Spain: Two cis women imprison, torture and murder a man in his own home

April 10, 2010

Via El Pais (translation by the OII’s founder, Curtis Hinkle), this report is a rare example of the abuses that can be inflicted on trans men by cis women; in this case two cis women who imprisoned a trans man in his own home and, over a nine month period, tortured and eventually murdered him.

In 2006 the man, Roberto González Onrubia, had invited two cis women, Dolores de los Reyes Navarro and Ainhoa Nogales Bergantiños, to stay at his house. Prior to that, the cis women had “lived in a shack” in poverty. The cis women proceeded to take advantage of Mr Onrubia’s kindness, taking money without repaying it, and the arrangement quickly became abusive towards Mr Onrubia. By the following year, 2007, the situation had become untenable for Mr Onrubia and he asked the cis women to leave. They refused and began a campaign of abuse against him with the aim of making it impossible for Mr Onrubia to evict them.

In March the imprisonment began. “They changed the lock of the apartment without giving him a copy.” “They also seized his mobile phone and started answering all the calls received,” and “kept the blinds closed in the room where he was sleeping, so he could not ask for help from neighbors.”

In May, “they began to sell all property that was in his home, such as jewelry and his mother’s coats, watches and a stamp collection he had from his father.” Also by that time “they began to hit Roberto often”. The next step in the looting came later, when they put the victims apartment on sale, and kept the deposit. At the same time, the abuse and malnourishment continued. At that time, Roberto lost 40 kilos.

In that same month, the cis women forced him to sign, in a school notebook owned by Ainhoa Nogales Bergantiños, a statement that he willingly authorised both of them to remain at his home until they could get their own house. The abuses continued, including attacks on Mr Onrubia’s gender identity:

[…] once they stripped him naked and forced him to shave his entire body, while they were recording. It was a way to steal one of his male secondary sex characteristics (body hair) […] They also dressed him up as a girl with high heels and a miniskirt, something they knew he rejected, and threatened to pimp him out as a prostitute.

Finally, on the night of August 29, the cis women beat him to death.

“Roberto was found murdered on September 1, 2007 at his home, naked, on a mattress on the floor without sheets, without a pillow, filled with urine and feces; his body, which showed clear signs of malnutrition, was full of bruises of varying degrees, and his face with open, unhealed wounds was disfigured by apparent blows with one of them ending his life” and is described on the website Diario Digital Transexual.

Each of the cis women was sentenced to 18 years in prison and ordered to pay costs and a fine of €90 000 to be paid to the estate of Mr Onrubia.

There’s little I can add to this horrific account except to say: RIP Roberto González Onrubia, mi hermano.


Curtsey to Stephanie for the links and the heads-up


Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia


4 Responses to “Spain: Two cis women imprison, torture and murder a man in his own home”

  1. Julian Says:

    18 years isn’t long enough.

  2. Lincoln Says:

    I went and checked the 2007 TDOR list. This man is not on it.

    I find myself entertaining a thought. How many hate crimes against transmen are missed because we are listed as male victims by the police without qualifiers or as much fuss as our sisters?

    For me, it bears wondering.

  3. Helen G Says:

    Lincoln: I’m not surprised that the name of Roberto González Onrubia is missing from the 2007 TDoR memorial list as the details of the case are unlikely to have been in the public domain at the time. It may take a few days for the information to appear on the TDOR site – the Memorializing 2010 page would probably be the best place to look. Ethan, the TDoR site’s curator, does a fantastic job and I’m sure Roberto’s name will appear very soon.

    You may also wish to bookmark the Trans Murder Monitoring project website – it, too, does an excellent job of collating the distressing statistics about the recorded murders of trans people worldwide and publishes updates a couple of times a year.

    As regards the misreporting of the murders of trans people – men and women – this is a known difficulty for those who record the details. A major cause of the misreporting and misgendering arises when we are living in the gender which is correct for us, but our legal documentation (birth certificates, etc) remains in our assigned gender. That assigned gender is therefore most likely to be the one used in police and media reports. This relates to other legal issues around the “no match” situation; many countries will not allow birth certificates to be changed unless the person has surgically transitioned – and many trans people are either unable to afford such procedures, or simply do not wish to undergo genital reaffirmation surgery. And of course there are the problems of deeply-rooted homophobic and transphobic beliefs held by some police and media workers which may lead them to deliberately disrespect our gender identities in their reports simply as a result of their own prejudices.

    So the misreporting of the murders of trans men and women, whether or not we are binary identified, is likely to be widespread – with women listed as men and men listed as women – all of which might suggest that the available recorded/published statistics show much lower numbers than exist in reality.

  4. […] both women were senteced to eighteen years in prison. Helen G. over at Bird of Paradox has the full story. Note that the description of what happened to Mr. Onrubia is very […]

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