Gwen Araujo murder trial begins
Defense blames the victim
A year and a half ago, I did a cartoon ("Shallow Grave") about the brutal muder of a young transgender woman, Gwen Araujo. The trial of three of her killers began this week. Planetout has a roundup of articles on the case. The killers are using the hideous "transgender panic" defense (a variation on the classic "gay panic" defense)--i.e., that they were so filled with disgust and revulsion on discovering Araujo was transgender that they COULDN'T HELP but beat her brutally and strangle her to death over a period of two hours? Not only is the defense blaming the victim, they're implying bigotry is actually an EXCUSE for brutal murder? (This is hardly a perfect analogy, but would a gang of racists who killed a light-skinned woman after discovering she was of African or other non-white descent be allowed to do the same?) This is the same awful argument the defense used in a (failed) attempt to get the murder charges dismissed altogether.
(As a sidenote, I have to say I was disappointed to hear my favorite new station, Air America Radio, referring to Gwen as "Eddie")
Nothing will bring Gwen back. But we can try to remember her (and the countless other transgender people whose lives were cut short by hatred and bigotry), and to fight for transgender rights and equality. So, FYI, at the end of this month (April 28-30), the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition is holding Lobbying Days on nondiscrimination and hate crimes issues in Washington DC.