Originally, the headline in Google Reader was: “News Blog: Tranny in lock-up complains of abuse.” It still shows that way in Reader and on Topix.net. Now it reads “Transsexual in Salt Lake County jail complains of abuse.” Apparently it was re-written at least twice to correct the headline and typos, but there’s still a few left – it’s a news blog, after all, not a front-page story.
There’s another story at City Weekly that extensively quotes a very proud performer named Princess Kennedy, who apparently went to my high school. She matter-of-factly self-refers as “tranny.” Maybe in the Utah GLBT community, the word has been taken back with pride, but I thought outsiders and the press using the word was still considered pejorative or threatening. It creeps me out to see it, but maybe reading Autumn Sandeen’s work at Pam’s House Blend has sensitized me too much? I’ll have to ask my Utah family and friends who know the local community better what the correct term is supposed to be, it just looks bad and wrong.
In any case, the original URL:
has been replaced by a slightly more professionally edited one:
The story still messes up on the gender pronouns according to my understanding of how Pam’s House Blend’s contributors would write it up, but Davila-Escobedo (no first name given other than Monica) was interviewed in Spanish and apparently used the male pronouns.
A male-to-female transgender Hispanic claims he has been victimized by guards during his current incarceration in the Salt Lake County jail.
A recent diary at PHB starts out “Transgender woman arrested for being assaulted by cop.” Female identity and pronouns are used throughout. So this would appear to still need a re-write.
Davila-Escobedo, 32, has female breasts and male genitals. A discussion of who he is can be confusing. “I’m a man I know, but I have woman’s parts,” he says in Spanish. He has been incarcerated in the male wing of the jail since he was picked up last month on an outstanding warrant relating to a guilty plea for joyriding.
I met Davila-Escobedo while researching a cover story earlier this year called Kings of Queens. I knew him then as Monica. I interviewed him several times and he shed some light on the tough, demanding and often dangerous life of Hispanic transgender male-to-females who worked endless hours in salons to earn money for surgerical procedures.
“I want to be with men, it would be punishment to be with women,” he says, when asked if he wouldn’t prefer to be incarcerated with women. He uses a pencil for eyeliner, “because that’s who I am, I can’t be a man.”
Davila-Escobedo is undocumented and has already been deported once. He was in minimum security, while he waited for a defense attorney who failed three times to show up for his court dates. Davila-Escobedo says he has other transgender friends in jail, but they do not have breasts. His female body parts became an issue on Dec. 7, he alleges, when three or more guards sexually harassed him.
Naturally, aside from the gender issues, the commenters at City Weekly are totally focused on the ILLEGAL!! MEXICAN!! HERE ILLEGALLY! aspect and are revealed as hyper-patriotic Neanderthal-Americans, not an unusual political stance in Utah.
The likeliest outcome: Davila-Escobedo will be badly beaten in jail before being deported to almost certain prostitution or death in Mexico, but few in Utah will care very much because, ILLEGAL and TEH GAY. “Surgerical” procedures or not, it’s tough being gay AND Hispanic in Utah.