Thursday, April 23, 2009

Justice for Angie

Thanks to the Defense!

The trial of the murderer of Angie Zapata has concluded with the best of all possible decisions: First Degree murder with a Hate Crime enhancement. And while it is heartening to see that the jury did not buy into the "trans panic" argument pursued by the defense team of Allen Ray Andrade...I'd like to thank them for trying!

Yes, like many other transgender women in America, I was quite nervous - even perhaps expectant - that the defense might succeed in some measure with their tactic. But what their effort did was to show to the world (thanks to TruTV's live coverage) just what this type of legal tactic entails and how we are often portrayed by others. At its very core, the defense team tried to kill Angie a second time as they never acknowledged who she was.

All throughout the trial they referred to Angie by her birth name of Justin. All throughout the trial they caller Her "him". It was very compelling watching the defense pose a question that said "Justin, He, Him" and then have Angie's incredibly loving sister respond time after time with "My sister.....". Yes, it was most painful to watch as the process unfolded. Each time the defense said the wrong name, my stomach tied into knots that felt could never be untied. But each time they did, they showed the world what Transphobia is all about - denying the dignity of a precious human life.

In criminal trials, it is a long standing tradition to blame the victim...indeed these lawyers tried to paint Mr. Andrade as the victim - the "victim" of some supposed deception. The victim is never to be blamed or diminished. History has shown that we frequently wrap ourselves up into our "righteousness" and work to demean, debase and demonize those with whom we do not like or disagree. And then we can destroy them. This time it didn't work. From this day forward we must ensure this kind of mentality does not see favor.

Even though there was periodic ineptness and incompetence in the discussions by program hosts and guests covering the trial, I do appreciate the live coverage provided by TruTV. I make no pretense to gloss over why they decided to cover this case...I know why. But the truth always shines through when the door is opened for all to see. Even many of their "experts" thought a lesser charge might be more appropriate or the likely jury decision.

Angie can rest now, her loving family will continue to struggle to recover. They showed the world what Love is all about. Allen Andrade showed the world what Hate is all about. Time for you to decide which represents you.