The murder of 18 year-old Angie Zapata in Colorado last week has been slowly gaining attention from national media with the latest report coming today from the national bureau at ABC News ("Transgender teen's death a hate crime?").
On Wednesday I noted that transgender blogger Monica Roberts at TransGriot was incensed that the original Associated Press article on the murder failed to disclose that Angie was transgendered (the AP reporter wrote a follow-up piece in which he wrote Zapata was "living as a woman").
David Scoetz at ABC News brings the discrepancy up indirectly:
While Zapata may have lived as a young woman, [Sgt. Joseph] Tymkowych, the police spokesman, explained that because she never legally changed her name to Angie, prosecutors can only bring charges in the case using Justin Zapata to identify the victim.More disturbing to me is Sgt. Tymkowych's statement that the murder "may have been provoked by her lifestyle."
'We don't have a problem using 'Angie,'' Tymkowych said. 'We don't want to offend the family or anyone with gender concerns, but for it to be a good, clean prosecution, we can't identify a victim who doesn't exist.'
Being transgender is not a lifestyle just as being gay isn't (lifestyles can be easily changed, gender and sexual identities not so much) although I realize how entrenched these erroneous concepts are in some parts of society.
As for ABC News leading the piece with that statement, I realize they are paraphrasing someone else's words but their placement certainly gives them weight.
As for Angie's family, it's incredibly moving to see how much they loved her. They spoke to the local Colorado Fox News affiliate Fox 31 yesterday ("Family of transgender teen speak out"). You can find a link to a video interview with Angie's sister at the site.
Previosuly on Blabbeando:
- Transgender Latina teen murdered in Colorado (July 23, 2008)
- A vigil in memory of Shanesha Stewart (April 3, 2008)
- Melania Marquez has the best mom ever - or how to navigate high-school as a Latina trans teen (March 1, 2008)
- Texas high school opens doors for Latina teen after initial rejection (August 31, 2007)
- Latina teen elected prom queen at California high-school (May 14, 2007)
- Mexican-born trans man wants to be high school prom king in Fresno (April 21, 2007)
- Ruby Rodriguez is mourned in San Francisco (March 24, 2007)