Alex Blaze

Trans teen's killer gets 99 years

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 13, 2010 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: jorge steven, lopez mercado, puerto rico

The man who pled guilty to killing Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado got sentenced to 99 years in prison:

A man accused of decapitating a gay teenager and burning his body pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Wednesday and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

The case had gained national attention because activists demanded that U.S. authorities prosecute it as a hate crime, with supporters holding vigils in a dozen cities including New York and Los Angeles.

Police said Juan Martinez Matos, 26, told them he hated homosexuals but that he had offered the victim cocaine in exchange for sex.

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Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | May 13, 2010 2:16 PM

Good! But that means he'll get parole while still young enough to do more crime. Of course he'll blame the victim and that hate will fester. Life without parole would have been better IMO

This person was transgender? The article says he was gay.

As sad as this is and irrelevant to his family, on this side of the story here in politicsland it's really a stretch to say that every male-bodied sex worker who is dressed in women's clothes is "trans", even by the ambiguous tg definition. I believe most people who subscribe to the tg paradigm at least have an idea of permanacy of their way of life as between gender norms, while many sex workers are simply making a buck.

The perpetuation of trans* as pathetic sex workers is something that the GLBT should really rethink. Victimology has a way of becoming self-perpetuating.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | May 13, 2010 9:33 PM

Arguing about whether or not he was trans seems rather pointless to me. You can call him gay or trans but it makes no difference to him because he's just dead. "Victimology" you say? I'd say that he was definitely a victim, wouldn't you?

The problem is that some gays are using trans as a dumping ground for all their undesirables, and some go so far as to straightwash gay for the mainstream by these types of mischaracterizations. In the process they denigrate the concept of trans as being a bunch of sex-starved prostitutes, feeding into the hateful stereotypes and perpetuating the violence.

This of course is apart from my own anger at the implicit assumption that all transsexuals are somehow dirty prostitutes by the use of the two terms ts and tg interchangeably.

What does it say about the state of things when an "enemy" such as myself cares more about this issue than the TG supporters themselves? You all are being exploited by the GLB-TG, Gay Inc., and through your inaction people like me (ts) get exploited as well. If there wasn't a blanket term, it wouldn't be possible to stereotype and exploit everyone so easily.

This is why I am forced to care about TG issues and get involved. I don't WANT to worry about what other people do with their lives. But when I am personally affected by the things people do (politics) I have little choice. The moment the TG went political and started speaking for everyone is the moment they lost the right to tell TS people to mind their own business.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 14, 2010 7:35 AM

Maybe you need to clarify terms with Tobi. As you both seem to be using the term Transgender to have veeeery different coverage.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | May 14, 2010 8:48 AM

I'm TS. I'm also human with my eyes and ears open. I'm aware that stereotypes abound and I'm further aware that in every strata of a society, you're going to find people who have to feel better about themselves by demonizing another group. This holds true in LGBT society as well. John Aravosis and Ron Gold are just two well known examples of this insecurity driven hatred. Alex Blaze is not. As for "undesirable", "pathetic sex worker" and "dirty prostitute", those are your words. We must acknowledge that narrow minded bigots are in society, they always have been in society and presumably always will be in society, without seeing racism, homophobia and transphobia where none exists. Surely those things exist and their eradication is always a worthy goal but they are not as ubiquitous as you seem to indicate. Let's not project our insecurities on everyone else. There is already too much of that. Combine that with ignorance and we have the wellspring of bigotry. I refuse to live in fear and loathing every time there is a story about somebody who may or may not be transgendered. Once again, to Jorge the argument is moot. As far as I know, he didn't identify as transgender but the argument just doesn't matter to him or his family. He isn't around to rebut any speculation. Isn't that and not your indignation the point of the whole thing?

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | May 14, 2010 8:56 AM

One more thing: Asserting that I'm "being exploited" is a ridiculous and unfounded accusation. What gives you the right to assume such a thing based on a comment? You have no earthy idea who I am, what I do and what I've accomplished. Thank you very much for your "concern" but I think I'm fully capable of analyzing my position and drawing conclusions for myself. Good Day.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 13, 2010 10:30 PM

The bias against sex workers is itself a serious issue that needs addressing.

How deceased individuals self-identified is often unknowable. But where gender-expression-prejudice is part of a crime it'll effect us all just the same.

What leads you to the conclusion most or many crossdressed sex workers are not at all TG but simply doing it for money? I used to think most people who did so at halloween were doing it just 'for a laugh' till i learned how many deeply-closeteed crossdressers use that as their excuse, many still trying to dress badly and act like it's all a joke (not doing the community any favours in the process like many forms of closet-protection) so as to keep the cover that they are not really crossdressers.

I want to address a couple things here and this one jumps out at me first.

The perpetuation of trans* as pathetic sex workers is something that the GLBT should really rethink. Victimology has a way of becoming self-perpetuating.

No one said he was a PATHETIC sex worker and I haven't seen anything to suggest that. I may be wrong, but it looks like you are assuming all sex workers are pathetic, dirty, and victims and that is simply not the case. It's true that a lot of folks assume all trans women are sex workers and that's messed up, but the fact that people assume there is something wrong with being a sex worker is just as much a part of the problem.

A lot of trans women are sex workers. A lot of us aren't pathetic. And conveniently ignoring, redefining as not trans, or otherwise trying to make such folks go away is not going to help anything.

As for whether this particular person is trans or not, well I certainly agree there's not enough info to say if he met the most common definitions of transgender, but it does seem that being male bodied and in women's clothing fits the definition of transvestite, one of those other trans* words. And while I assume there is a major difference between his experience and other trans women I know, his attacker didn't take the time to figure that difference out. He may not have been a ts or tg woman, but he was killed by the same force that kills tg and ts women regularly.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 14, 2010 7:31 AM

Tobi surely many Transvestites AKA Crossdressers have a very valid claim on the term Transgender?

Oh yes, I agree. I'm simply acknowledging that many people seem to think of transgender as a term for those who are socially and/or physically transitioning, and that seems to be the definition that Ariablue is thinking of.

For example, I took a class on trans issues and the prof started it out by defining transgender as an umbrella term that included genderqueers, crossdressers, drag performers, butch women, and femme men. But once we actually started talking about transgender folks, it was clear from context that she was only talking about folks who were socially and/or physically transitioning. It annoyed the hell out of me, but I've come to realize that self-contradictory perspective is how a great many people think.

Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado wasn't an "undesirable." People in the LGBT community have been following this story for months, and that's why I posted this update.

There's been some debate, usually gay people saying Jorge was gay and tg/ts people saying he was transgender in some way (he died at 19, afterall). No one's trying to dump him on another identity; in fact, everyone's trying to claim him as their own.