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trans woman attacked in queens ny

July 1, 2009

leslieLeslie Mora, 32, was attacked on her way home from a club on rosevelt avenue in queens, ny last week.  around 2:30am on june 19, 2009, trinidad tapia, 19, and gilberto ortiz, 32, assulted mora with a belt and buckle, cuasing her severe bruising and requiring stiches in her scalp.  they targeted her presumably for her gender presentation, although were shouting the slur “maricon” during the attack.  a passing motorist stopped and threatened to call the police, which caused the assailants to run, but the police recovered the belt buckle, still covered in mora’s blood, and were able to arrest both tapia and ortiz soon after.

“Both were charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon, a felony, and released on their own recognizance.  The Queens County District Attorney has declined to investigate the attack as a hate crime.”

more at TLDEF (transgender legal defence and education fund).

TLDEF will be pushing for the new york district attourny to consider this a hate crime, as the assailants were shouting maricon at mora, and presumably chose to attack her based on her gender identity.  as the ny GENDA bill is still in the works, TLDEF is framing the attack around the perceived sexuality of mora based on the slur used by her attackers, which is considered the equivalent of the english word “faggot.”  i personally believe that the majority of these random attacks on queer people are motivated by transphobia, or the perception of a person’s gender non-conformity, i understand why the TLDEF is persuing a sexuality based hate crime conviction, given that gender is not part of the current ny state hate crimes legislation.

let me be clear — this is a heinous and outrageous attack, and similar attacks are frequent in the trans community.  mora escaped with physical wounds that will heal, but is surely traumatized, and others that have been victims to hateful gender targeted attacks have been killed.  anyone that perpetrates these crimes is fucked, and deserves to be punished.

hate crimes legislation, however, is not so simple.  while i wish for mora to feel that she has been properly defended by the justice system, there is another system that also needs to be held accountable here, and that is the society that continues to condition its young men to attack people they percieve to be gender non-conforming.  i have no doubt that prison will not re-educate these men around issues of gender or sexuality.  hate crimes legislation that increases sentancing does not increase rehabilitation.  it mearly contributes to the imprisonment and social stigmatizing of our nation’s young men, and, at a disproportionately high rate, our nation’s young men of color.  prison actually contributes to the very problem that led to the attack on leslie mora.

please read the SRLP’s (sylvia rivera law project’s) response to GENDA for a clearer articulation of my critique on hate crimes legislation.

in mora’s case, i hope that the assailants are prosecuted in a way that gives her some peace around the incident.  but on a larger scale, i hope that we can begin to create a new way to deal with hate crimes, one that would begin to solve the problem that fuels them, one that positively affects the incidence of violence towards our community, and one that does not contribute to the continuation of criminality among america’s youth.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2009 7:09 pm

    Todo el apoyo q ue ella necesite.

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