Commentary

40 years after the ‘honeymoon murder of the transsexual bride’

Transsexual Found Murdered in Iowa

DES MOINES – A woman found murdered on a highway near here has been identified as a police informer who started life as a male, police said yesterday after issuing a warrant for the arrest of her husband.

Police identified the victim as Terry Williams, 34 of Denver, Colo., formerly a police informant in Lansing, Mich. She had been shot in the head and back.

Warren Stump, assistant director of the Iowa Bureau Criminal Investigation, said “Legally and medically, the victim is classified as a female though born as a male.”

He said a murder warrant in connection with the death had been issued for Richard Moore, 26, of Denver, who, according to a marriage license found on the victim’s body, married Williams on May 14 in Denver.

That was the entirety of a Reuters wire service item, as it appeared in the Miami News, on May 25th.

If you judge it in a 2016 light and come away irked, also be honest. Forget the “y” for “i” and think about how likely it is that you would find at least some news items on such a murder in 2016 being just as sensationalistic (sticking “Transsexual” in the title when not relevant) while not using female pronouns but placing the word “married” in scare quotes.

What has always intrigued me most about the Krell article and the local news items about the murder and resulting trial was that dignity – and how instead of becoming more likely in coverage of murders of trans people in the years since 1976 it has become less likely. Dan Savage may have cashed in on a certain catchphrase, but here’s the reality: It does not always get better.

One of the times I thumbed through the pages of Inside Detective was in 2002, after digesting the monstrously erasive coverage of the murder of Gwen Araujo. Eventually it became more likely to see news items referring to “Gwen Araujo” rather than “Eddie ‘Gwen’ Araujo” or just “Eddie Araujo.” But the erasive is how the coverage began.

In California. Ultra-liberal California. A quarter-century after Terri Williams Moore’s murder.

Think the pattern of inverse progress is imaginary?

bay-windows-19981203-p1

That was front-page coverage of the murder of Rita Hester – in the Dec. 3, 1998 edition of the LGB( ) publication Bay Windows. Some people quoted in the item did refer to Rita as Rita – sans trans-scare quotes – and with female pronouns.

Not to pick solely on LGB( ) media, let us move back to Iowa – this time in 2003 and in the far western portion of the state:

Queer Star Trek? It’s out there

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