Misogyny and the Murdering of Transsexual/Transgender Women

The party line is that the sisters who show up on the Day of Remembrance list of those murdered is that they were murdered simply because they are TS or TG. The implication that this crime could happen to woman who ever bore the label of a trans prefixed word.

Except this is an over simplification of such proportion as to make the entire premise a lie.

These crimes do not happen to just anyone who is transsexual or transgender.  At least not the sort of crime I posted the report on where a transwoman performer was found murdered outside the club where she worked.

If the only nexus of these murders were the detail of the victim being either transsexual or transgender then TS/TG people would be occasionally murdered in brutal hate crimes in the parking lots of suburban malls.

If hate were the only factor then the murderers would arrive on church buses after a sermon from one of the pulpit snake ministers and commit the crime in day light in West Hollywood. While I consider faith based hate, a major element for it to go from an ideology to a practice requires a catalyst.

On Feministing, Jessica Valenti wrote to the effect that the worst thing you can say to someone is that, they act like a girl (sissy) even when they are a girl. Misogyny is the philosophy that has as core that women are inferior to men and that it is therefore the right of men to dominate women. Misogyny is one of the core tenets of the desert origin monotheistic religions.

The idea that women are inferior and are the property of men, never to even possess clear ownership of a last name that truly belongs to them and is not a label as to they’re being the property of first a father and then a husband. In the religion based marriage ritual, the father gives ownership of his daughter to her new owner who gives her a new last name.

We have Purity Balls and Princess Cults pushed by the patriarchal religions where fathers take their daughters and give their princesses rings in exchange for promises of maintaining virginity until their father gives them to their new owner (husband) who then has ownership of this unsullied by sexual intercourse vagina.

For as god rules over man, man rules over women. Or in the words of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Woman is the Nigger of the World”. Women are seen not only as inferior but as potentially contaminating by their attributed power to lure men into committing evil. After all, Eve created as an after thought tempted Adam by offering the fruit of knowledge leading to the expulsion from paradise by the petty sky being who supposedly created them. But not only were they both expelled from paradise but all women were cursed with eternal inferiority.

Now this brings us to biblical abomination clauses that impact transsexual and transgender women. There are two: One in Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. The second in Leviticus 18: 22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

Well there you have it two clauses that condone violence against transsexual and transgender women.

As I pointed out earlier though the application of violence falls unequally upon those who are transsexual or transgender women and tends not to happen at random on say University campuses or at the mall.

Let’s for a moment return to those Purity Balls and virgins. Good girls, equal good property. In some forms of Islam, the standards are so high as to require women to wear chador or burqa. Woe onto a women seen conversing to a man who is not a father, brother, son or husband. Adultery or simply sleeping around and acting free can subject a woman in these cultures either to honor killings perpetrated by their family or to Sharia imposed death by stoning.

This is the dichotomy of good girl/woman vs. slut. Now here is where another interesting nexus of misogynistic transphobia occurs. Any woman who has ever had a trans prefixed word used as a descriptive term used either for her or for a process she has gone through is automatically a slut as well as an abomination. For the record it isn’t just the patriarchal religious who automatically consider transsexuals or transgenders as to fall outside the veil of social protection granted “good” normborn women and girls. Way too often we have found certain elements in the feminist community who use some extremely twisted logic to preach a variation on the patriarchal religious based anti-transsexual and transgender hate speech.

So the justification is there. All women born transsexual or women born transgender are sluts. Now the majority of us pass as non-sluts and that explains why we aren’t murdered at random on campuses, at malls, at work. We pass as non-slut ordinary women and generally get the same protections granted good girls/women. Make no mistake about the value of that protection in modern western society it means we can have relative freedom as long as we are circumspect in our behavior. Thanks to modern feminism, we can own our own names as well as property. We are no longer property. At least legally, we have many equal rights yet the phrase “traditional values’ should always set off alarm bells and warn us that many would return us to the level of chattel.

Traditional values are misogynistic and homophobic values. Indeed, one might argue that all homophobia and all transphobia is actually misogyny in a different drag. For that matter, what is the bigotry directed at male homosexuals about if not due to their taking the role of women when having sex. Or the injunction against cross dressing if not aimed at males who act as women or for that matter women who claim the same role as men?

In western society, there is a tradition some describe as chivalry. In the negative, it enforces the ideology of misogyny by promoting the idea of women as lesser. On the positive side it enters the gendering process by teaching little boys that it is wrong to hit girls. As children enter adulthood and the disparity in general strength and size increases this aspect sets up an internalized message that just because one is bigger and stronger than women doesn’t give one the right to generally brutalize women.

In fact, we have laws that enforce these cultural imperatives.

But during that childhood period while we are turning boys into men we teach them to be tough and hate anything sissy or feminine about themselves. As Jessica said, being feminine and girly is viewed in the negative even for girls.

Growing up for transkids is often a period of uninterrupted violent abuse from both parents and peers during which time they are subjected to constant efforts to force them into masculinity.

Bullies, the tough “real boys”, the jocks are given license by both schools and society to abuse and degrade transkids. “Psychiatrists” like Joseph Nicolosi think that this is a good thing as it discourages transkids from growing up to be transsexual or transgender. The reality is that it creates suicides, psychiatric problems and substance abuse.

It also creates murderers. By giving the bullies a license to abuse society is training them to hate transkids for something they were born, something transkids can’t change although they may learn to hide their being trans as a survival skill.

In sports programs male jocks are called girls if they show pain or fatigue and the message is strengthened that anything sissy or feminine about themselves is to be killed.

Now we have so many churches and ultra right wing organizations across the land scapegoating all LGBT/T people. Whipping out the scare tactic of men in the women’s room since that tactic worked so well thirty years ago when the same conservatives used it to defeat the ERA.

Through out American history the hate mongers of the conservatives be they the Concerned Citizens Councils (KKK) or the Republicans, James Dobson, or Pat Robertson, drug addicted hysterical radio talk show hosts have egged on the thugs. They keep their hands clean and maintain their innocence when some goon hopped up on the hate they preached goes out and strangles, stabs, shoots or bludgeons to death a transsexual or transgender woman.

Yet even the victims are not chosen at random. The victims are often young and newly out, eager to experience the same lives that their normborn female peers experience. Yet they lack the socialization, the street smarts to recognize danger when it enters their lives. The truth is that the vast majority of men are not going to hurt them, especially if the girl is feminine in appearances and personality. The underground papers in every major city have ads by transsexual and transgender sex workers and the reality is that their clients are straight men, maybe looking for a little kink but straight none the less.

So who are the victims? They are often sex workers of the lower strata of the sex industry. As women, they fall outside the good girl/good property entitled to protection category. They aren’t TS/TG women who are Doctors, lawyers, engineers or well known authors.

They are of the lumpen prole class. That class below working class composed of people who live by quick wit and hustle. They are of a class that proper society doesn’t much give a damned about. The main interest the police have with them is not in protecting and serving them but in arresting and imprisoning them.

Many are non-white. Either African American or Latina. In a world where racism still carries a big club and wears a suit or police uniform as often as a Klan robe this means crimes against people of color are often treated less seriously than crimes against white middle class people.

When I read the details of Angie Zapata’s murder I thought of some conversations I had with some teenage transkids in East Hollywood.

I remembered one kid telling me she couldn’t get a Latino man to use a condom because he wasn’t a ‘fag’ and only ‘fags’ got AIDS and had to wear condoms. She sero-converted to HIV positive before she turned 19… She explained that the pictures and booklets, all written from the point of view of the white gay community showed her how to use a condom but never taught her how to get a Latino man to use one.

Another Latina transkid had a boyfriend who hit her and left her with visible bruises. She thought that meant he was a real man and that he loved her since he cared enough to beat her when she didn’t please him

When we listen to rap and hip-hop we hear the same misogynistic message. Men on top, women on the bottom. Slap the bitch around.

All this is condoning violence against women.

Then there are men out there who are killers, who have so ingrained the misogynistic messages both religious and cultural that women are less than human, evil even and it is okay to rape, hurt and murder them.

But, like all bullies they are cowards so they go after women who are outside the protections society offers women who live within the rules of the patriarchy. This means they feel free to hurt women who are promiscuous or sex workers. Women whose very legitimacy as women has been questioned by their religious leaders and those who extol traditional family values such as, “If I found out my kid wuz a queer, I’d kill ‘em.”

These grown up bullies have been socialized and rewarded for their years of abusing sissies and transkids. The schools not only didn’t punish them severely for beating the crap out of those sissy or transkids, even when the abuse destroyed those sissy or transkids access to an education, but these were often kids who became the alpha male leaders , either jocks or gang members.

Thus socializing them to commit the horrendous misogynistic crimes, we see them committing later.

Their commitment to enforcing the idea of proper gender behavior is reinforced by 99% of pop culture from beer ad and action movies to the incredibly lame book of some thirty years ago, “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” Gender this, gender that. These murderers are the thug army of the misogynistic patriarchal system patrolling the edges, ready to beat or kill those who violate the rules by their being born different. It matters not if is a Brandon Teena, an early stage female to male transsexual. Raping her was to put him in her place. Killing him was because he had the audacity to expect the same legal protections of his life and dignity that are the due of normborns.

This brings us to Angie Zapata and the alleged murderer’s lame defense. “She deceived me. When I found out it was a guy I had to kill it.”

This is not a defense. This is a confession. Now as the case unfolds it appears even some conservative WBTs were wrong. Angie did tell him about her physical being. They met in traffic court where she was addressed by her birth name. They exchanged some 700 text messages.

I know the story. I’ve been around. Being assigned to the lumpen proletarian underclass means that the men one tends to meet are also of that class. I used to call them “The just got outtas.” My boyfriend was a Marine Corp deserter and that made him one-step up from the jailbirds.

Besides… The years of beatings as well as assignment to the lowest of social classes because of what you are has turned your self-esteem to a pile of dog crap. Any affection offered can blind you. And these criminals are often not only murderers but con-artists.

I want the this guy to be found guilty of first degree murder with special circumstances for both the hate crime and the grand theft auto as well as credit cards. Then I want him to receive the maximum penalty one can receive in Colorado, which is a death penalty state. I don’t want him to spend life without parole as I know that in prison he will continue to victimize the smaller and weaker, the feminine and gay prisoners by raping them.

I then want hate crimes laws everywhere in this country. I want laws against bullying in schools. And I want these laws enforced. I want the lives and rights of transsexual and transgender people as protected as the lives and rights of normborns.

I want my equal protections as my rights as an American citizen. I want my human rights as a human. I want those of us who are born different to have the same exact rights as normborns and if they have to pass special laws to make sure we get that equal treatment then so be it.