Editors' Note: Guest blogger Autumn Sandeen is a transgender activist living in San Diego. She is a regular barista at Pam's House Blend where she covered the Angie Zapata trial at length. Tomorrow would be Angie Zapata's 20th birthday.
I'm feeling a little disconcerted today, as a page for Allen Ray Andrade on MySpace was brought to my attention. The webpage appears to be created by Mr. Andrade's brother; the webpage is disturbing to me on a couple of levels...
From the text of the Allen Andrade MySpace Page:
People THINK that they know my brother based on the ONE mistake that he made last year. Well, you don't. See, he's a BROTHER, SON, uncle, nephew, grandson, cousin, and friend. He's never denied his identity as a straight male. NEVER. My brother loves WOMEN...the kind GOD makes with vaginas, fallopian tubes, uteruses, periods. -- In my opinion, God gives WOMEN the opportunity to co-create with him. It's an opportunity that surgery or mindset can not achieve. It never will. -- Now, that's not to say that I believe all women should bear children. Some can't for whatever reason and SOME shouldn't, and I can think of one family in particular that falls in the latter. Anyway, I'm a firm believer in things happening for a reason. I've told Allen Ray many times that he's truly the lucky one, not only is he here, but he gets a second chance at life. He gets to confess, repent, and move on. We get to do that with him. Sometimes when God needs you to listen he puts us somewhere where we can. It is not fair to judge people by what you read. Only I know what happened, and have to live with it everyday of my life. It wasn't what the media portrayed it to be or the state. I am holding myself accountable. So judge not, please... By the grace of God, I hope that none of you reading this, ever have a loved one go through this ordeal. Keep your sons and daughters safe! Teach them morals ~ beginning with the truth.
Well, here's some truth for you. If you don't remember who Allen Ray Andrade is, his "one mistake" resulted in him being convicted by a jury of his peers for First Degree Murder, and a Bias Motivated Crime related to his killing of Angie Zapata.
His "one mistake" also included guilty verdicts on vehicle theft and identity theft, so that means there were at least three to four "mistakes." And hey, since the identity theft was ongoing for two weeks between the murder and his arrest, there were multiple "mistakes" related to how many times identity theft was involved in using a stolen ATM card as well.
Because Allen Ray Andrade actually made multiple "mistakes" in his life beyond this grouping of "mistakes," he received life plus an additional 60 years -- and it was 60 years instead of some smaller number of years because he was judged by the court to be a habitual offender.
Another disturbing aspect of the Allen Andrade MySpace Page is how much Bible scripture is on it -- including Acts 2:21 -- and this from Luke 6:37...
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.
...As well as how much religious imagery is on the page.
I don't know Allen Ray Andrade, but I do know that a jury of his peers judged him guilty of four crimes, which included First Degree Murder and a Bias Motivated Crime (a hate crime). I was in the courtroom for the entire trial, and I saw a brutal murder scene that I'll never be able to get completely out of my mind, and heard Allen Ray Andrade say in recorded jailhouse telephone calls:
"It's not like I went up to a schoolteacher and shot her in the head or ... killed a law-abiding straight citizen."
"Did you see that thing in make-up?"
"I can't cry over spilled milk."
And, I can't count how many times I heard Allen Ray Andrade refer to Angie Zapata as "it."
I certainly understand that Mr. Andrade's family wants to support their brother; I certainly understand that familial love can be a powerful force for change in a person's life. And, never let it be said that I don't believe in contrition and repentance.
But that said, I also know that the brother who wrote the headpiece for this MySpace webpage is saying disparaging things about transgender human beings like me. This, while at the same time, he shrouds what Allen Ray Andrade did to Angie Zapata in Christian scripture and imagery. I also know that the general attack on transgender women in this MySpace webpage headpiece doesn't speak to love, or indicate contrition or repentance. It instead sounds to me that his family is joining with Allen Ray Andrade in still blaming the victim -- Angie Zapata -- for the hate crime that Mr. Andrade committed. And, beyond just blaming Angie, Mr. Andrade and his family seem to me to be clearly blaming all transgender women as being worthy of hate crime murders for not being "the kind [of women] GOD makes with vaginas, fallopian tubes, uteruses, periods."
I found this webpage dedicated to Allen Ray Andrade a bit unsettling. To me, it seems that Christian blessing is being given to the killing of Angie Zapata, and giving justification for killing transgender human beings in the future -- because God will forgive, and only God is allowed to judge these murderers.
Well, I reject that reasoning. A jury of Allen Ray Andrade's peers had the responsibility -- and was allowed -- to judge him, and they found him guilty of a bias motivated murder. And, as a transgender woman who was there in the courtroom for the entire trial -- hearing and seeing the evidence presented -- I feel I have a right to judge him as a hate crime murderer.
One thing I definitely feel is that this webpage page of Allen Ray Andrade's should find no welcome -- no space -- on MySpace.
* Pam's House Blend tag: Angie Zapata
(Crossposted at Pam's House Blend)