Archive for the ‘murder’ Category
A couple of posts by Gemma Seymour on the tumblrs:
WARNING: What I have to say here may seriously piss you off, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. This post is intentionally designed to be extremely inflammatory.
As I’m sure most everyone has heard, this past week, a young man by the name of Tyler Clementi, who was an 18-year-old freshman student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate publicized Clementi’s sexual relationship with another man. The sordid details of this event have been widespread and do not need repetition. This is a terrible tragedy that absolutely deserves the coverage it has received.
What has gone largely unnoticed, however, is that two weeks prior to Clementi’s suicide, a young woman by the name of Victoria Carmen White, who was a 28-year-old fashion model and by all available accounts a wonderful person, was murdered in Maplewood, NJ, not 30 miles away from Clementi’s family home in Ridgewood, NJ.
I found out about Tyler Clementi through a Facebook post by Garden State Equality. Garden State Equality’s Facebook page, as of this afternoon, contains five official posts related to Tyler’s death, while it contains not a single mention of Victoria Carmen White. GSE has released an official press release about Clementi’s suicide, while they remain utterly silent about White’s murder, this despite the fact that White’s murder took place only two weeks prior to GSE’s highly publicized “Equality Walk” in Maplewood (evidence of which is no longer available at the GSE website).
While Garden State Equality quoted on their Facebook page from a Star-Ledger editorial published October 1 concerning Tyler Clementi’s suicide, the Star-Ledger’s editorial board says nothing about Victoria Carmen White’s murder, despite the fact that the Star-Ledger, a respected local New Jersey newspaper, seems to be one of the only mainstream news outlets that ever covered her murder in the first place.
The rest is at the link.
The second is Garden State Equality responds:
This morning, I received three emails via Facebook from Steven Goldstein, chairperson of Garden State Equality, in response to my criticism of their silence concerning the murder of Victoria Carmen White as opposed to their vast publicization and outrage over the suicide of Tyler Clementi.
I hope all is well. Where were we when someone transgender was murdered in Maplewood? Last month, we took to the streets in Maplewood and marched through town, and are working with public officials across the town and county. Where were we when an African-American LGBT person was killed in an Essex County park, probably 15 minutes from Maplewood, this summer? We, along with wonderful LGBT community leaders in Newark, met with public officials, and we are all developing a task force on LGBT issues, including safety issues. We also used our lawyers to get documents that shed light on the problem of police violence against LGBT people and are preparing further action. Where we were when African-American LGBT young women Sakia Gunn and Shani Baraka were murdered? We marched in several of the walks and rallies. Where were we on so many other cases of discrimination involving LGBT people of every gender, gender identity, race and heritage? We were there either leading the way or helping to lead the way with many other fine organizations. With regard to our record on transgender rights, by the way, Garden State Equality led the campaign get the legislature to enact the country’s most sweeping, progressive laws on discrimination against transgender people and to toughen sentences against those who commit hate crimes against transgender people.
I’m sorry your message was deleted from our Facebook page – many volunteers help us run that page – because I would have liked to respond there. Because when you say you will not be silenced, neither will we when criticism is wrong.
Chair, Garden State Equality
Dear Mr. Goldstein:
Thank you for taking the time to respond. Before I continue here, I would like to point out that I consider it disrespectful of Victoria Carmen White, and of trans people in general, that you fail to acknowledge her by name, let alone your usage of the problematic terminology, “someone transgender”. There are many, many resources publicly available to you regarding the respectful reference to human beings who happen to be gender variant. I suggest you avail yourself of some.
Against, the remainder at link.
Now, I cannot disagree strongly enough with the statement in Gemma’s post Tyler chose his fate. I feel this sentence minimizes suicide significantly. I do think it is a fair point that trans women’s murders and suicides are hugely neglected while cis gay men’s deaths are kept front and center (and some trans women are redefined and misappropriated as cis gay men), but I think she makes several good points.
The story is here. Trans panic isn’t what saved the killer this time, but the successful defense was based on assassinating Kellie’s character, painting her as some kind of sexual deviant who got off on life-threatening sex games, and this was just one such game gone wrong.
Kellie Telesford worked as a florist and a beautician
A teenager has been cleared of killing a transsexual woman found strangled in her south London home.
Shanniel Hyatt, 18, denied that he killed Kellie Telesford in a rage after discovering she was a pre-operative transgender female who was born a man.
Her body was found after they engaged in sexual activity at her Thornton Heath flat, the Old Bailey heard.
Mr Hyatt, from Norbury, south London, was found not guilty of murder and an alternative count of manslaughter.
The teenager, a father-of-one whose girlfriend was away at the time of the incident, admitted meeting Ms Telesford for a date and going back to her flat.
He was filmed on CCTV leaving Ms Telesford’s home in the early hours of 18 November last year, using her Oyster travel card to board a bus.
Ms Telesford, who worked as a florist and beautician, was found dead at the flat three days later. She had been strangled with a scarf.
Prosecutor Sally O’Neill told the court that Mr Hyatt stole Ms Telesford’s mobile phone and electronic equipment as well as her Oyster card.
The worst part:
Defending, Joanna Greenberg said Mr Hyatt was a “cheap and nasty thief” but that Ms Telesford was “fit and well” when he left her flat.
She suggested that Ms Telesford may have died during a consensual sex game which went wrong, or that she may have inflicted her fatal injuries herself.
Mr Hyatt said he only realised Ms Telesford was born a man shortly before police interviewed him.
Ms Greenberg said there were no signs that Ms Telesford fought Mr Hyatt, even though she had “a man’s strength”.
Mr Hyatt was remanded in custody on separate immigration matters.
“Ms Telesford may have died during a consensual sex game which went wrong, or that she may have inflicted her fatal injuries herself.” . As Helen G points out (having more information than I do about the trial),
ETA: I can’t figure out where this leaves us with regards to knowing how Kellie Telesford died.
Earlier in the trial, the defence barrister wanted us to believe that Kellie died while playing “kinky sex games” – so, what now? – on her own, after Hyatt had left, taking with him her cellphone and travelcard?
And did she strangle herself before or after she covered her body in the white blanket? – Remember that “the scarf was tied so tightly around her neck [the paramedics] could only get the tips of their fingers inside“…
And what of the “potentially partial DNA evidence” on the scarf that may have come from three or even four people?
Later edit: The more I think about this, the more I…
I mean, they even had the guy on CCTV, leaving her flat, using her Oystercard – and he’s not even guilty of identity theft?
Perhaps we should remember that “Mr Hyatt was remanded in custody on separate immigration matters“. Oh right, yes. That’ll help…
Three days Kellie Telesford lay dead on the floor of her flat.
Three frickin days...
…If you call that ‘justice’…
So, this guy is seen leaving Kellie’s flat, steals her Oystercard, steals other items belonging to her. He is the last person to see her alive, but he goes free because his defense successfully introduced the victim-blaming “she probably died during a sex game gone wrong,” and insisted that Kellie was into kinky sex games. She also suggested that since Kellie was born male, she “had a man’s strength,” even though years on estrogen does affect muscle mass.
So, I realize this is another variation on the “It was her fault” victim-blaming lie. “If she hadn’t worn those clothes, she wouldn’t have been raped,” or “if she hadn’t lied about her genitalia, he wouldn’t have killed her.” Or, “if she hadn’t been playing those immoral kinky sex games, they wouldn’t have killed her.”
I can’t help but think that this has something to do with the idea that trans women are sexually obsessed fetishists, that just being who we are is enough to claim we’re interested in dangerous sex games.
Elly of Red is Undead posted this and I repost the call to action here:
Portugal, Transphobia kills again: international call for action!
Two years after the brutal murder of Gisberta, in Oporto, another transsexual woman was murdered and her body placed in a rubble dumpster in the Lisbon area last month.
Other crimes followed, shocking the country. However, the surge of violence cannot hide neither the victims nor the nature of these crimes. This is the case of Luna, 42, partially deaf, of Brazilian origin, for many years resident and worker in Portugal, prostitute at Conde de Redondo area (in Lisbon).
Two years after Gisberta, transsexual people are still targets for hatred and violence based on prejudice and ignorance. The crime is under investigation and under justice secret, so we know very few about its circumstances or about its motivation; we hope the investigation undertaken by the Police can provide answers.
Nevertheless, we know that transphobia kills and that trans people are more prone to suffer violence than the majority. We know prostitution is often a job for those who have no other way of earning a living, and that it is hard to have a gender different from the one your body suggests. We know prejudice and discrimination are pervasive, that ignorance feeds hatred and generates violence. We know the State, society, all of us, have responsibilities towards the deadly victims, and mainly towards all those other people in whose life the fight for survival coexists with fear and the risks that cause it.
Luna was born a woman although her body suggested otherwise; her body, masculine, didn’t fit her identity. She was being followed at Hospital de Santa Maria by the multidisciplinary team in charge of helping trans people change their bodies; she had projects, wishes and frustrations just like anyone else. She was dear to some people and maybe wished to go back to Brazil, where her family lives. Luna was a woman who fought against many obstacles and, according to newspapers, died victim of great violence, possibly fed by hatred, prejudice and ignorance. Her body was left in a dumpster, hidden by rubble and dust, as if it was garbage, as if her life had not been worth living.
Like all potential victims, trans people need forms of protection that guarantee equality of opportunities and the possibility of a dignified life. They need, like everyone else, of being able to exercise their rights to the development of personality and to self determination – of being able to freely choose their name; they don’t need (nobody does!) identification documents that insist on the use of criteria so voided of real content such as “sex” (even if disguised only as “name” and “justify”, e.g., placing a trans woman in a detention cell with men. Trans people need being seen as people with rights and duties, no more and no less than all other people. Trans people in Portugal need the pedagogy of visibility, way beyond the prostitution or night shows circles. And Portugal needs to see these people without prejudice and fear.
Gender identity is subject the State should have already legislated about; this delay aggravates many trans people’s living (or survival) conditions. When will the legal amendments that allow the actual exercise of civil rights by transsexual and transgendered people come? When will we have legislation that overcomes many politicians’’ retrograding and conservatism and stops to impose petty restrictions? When will we have legislation that stops feeding the daily psychological violence against these people? When will we have legislation that clearly considers that transphobia constitutes aggravating grounds for discrimination, harassment and violence? When will we have a serious commitment towards stopping cases like those of Gisberta and Luna, murdered out of transphobic hatred? When will police forces be provided with more human resources and more and better civic and technical training? When will cooperative approaches substitute the aggressive attitudes lingering among members of the various police forces?
Panteras Rosa – Frente de combate à GayLesBiTransfobia (Pink Panthers – Combat front against GayLesBiTransphobia) reaffirm their commitment towards fighting against transphobia in all of its forms and pay tribute to Luna, prostitute in our city, woman just because!
Lisbon, March 13 2008
Proposal for International Action: on the 24th, 25th or 26th March
That vigils are held, with candles, in special memory of Luna and all of the trans people victim of transphobia.
To be developed by numerous small and big groups in the most (small to big) cities possible.
With banners, just in front of Portuguese embassies or consulates in the cities where they may exist or, for other cities, in squares in front of European ministries, in front of psychiatric hospitals or whichever places contribute to transphobia.
We suggest the following phrases:
Luna trans 42 years old Brazilian, prostitute murdered in Lisbon.
Statistically, how many times more is a trans person in risk of being victim of violence compared to you? And murdered?
According to the context of each country we suggest the phrase:
Stop transphobic laws. How much longer for a law against transphobia?
Or for countries that still haven’t turned transphobia into law:
How much longer for a law against transphobia?
This case is not Portugal specific, it is international and the fight efforts should be done together.
(In practical terms, it should be simpler to organize small groups in different places instead of asking people to mobilize to the Portuguese embassies that are concentrated on the capital cities)
We ask you to publicize this action, to participate in big numbers and to forward testimonials, photos, articles, etc. to email@example.com
The media strengthen transphobia
After the recent murder of one more transexual woman, Luna, occurred in the area of Lisbon, the media focus on the physical aspect of the victims in the most sensationalist manner – thus making it more important than the murder itself. A few words about the murder follow, as if this is was a clear and natural explanation of the cause of such murder – lingering in the detaileded description of the unusual physical aspect of the victim. At the hands of the media the most important becomes the victim’s unusual body, placing the murder on the background.
Speaking – depending on the attempt (or not) not to seem transphobic – of a transsexual with a man’s body (a pruddish way to say “with penis”, of a man dressed in women’s clothes, or of a transvestite with breasts. Some even speak of homophobia.
The picture emerging of such articles is that the victim is a monstrosity displayed to feed the public curiosity, without any respect neither for her gender nor for the intimacy of her body, and giving the impression that it is almost (or even absolutely) normal that these people be murdered.
The other image conveyed in this way is that being trans is wanting to mislead “the world” by using a disguise particularly well arranged to give a misleading appearance of men and women… And if they deceive the world is of course natural that the deceived people react.
This kind of speech from the media is, unfortunately, far from applying only to murder — it is used in almost all broadcasts, articles, and interviews on trans subjects.
The Portuguese media, with no exception, satisfy also with the description of the trans person’s precarity situation – wether it is on prostitution, drugs, having HIV, no papers, no house – as if these lives were a choice of the victims, describing them hiding that it is transphobia that generates this precarity, and presenting as scandalous not only the “choice” of being trans, but also the choice of the life style, turning the victims into immoral and chocking persons and continuing in this way to promote transphobia, the precarity of the trans lives, and the fact that they are among the persons most likely to suffer agression. The presence of the trans person in the Mental Diseases List, to frequently legitimates the media, when they concede expression to the trans, to credit or discredit it trough persons of the medical corps, reinforcing the idea that the word of a trans has no value for itself.