Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Trans Panic" A Rant

It's been a while since I did a political jawn on this blog.  It's long overdue.  This one is gonna get partisan, dear readers, so if that's not your cup of meat, well, you've been warned.

First, read THIS.

Synopsis:  Cincinatti Transwoman murdered.  Body dumped.  Relatives saying "oh it wasn't hate... HE shouldn't be pretending to be a woman."  Media:  ummm well... (analysis mine)

Then there's THIS, a little closer to home for me.

Synopsis:  Philadelphia Transwoman murdered: stabbed, dismembered, body dumped.  Media:  well, she shouldn't have been posing as a woman (analysis mine).

So.  Word around Philly is that the Philly murderer will use "Trans panic defense," and I wouldn't be surprised if the Ohio guy does as well.

What is "trans panic?"  Well the LGBT Bar explains it this way:

Gay and trans “panic” defense tactics ask a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s excessively violent reaction. The perpetrator claims that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity not only explain – but excuse – their loss of self-control and subsequent assault of an LGBT individual.   (Citation HERE.)

So.  Two murders.  Two out of many.  What do these murders have in common?  A "so called liberal media" demonizing the victims is one.  The violence of the act is another.

Hmmm let's examine something else.  Ohio's state government is top to bottom solidly GOP.  So is Pennsylvania's.  Neither are too welcoming to LGBT.  Pennsylvania recently started allowing same sex marraiges due to a court decision, and Governor Corbett, facing poor poll numbers in an election year, decided to throw a bone to the "liberals" and not pursue it.  Ohio bans same sex marraige in its constitution and by statute. 

Neither states have many legal protections, if any for Transpeople.  Some localities, like Philadelphia do, but in general it's hostile.

I'm not saying these murders are the GOP's fault.  Far from.  However their intolerance at the top breeds the example.  Pin headed Fox News fanatics are shown, not told: SHOWN, that it's ok to hate.  And so they do.  Why?

It's easier to hate than to love.

I woke up this morning to see an editorial by activist extraordinaire Kristin Beck on this same topic.  Her point is that FOUR transwomen have been murdered in the past month.  She admonishes us all to be safe.

I echo this.  Be safe.  They HATE us for being who we are.

We Are Trans.  We were born this way.

Me: July 2, 2014


  1. If your point is that more people need to be educated about the T population then we agree.
    If your point is that these murders occured solely because the victims were T I am not sure we have enough specifics to make that determination but we likely will agree.
    If your point is that there may be merit to a G/T panic defense I tend to think we part company. Any lawyer who lets his client try that defense gambit is a fool. Any client who thinks a jury will have sympathy or accept some version of a 'heat of the moment' defense is living in fool's paradise.
    While a blame the victim defense has been effective from time to time and it has had plenty of air time in the commercial media I think that most smart attorneys would fear a jury backlash and would only use it if that were all that was left. I also suspect it is used in plea negotiations but if it were me doing the legal strategy I would be very leery of using a defense that had the chance of enflaming even one juror.
    Just my two cents.

    Good and thoughtful post except for the knee jerk cheap shot at the GOP and Fox. A label of hatred on all GOP and Fox people fits about as well as one size fits all pantyhose but it is a common tactic employed by haters to call others haters first.

  2. Bravo, as a trans man living in the bowels of Alabama, have seen my state more tolerant than it was when I was in high school, not even knowing what transgender was, but knowing at a early age I was a guy, not the girl everyone wanted me to be, any way, I know first hand about the violence, in the sixties I was attacked by 4 fellow classmates in high school, beaten, raped, and stabbed, nothing was done, everyone said I was asking for it I nearly died, one other time the same group of guys did it again, this time they sliced me open and left me for dead, I was lucky, I am 63 years old and never gave in or up. My heart aches harder than most for the loss of these beautiful sisters, I pray daily and I stand my ground for all transgender brothers and sisters, that not another will fall at the hands of hatred.