Because we’re disposable

August 23, 2008

Another of my sisters is dead.
Another trans panic defence accepted.
Another killer acquitted of murder.

“Voluntary manslaughter”?
Could there possibly be a more dehumanising, demeaning term?
Two and a half years after her death, Alexis King is still denied dignity.

Why? Because trans women are disposable, our lives are worthless. Even the law agrees.

Shooter of trans woman convicted of voluntary manslaughter

A Philadelphia judge has acquitted the killer of a trans woman of murder charges, despite an impassioned plea by the prosecutor that malice was behind the shooting.

At the end of a three-hour bench trial on Aug. 18, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart convicted Terron Oates of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Alexis King.


Minehart didn’t explain his ruling, but it appears he accepted the defense’s position that Oates acted in the heat of passion after he picked up King for sex in February 2006, then shot her twice after realizing she was a biological male.

Assistant D.A. MK Feeney argued for a first-degree murder conviction or, as an alternative, a third-degree-murder conviction. She said the evidence indicated that Oates targeted King because of her transgender status.


“Mr. Oates isn’t so naïve that he can’t find a gun,” she said. “He has an illegal gun in his car, he’s out at five o’clock in the morning on a school night and he’s going to a strip club when he’s underage. He’s sophisticated enough to be doing those things. Yet the defense portrayed him as an innocent, naïve little boy.”


King was shot twice, from the side and rear, according to the medical examiner’s report.

Her body was found about 120 feet from Oates’ car, where she collapsed in a pool of blood, evidently trying to run for safety, said Feeney.


(Via Philadelphia Gay News)


ETA: Lisa has also posted about this over at Questioning Transphobia (link here).

The comments thread has a useful explanation of the difference between ‘murder’ and ‘manslaughter’.

Lisa also reminds us of the murder last year, also in Philadelphia, of Erica Keel, an African American trans woman, and the reaction (if you can call it that) of the police.

5 Responses to “Because we’re disposable”

  1. Roz Kaveney Says:

    Thanks for the heads up – I am amazingly angry.

  2. drakyn Says:

    I love how the evidence completely disproves the guy’s story; and then they decide to believe his story over the facts.
    And by “love”, I mean “urge to kill: rising.”

  3. Lisa Harney Says:

    Posted my own before I saw you guys.

    I am angry. :(

  4. Disgraceful and unjustifiable outrage against logic and justice!

    Where’s their heads at?

  5. Utterly despicable. But unfortunately, not an entirely unsurprising response from the American justice system.

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