Sunday, October 5, 2008

In Memory Of A Sweet 17 Year Old Transgender Girl.

It is now past midnight here in Malaysia. Almost everybody are enjoying the weekend off at the clubs or movies, or even with drinks at a chinese restaurant somewhere. In the United States, it would be morning. Most everyone would be at work, sipping away their coffee fixating themselves in front of a LCD monitor, and for some they would still be sleeping after night shift work. But unknown to many, except for those at Bay Area San Fransisco, someone would still remember. There probably would be a candlelight vigil last night there, and it would be for someone who had died barely hours ago, 6 years back, killed by a manifested hatred disguised as an excuse to murder. The victim at that time was only 17-years old.

I blogged about it last year, and until today it is something very personal to me, something I find difficult to forget. Because that girl had everything going for her. A loving family with an accepting mother, and a life we all could learn from. While most of us are still in our closets passing as boys at the same age, she came out and just be who she is. In the recorded statement surrounding her murder, the last words were uttered and it is a testament of her heart. “Please don't. I have a family...”. She was defenseless against the beatings of a few youths. I will revisit again the events that happened that night.

Imagine yourself in her position. 5 hours of torture. You are kicked, punched, hit by hard objects (frying pans, barbells, cans), beaten, knocked, kneed to the wall, strangled and stoned. Then your body is tied and buried like piece of shit. Is there a good reason, or a sane reason for you to be in that circumstance? Michael Magidson, Jaron Nabors, José Merél and Paul Merel had no reason to do what they did. Three of them are just serving served 6 to 11 years in prison. Now why is that? The reason for the verdict was because they did not know she was transsexual. Does that mean it is okay to kill someone because I do not know a Middle Eastern man was an American? Is it okay if I torture someone for 5 hours because I do not know that Christian boyfriend of mine was actually a Moslem?

That hence lies the point. There is no excuse, this is extreme transphobia. If I do not know something about someone I would ask, or if I finally know something I do not know, I would just walk off if I am sad. No one would even excuse themselves for murdering a mouse just because they do not know it was a guinea pig, unless they actually hate the mouse, enough to stone it to death or to fry it. And this was a human being at 17 years of age. Gwen Araujo was murdered not because she was concealing her transsexual status (it does not matter to her mind you, as she was very assured she is everything a girl can be). She was murdered because she is a transsexual. Period. I believe even the best anger management masters can tell you, no one gets into a rage so strong that they, again for 5 hours, beat a person up to death. Unless it is intentionally done so to make sure that the person is dead. And it takes great hate to kill.

And the end point is clear. She is dead. They would probably get parole or released in a few years time and goes back into society, living peacefully and quietly. But somewhere in San Fransisco, someone's daughter, sister and friend is gone forever. Sylvia Guerrero now lives by her transsexual daughter's memory, on a crusade to create awareness, and make sure no one will be harmed by such bigoted idiots with such excuses ever again. Of course, the hurt and the news may eventually be buried in history. But the fact remains that everyday transgender woman, especially transgender woman of colour, are murdered at a worrying rate. And the trend of excuses remains the same. Trans panic? Or really, is it not time for us to examine our expectations in another person, on their gender, gender conformity and our responsibility?


A documentary movie surrounding the events of Gwen Araujo's death and the subsequent trial, "Trained In The Ways Of Men":

"Please don't. I have a family..." were her last words. Powerful documentary Trained in the Ways of Men explores the controversial events surrounding the violent murder of Gwen Araujo in Newark, California—a murder that shocked the country when it made national headlines.

From CNN to The New York Times, the case attracted famous attorneys, spawned a made-for-TV movie, compelled almost 1000 people to attend Gwen Araujo's memorial service and thousands more to march in the streets demanding justice. Trained in the Ways of Men is an exploration of the provocative complexities of gender identity; what does it mean to be a man or a woman?

Leaving no stone unturned, Director Shelly Prevost scrupulously examines the murder trial and provides numerous interviews with Gwen Araujo's mother Sylvia and the attorneys involved in the case. Trained in the Ways of Men ultimately encourages us to turn the camera on ourselves and unearth our own buried prejudices and fears.

Buy the DVD at Cinequest Online

Watch Trained in the Ways of Men on Jaman NOW

A video tribute to Gwen Amber Rose Araujo ---',-@ :

Rest In Peace, My Beautiful Sister.

1 comment:

Kelli Busey said...

Thank you for caring, We lift our sisters and brothers up on our shoulders. We will pray on our DOR for our sweet sister.