poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

By Carolyn Laub  
April 19, 2004 - One week into the murder trial of Newark, CA teen, Gwen Araujo, defense attorneys are trying to blame the victim by focusing the jury on Ms. Araujo's conduct. Trying to deflect attention from the actions of their clients, defense attorneys raised questions about what Araujo was wearing on the night of the murder, whether she "deceived" her attackers, and whether revelation of her transgender status caused at least one defendant to become upset "beyond reason."

"The defense attorneys are so desperate in this case that they are presenting 1974 arguments in 2004," said Julie Dorf, Director of Philanthropic Services at San Francisco's Horizons Foundation. Dorf, who helped start the Gwen Araujo Memorial Fund at the Foundation added, "We reject the use of an updated 'gay panic' defense in the form of some kind of 'trans panic' defense. Our society has learned to stop blaming the victims of violence for the conduct of their attackers."

"One reason the defense lawyers think they can get away with these arguments is because of pervasively negative stereotypes about transgender women," said Christopher Daley, Co-Director of the Transgender Law Center. "Clearly, like all transgender people, Gwen wasn't deceiving anyone when she dressed like and presented herself as the young woman that she truly was. And just like transgender people in any other context - work, housing, school, etc -- she was under no obligation to disclose her gender identity to anyone - including the defendants."

In addition to focusing on Araujo's conduct instead of the defendants', at least one defense attorney is also claiming that no hate crime was committed. "The definition of a hate crime is very simple," said Tina D'Elia, Hate Crimes Project Manager at Community United Against Violence. "In this case, it's a crime committed because Gwen was transgender. Had she not been transgender, she wouldn't have been murdered."


Possible hate crime investigation
Suspect made anti-gay remarks
April 20, 2004 — Chicago police search for suspects in a North Side attack that is considered a possible "hate crime." The attack took place near Halsted and Buckingham.

Michael Banko said he pulled into an alley, where he encountered two cars blocking his way. When Banko approached the driver, she allegedly attacked him. Another woman and a man joined in the assault. Banko says they yelled anti gay slurs while they beat him. They fled after Banko's friend called police.

Police say the woman was driving a 1997 or 98, white Jeep with Illinois license plate number 5002531. The second car may be a gray Honda.

So far, police are not saying this is an outright hate crime but the Civil Rights Division is investigating.


Be aware of queers!
That's right kids, it's Queer Awareness Week and Portland State University's very own Queers and Allies has an entire week of goodies planned for the student body.

The week's festivities began yesterday with an old fashioned game of "Guess the Het," where students tried their hand at testing their own "gaydars." Today Robyn Ochs, activist and co-founder of the Bisexual Resource Center, will be giving a lecture entitled "Understanding Bisexuality."

One of the week's larger events, the Day of Silence, will be taking place on Thursday, and is sponsored by the Oregon State Students Equal Rights Alliance. Students on campus will be vowing to take a daylong vow of silence in protest of the silence that the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered communities have had to endure within American society.


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