack of adequate justice meted for the death of a transwoman in Bulgaria. She was chased down, stabbed forty times, had her head smashed in with a video player and despite calling her murder an "absolute desire to exterminate", the judge issued a sentence of but seven years to the "exterminator". And yet the Bulgarian judge is still a couple of years ahead of his counterpart in Ireland.

Vincent Murtagh, an apparently homeless man attacked a transwoman/crossdresser with whom he had a one night stand after meeting her at a nightclub. The news story <click here> describes the victim as "a male nurse, dressed in a miniskirt, high heels and makeup. He was a Filipino emigre working in Dublin. Once in the apartment, the story says the victim did acknowledge that he was male but that didn't seem to matter.....then. Four days - DAYS - later, Murtagh returned but this time it was to slash his neck, not once but twice. Despite some quick responses to his cries for help, he died.

So what was the "motive"? Murtagh was "in great turmoil" at having what he felt was a "gay" encounter and just had to eliminate - nay, exterminate - the person with whom he'd been with only a few days before. The judge, buying into this gay panic or trans panic defense, gave Murtagh a sentence of only five years - then suspended the last two. Three years? That's all this Filipino crossdresser's life was worth? Its been said by others that transpeople of color are given even less regard by others, this seems to fulfill that most accurate observation.

Just where in these sentences is the value of human life? How can we as transgender people hope for any semblance of justic in life if there is no justice in taking our life? We seek equity and fairness in employment. We seek legitimacy in our legal status. We seek assistance and understanding for our medical needs. All worthy goals. But at the very least we should be able to expect a minimum of value to our lives. We're not there yet.

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