Saturday, December 31, 2011

Follow Up Post: Gender Construction & Violence

As a follow up to my last post, I wanted to draw your attention to a news story aired earlier this month.  The title of the story alone, "Brooke Fantelli, California Transgender Woman, Allegedly Tased in Crotch by Imperial County Desert Rangers," elicits great anger in me.  Not only does this behavior demonstrate violence, but it is a clear example of both prejudice and discrimination (which often lead to violence, hatred, close mindedness, inflexibility, etc. in the first place). Quick reminder: Prejudice is a negative attitude based on faulty generalizations about members of a selected group (usually protected classes), whereas discrimination is an action demonstrating the attitude. They are not mutually exclusive however. For example, an individual may act out a negative or hateful behavior, but not really believe the premise upon which the actions are predicted. Perhaps the person fears loss of friends, a job, etc. if s/he does not perform the behavior. Regardless, these terms are something to keep in mind as we go through life--prejudice and discrimination.

The news story about Brooke Fantelli (there is also a video on the linked news story) and the discrimination she experienced as a result of her status as a transgender woman is horrific. Because her biological sex does not match with her gender presentation she is tazed in the genital region. Really? And, Ms. Fantelli clearly identifies as a female, yet the ranger chose (key word) to use "sir" and "him". I think this is the exact type of story from which I based my last post. Until we achieve a more open, accepting, and supportive society/environment, hate and violence will feed off of our close mindedness. If we do not stand up against such behavior, such perpetrators may believe their actions, their words, and their violence is acceptable. I think a previous comment from the earlier post is right on. Tolerance. While I understand individuals have different views, beliefs, etc. we do not have the right to enforce our own beliefs on others. While I am presenting one view here and explaining my frustration and hoping to educate, I recognize that everyone may not agree with me.

As a last note, while I've merely presented one example of violence above, let us not forget the many, many others who experience similar forms of hate, discrimination, and intolerance. For a further examples, read Angie Zapata's story, and Gwen Araujo's story, and watch a short video about Angie's life below.


  1. The ranger's behavior is horrifying outside of the bounds of his prejudice. In the context of his prejudice, the behavior reveals both a personal and social sickness. Hatred is, in fact, a mental illness. This ranger's hatred should disqualify him from owning a firearm of any kind, including a taser.

  2. I agree with "Stablefloor." An important question might be are law enforcement officers--including rangers--in particular given any training on the professional and legal consequences of inserting personal prejudices into professional performance? In fact, are there any consequences? If there are none, how do we get some established. Unless we can assign accountability to these abusers/bullies, there will be no way to really stop this kind of behavior.