Is Undercutting a ‘Gay Panic’ Defense Worth the Possibility of Erasing a Trans Life?

From Gay City News:

A suspect, 26-year-old Juan Martínez Matos, was arrested three days after the murder, and the prosecutor in the case, Jose Bermudez Santos, told the newspaper El Nuevo Dia that Martínez confessed to killing López and mutilating his body. In his confession, Martínez claimed he’d met López while looking for a woman in an area known for prostitution, that López was dressed as a female, and that he killed and mutilated him after discovering he was a man.

But NGLTF’s [Pedro Julio] Serrano contradicted the implications in the confessed murderer’s account of the crime.

“None of Jorge Steven’s friends, and I’ve spoken to many of them, knew anything about his ever having engaged in sex work, not his family, and not the police,” Serrano, who met with investigators on the case, told this reporter. “Nor was he known as a cross-dresser. He identified and lived as a very proud gay man, he was very genuine and authentic. He was just very fashion-oriented and what you could call a gender-bender, but not in a transgendered way.”

Well gee, if any of his friends and/or family have the attitude toward trans people and issues that certain elitists on the mainland do, would it be any wonder that Jorge might never tell any of them about being a cross-dresser or possibly even a transsexual?

Make no mistake: I’m not discounting the very real possibility that Serrano could be on the money about all of this; as of right now, we really don’t know for sure.  However, it does seem that he’s a bit too eager to find an excuse to permanently chisel Jorge off of Remembering Our Dead and claim Jorge as a homosexually pure gay male martyr.

But he works for NGLTF, currently Transgender Civil Rights Project-ed by a non-trans woman, and formerly Executively Directed by a guy who, in his job before that, refused to take a principled stand against New York giving gays and lesbians the special right to discriminate against trans people.

And he works there as a “Communications Director.”

Let’s refer back up to a communication that he directed:

He identified and lived as a very proud gay man, he was very genuine and authentic. He was just very fashion-oriented and what you could call a gender-bender, but not in a transgendered way

Hmmmmmmmmm…..

You mean like Roy Cohn was homosexual, but not in a gay way?  Or was it gay, but not in a homosexual way?

Here’s a trans legal refresher:

[H]aving or being perceived as having an emotional, physical, or sexual attachment to another person without regard to the sex of that person or having or being perceived as having an orientation for such attachment, or having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one’s biological maleness or femaleness.

That’s the critical portion of Minnesota’s definition of “sexual orientation.”

What sort of “gender-bend[ing]” would not be encompassed by that language – the transgender clause of the definition?

Transgender – the big, bad umbrella term?

Now again, I’m going to repeat: Serrano may be onto something.  If so, I can understand wanting to preclude the accused killer from using a ‘gay panic’ defense.  Yet, there is no reason for being so willing – eager even – to discount any possibility of there being some trans aspect to Mercado’s life (sorry, but the minute I saw his photos, I wondered if there was a trans element wither to his life or to the murder – or both); and there is even less reason for anyone privileged with the ability to draw a paycheck from working at an LGB(T) rights organization to utter something as out-of-touch as “gender-bender, but not in a transgendered way.”

10 Responses to Is Undercutting a ‘Gay Panic’ Defense Worth the Possibility of Erasing a Trans Life?

  1. Kathy says:

    The juxtaposition of gender expression with one being out and proud is an unfortunate phrasing.

    Really though – it was just being “fashion forward” – not gender expression? Besides the long history of people making the I’m not crossdressed, it’s just fashion argument later coming out trans – whoever they’re attracted to – the blindingly obvious fact that anyone who works for a national organization should know in their bones:

    it’s not about how a victim identifies – it’s about how a perp percieves the victim

    which is why the murder of those poor straight men who were holding hands as was the custom in the country they came from was a hate crime based on sexual orientation.

    Really – he should be sent for more training if he’s going to work in communications.

  2. translegalhistorian says:

    he should be sent for more training if he’s going to work in communications

    No – I’m had it with The Task Farce. He should be replaced by a trans woman – or, even worse for what likely is his self-perception of his self-importance, he should be forced to work alongside a trans woman who is his organizational equal.

  3. Kathy says:

    Truw – Perhaps his supervisor.

  4. Trans Ally says:

    You should take a look at this before you jump to conclusions:

    http://pedrojulioserrano.com/2009/11/27/jorge-steven-was-not-trans-but/

    • translegalhistorian says:

      From that link:

      Much has been said about hate crime victim Jorge Steven López possibly being trans, but I want to make it clear: he wasn’t. But he was very comfortable in his own skin, he loved to cross gender boundaries and he was accepted as such by his friends, his partner and his own parents. His mom, Miriam Mercado, knowing that his son used hair extensions as part of his look, even told the press in Puerto Rico, “Behind that wig and those boots, there was a human being, a very much loved son, a brother and a friend.”

      He was a young gay man, who like many others, used to do drag for special occasions such as Halloween or LGBT Pride parades.

      None of that is incompatible with what I’m saying:

      (1) First and foremost, I’ve repeatedly left open the possibility that Serrano’s assessment of Jorge might well be accurate.

      (2) I’m talking about the law. Under the default state of law, as it exists thanks to decades of exclusionist massaging by gay elites, Jorge was LEGALLY trans irrespective of how he viewed himself. Any man who has ever even once appeared in drag is, for purposes of a New York- or Maryland-style definition of “sexual orientation,” trans; no, maybe not transsexual, but trans-enough to be left out of any protection afforded by a gay-only statute.

      (3) The statement given by communication director Serrano to Gay City News was an unmitigated insult to trans people – particularly trans women – and it displayed an egregious ignorance of the reality of category-overlap. He should resign his position immediately.

  5. [...] time’ (except when its ‘all trans-erasure, all the time’; remind me again of why Pedro Julio Serrano still has a [...]

  6. I saw something about this subject on TV last night. Good article.

  7. Hans Amoroso says:

    Congrats , nice tranny post , you should give us more and more

  8. [...] and/or a sex worker; the reports are varied with some in the gay community trying to insist that he was a “homosexually pure gay male martyr”. The gay community paid attention to the case of Mercado in part because the case was so gruesome [...]

  9. sudoku says:

    you have a fantastic weblog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

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