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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Advisory: US First Anti-Transgender Murder Trial Coverage Set To Begin

Next Tuesday, April 14th, Angie Zapata’s alleged murderer goes on trial in Colorado. For the first time ever, an anti-transgender murder will be prosecuted as a hate crime in the United States.  With the Matthew Shepard Act (or formally “The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009”) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week and the bill expected to be introduced in the Senate within the next couple of weeks, this trial is a timely reminder of the need for federal hate crimes legislation.

Free Flight New Media will provide daily updates for this landmark trial at FREE FLIGHT NEW MEDIA starting April 13th through the duration of this trial. Cross Posts To Motley Moose.


Angie Zapata was brutally murdered in Greeley, Colorado in July 2008. Angie was a transgender woman and she was murdered because of anti-transgender bias.

On April 14, 2009, her alleged killer will go on trial in Greeley, Colorado. The trial marks the first time that Colorado’s gender identity-inclusive hate crimes statute-and in fact any state’s hate crimes law-has been applied in the investigation and prosecution of an anti-transgender murder case.

The tragic circumstances of Angie’s death gives Coloradans an opportunity to better understand Angie’s life and the lives of transgender people. It offers a chance to talk about the importance of Colorado’s hate crime law. And it highlights the need to stop excluding people from the protections of a federal hate crimes law simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Coverage will also be cross-posted to reach the widest audience for this landmark trial and legislation.

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  1. Well, perhaps more than one.  This should be an eye-opener and a conversation-starter that makes more people have more honest discussions, maybe make being a violent homophobic asshat a less cool thing.

    I hate to say it in this context, but I am not a supporter of hate crime laws as such.  I think this person deserves the full justice of the law with all of the motivations of his crime considered, which should be enough.  What happened to Angie and to Matthew are horrible and heinous crimes which should incur the maximum weight of the system.

    Thanks for promoting this story.  The greatest gift we can give Angie is to let her story change the world.


    Just a quick note of thanks for the discussion on this topic. I anticipate next week when the trail begins that there will be a lot of different reactions, regardless of the final court outcome.

    Again, thanks to all for your insight. Most helpful.

  3. you’re no dummy   (0.00 / 0)

    our universe is bounded by the limits of language. When you name something properly or truly or accurately (that’s the hope, to be accurate) it opens up room for thinking, and may bring new ideas.

    I’ll give you an example. Back when I was blogging for Hillary, and Barack was viewed as being her victim, I coined ‘manufactured outrage,’ and it took off, changed into other terms, like faux outrage, and now outrage is called out by nearly everyone. It was there, but as it wasn’t named, it couldn’t be spoken of.  if there is no signifier, then there is no possibility to change understanding. Not that meaning (or signification) stays the same, not by a long shot, now outrage is cliche and pretty  much meaningless.  But for a few moments it helped us talk about what we were experiencing, or what we saw, even when it took the form of refusing to accept it as an true observation, it demanded thinking.  To refute is also to think.

    This is the same with hate crimes, and the poor understanding speaks to the limit of this signifier, which is used for many meanings and doesn’t lead to much, unless you flesh it out, sort of, and say, well what is this hate, what’s the consequence of it. Why is this person hated and not that other one.  The crux of this ‘meaning’ is that there are some humans who are deemed undesirable, and so killing them isn’t experienced as as important, or as ‘equal’ as other killings.  You see this in our intrepid media, which makes a big deal about a blond, blue-eyed kidnap victim and ignores kidnapping when it’s children of color.  There are many examples, that speak to a bias in favor of one human life over another one. I have no name for this, maybe you can think up one.    

    In that way naming things properly is a societal good, not that good necessarily is always all that good, and good has a way of degenerating, as you point out,  after all most bad is done in the name of good.  

    Here’s one that’s changed the way things are perceived. A few years back women who were forced into prostitution were called forced prostitutes. didn’t get much traction, cause it sounds like forced labor, and doesn’t take into account the unique horror of rape.  But now it’s called sex slaves, and the debate is moving.

    What if young boys who are raped in prison were called something other than young boys raped in prison. For instance, what if we called them prison sex slaves, might that not help ‘show’ what a unique horror that is?  And perhaps lead to some protections for raped prisoners?

    This is the debate on ‘framing,’ and shows my difference with some linguists who are trying to influence to a particular outcome. Like Operation Iraqi Freedom, to my mind these are jokes, because they don’t reflect truth. I prefer trying to name what is really there, not trying to make something into something else through a catchy title.  And if that name brings on something good in the world, great, but even if it does not, maybe its time hasn’t come or something, too early or too late, but if it doesn’t have a real world consequence, there is still the thinking consequences, which to my mind is good enough.  

    What a relief!

    by: anna shane @ Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 15:01:15 PM

    Please don’t tell me that you believe you invented the term “manufactured outrage.” 🙂

    What you want to call hate crimes have been defined for centuries. Look at the way Jews have been vilified through the centuries.

    You see this in our intrepid media, which makes a big deal about a blond, blue-eyed kidnap victim and ignores kidnapping when it’s children of color.

    What you see there is the decision on the part of the news media that blue-eyed blond children are likely to bring more viewers. It’s all about the demographics. There are more white people in this country than there are people of color, although this is changing and will eventually be reflected in the media. And don’t forget, those whites control more of the money the advertisers for those news shows want to get.

    This is my last comment on this subject.

    “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

    By any other name would smell as sweet”

    And a murder by any other name would be as foul.

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