Subversify Magazine, USA
Where There is No Mercy; The Transgender Plight
Published: June 8, 2012
By: Karla Fetrow
He was soft. He was fun-loving. He was beautiful, so beautiful he
passed easily for a girl. He was also terribly alone. He didnít feel
gay; not in the sense that he was comfortable with looking like a man,
pursuing another male relationship. Nature had made a mistake. He
had been placed in the wrong body, and because he had, neither family,
classmates, nor even patrons of the local gay bar accepted him. He
was a freak, an outcast, and for Luna, there would be no mercy.
He was going for a stroll outside his apartment on a shivery March
day, when he was grabbed from behind and beaten. Luna never saw his
attacker. He was knocked unconscious, yet even that did not stop the
rain of blows that continuously pummeled his body. He was beaten to
death. How much hate, how much fury, how much intensity does it take
to use your fists and beat a young, healthy body to death? When there
was nothing left but a mass of broken flesh and bones, Luna was thrown
in a garbage can. His killer was never found.
All Duana wanted was to rise up out of his intense poverty. With no
family, no friends, no supportive network, he began working as a
prostitute to support himself. One day the police arrested him.
While at the police station, he was held down and beaten, while the
onlookers cheered on and called him a faggot and a he-she.
Fortunately for Duana, it was all caught on videotape. The news of
his beating was leaked to the press. For awhile, he was the center of
attention. For awhile, everyone wanted to know just how badly
transgenders had it, and Duana was quite happy to let them know. As
happens with all sensations of the moment, the news finally died down
and Duana was forgotten. He went back to his apartment that had now
electricity or running water; back to the only friend he had in the
entire world; an elderly woman who was forbidden to see him anymore
when her husband found out he was transgender. One night, doing
nothing in particular when two men walked up and shot him. They left
him to bleed to death of his gun wounds. He had been hoping to win a
million dollar lawsuit against the police, but he no longer had a way
of pursuing the case. The police claimed there were no leads, and
nobody was held responsible for his death.
This is the roll call of the transgender deaths; little blurbs on a
page, asking that they not be forgotten. The list is long, and in
each case, it was a brutal and violent hate crime, yet there arenít
any true numbers, no statistics to give, because only a few of the
deaths were acknowledged as crimes of hate. Most have just been
classified as one more unsolved murder.
Transgender people often know from childhood that they are different.
The boy craves the pastimes generally associated with being a girl,
and the girl craves the activities normally pursued by boys. Itís
more than a general interest in cross-sexual tastes. This is where
they feel they belong; in a world that is denied to them because of
The parents of transgender children are not always pleased with them.
Some reject their offspring completely, handing them over to foster
care or booting them out of the house as soon as they are able to
stand on their own. In school, they arenít just taunted by their
classmates. They arenít just bullied. A quarter of all transgender
children have been physically assaulted, eight percent have sexually
assaulted, and six percent were expelled due to their sexual
orientation. Most shocking of all, in sixty percent of youthful
transgender abuse, the teachers took part in this brutal bullying and
The world that is denied to them only recognizes their gender, not
their sexual orientation. Bobbi looked just like a boy. When she was
admitted to the Womanís Correctional Institute, heads turned and
stared. Slim, flat chested, with short, shaggy hair and Peter Pan
features, she made a very attractive looking boy, and it wasnít long
before the larger, more aggressive women were pushing their way
through to become Bobbiís ďgirlfriendĒ. Bobbi really didnít want the
attention. She didnít want the stares, the murmurs and giggles behind
hands, the patronizing arms thrown around her shoulders, or the
rivalry, She didnít want a harem. She didnít want the jeers from the
guards or the extra work detail given her for being transgender. She
had been placed in prison for assault on an officer, but at one
hundred ten pounds, one has to wonder who had done the real
The world routinely denies them employment or discriminates against
them in the work place. It has also denied them medical attention.
One quarter of all transgender persons seeking medical attention have
been refused it Not only have they been turned away, but
occasionally they can expect assault by this noble office that has
sworn to uphold the terms of human dignity and compassionate care.
Is it any wonder that forty-one percent of transgender persons have
tried at least once to commit suicide? In recent years, the gay and
lesbian community have recognized the problems facing the transgender
person, but this wasnít always so. In the past, they were often
ridiculed and teased for ďpretendingĒ to be the opposite sex. At
best, they were patronized or tolerated, but with little empathy for
the transgender personís emotional state. The transgender person was
In recent years, more families have learned to love and embrace their
transgender members. How could one forget the image of a brother who
held his transgender sibling close to his chest, racked with
heart-breaking sobs because someone thought it was okay to drive by
and riddle a transgender person full of bullets; a someone who has
never been apprehended and brought to trial for a hate crime? How can
one ignore the anguish of the family of a transgender person who had
been supportive of the life their child had found; a life complete
with a job, a home and a boyfriend? That life was not to be
fulfilled. He was stabbed to death one day and his body dragged into
the nearby woods.
A mistake has been made, but the mistake is not in the transgenderís
search for identity. Itís in the lack of acceptance as to who they
are and their rights to be treated with the same respect as any other
human being. For many years, psychiatrists argued that transgender
identity was caused by trauma, and the condition was classified as a
psychological disorder, but attempts to correct transgender
preferences with early childhood treatment have failed. Transgender
preference is not the result of childhood upbringing. The evidence
points to physical causes. Current scientific studies link numerous
biological occurrences to transgender persuasion, including genetics,
brain structure, brain function and prenatal androgen exposure.
It is a terrible thing to hate without rationale, with only the
uncontrollable rage of seeing someone who is different, someone who
doesnít quite fit in with the group, someone who is such a minority,
that one lonely voice couldnít possibly make a difference. That
lonely voice is a dividing line of true humanity. Itís a voice that
asks only for acceptance because that person loves and cries, hopes
and dreams as much as any other person. That person wants all the
same comforts, has all the same ambitions, all the same needs as any
other human being. That person just happens to be in the wrong body.
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