poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, April 15, 2004

'Humiliation' Turned To Manslaughter In Araujo Case
HAYWARD, Calif. -- A man accused of killing a transgender teen is guilty not of murder but of "classic manslaughter" brought on by the discovery that he had sex with a man, a defense attorney said Thursday

"It brought shame and humiliation, shock and revulsion," said attorney Michael Thorman, who is representing Michael Magidson, 23, one of three men charged with killing Eddie "Gwen" Araujo.

Araujo, 17, was beaten and strangled in October 2002 after her biological gender was roughly revealed by the people she thought were her friends.

The killing drew national attention to the issue of violence against people whose identity conflicts with their biology.

Prosecutor Chris Lamiero, making his opening statement Wednesday, called the death an execution and described Magidson as a tough guy with something to prove and the man who pulled the rope tight around Araujo's neck.


Lawyer: Lust, Lies, Drugs Led to TG Death

HAYWARD (BCN) -- A prosecutor described for jurors Thursday a toxic combination of lust, ego, deception, alcohol and drugs that led to the brutal murder of Newark transgender teenager Eddie Araujo, who also was known as "Gwen" and "Lida."
In his opening statement in the murder trial of three young men accused of killing Araujo, 17, early in the morning of Oct. 4, 2002, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Chris Lamiero said the defendants killed Araujo when they found out that the beautiful girl they had sex with actually was biologically male.

Michael Magidson, 23, of Fremont, and Newark residents Jose Merel and Jason Cazares, both 24, "thought that they were deceived, and the wages of Eddie Araujo's sin of deception were death," Lamiero said.

Speaking to jurors in the packed and tightly guarded 90-seat courtroom of Judge Harry Sheppard, Lamiero said Magidson, Merel and Cazares, along with a fourth man who has cut a deal with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against the others, beat and strangled Araujo at Merel's home in Newark and then buried the body in a shallow grave in a remote area near Lake Tahoe.

The case has drawn national attention to violence against people who believe their identity is at odds with their biology.

Julie Dorf of a San Francisco-based group called the Horizons Foundation attended the trial Thursday, as did many other people interested in transgender issues. The group has served the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the Bay Area for more than 20 years, Dorf said, and today she issued a news release stating that Araujo's death shows the need for increased education around transgender issues, particularly for school-aged youth.


Attorneys describe defendants as quiet, soft-spoken
By Michelle Locke

HAYWARD – A defense attorney for one of three men charged with killing a transgender teen described his client as a quiet, even-tempered man caught up by ungovernable passions the night he discovered he had unwittingly had sex with a man.

"What followed was absolute pandemonium and chaos," said attorney Michael Thorman, who described the killing as "classic manslaughter," not murder.
Thorman is representing Michael Magidson, 23, who along with Jason Cazares and Jose Merel, both 24, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Eddie "Gwen" Araujo.

A fourth man initially charged in the case, 20-year-old Jaron Nabors, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and has been promised a sentence of 11 years in exchange for testifying against his friends.


Spain To Legalize Gay Marriage
by Malcolm Thornberry Newscenter

(Madrid) Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told Parliament Thursday that he intends to move forward with plans to legalize gay marriage and grant equal rights to gay couples.

"The moment has finally arrived to end once and for all the intolerable discrimination which many Spaniards suffer because of their sexual preferences," Zapatero said during a debate which will end with a vote to confirm him in office.

"Homosexuals and transsexuals deserve the same public consideration as heterosexuals," he said. "As a result we will modify the Civil Code to recognize their equal right to marriage with the resulting effects over inheritance, labor rights and social security protection."
The move follows a pledge Zapatero's Socialist party made to woo gay voters in the last election. Last month, immediately following the election, he repeated the pledge in a television interview. But, this is the first time, he has announced his intentions in Parliament.


Gay And Lesbian Couples Protest

While many people are rushing to the post office to mail in their tax returns, members of Virginia's gay and lesbian community have gathered at a post office in Fredericksburg to protest.

The men and women gathered at the post office to protest what they say is taxation with discrimination. They carried signs with slogans saying "Tax me the same, treat me the same" and "Tax me, then marry me".

They tell 8News what they're protesting is a government's refusal to grant them the right to a civil marriage and the same tax breaks allowed heterosexual married couples.
Similar protests are being held in cities across the nation. However, it's believed the protest in Fredericksburg is the only one of its kind in Virginia.


Silence spreads message of tolerance

On a spring day last year, Adam Wilson went to school determined not to talk.

He was trying to make a point.
Along with thousands of other high school students across the country, the Loy Norrix High School student was participating in the nationwide Day of Silence, an event meant to protest discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their allies. Wilson, a member of the school's gay-straight alliance, wasn't going to say a word. He got part-way to his goal.
More than halfway into the day, though, he broke his silence because other students were taunting him, Wilson said.
"It's hard not to talk," the 17-year-old said. "I got fed up with the comments."
He thinks things will be different this year. On Wednesday, the junior will be among about 300 area high school students expected to participate in the 2004 Day of Silence.


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