Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The arc of the moral universe

In a couple of entries this past week I've written about how some people, whether newspaper opinion columnists or comedians, create a climate in which the murder of trans women (One of the most vulnerable groups in society, remember) is considered acceptable and justified, and which thus directly causes harm to those women.

So it gives me great pleasure to see that, in two separate cases reported today, one in Turkey and the other in San Francisco (trigger warning: transphobic statements in SF article comments), people responsible for attacking and in one case killing trans women have not only been found guilty, but have also been punished to the full extent of the law. A particularly interesting and relevant point is that in the Turkish case, the defendant tried the craven 'trans panic' defense and this was rejected.  Western courts, and western juries, should thus take note that on this issue, a court in the supposedly 'backward' Muslim nation of Turkey has in fact taken a more enlightened approach than many western courts would by rejecting that defence.

This doesn't mean the struggle is over by any means, and it doesn't even necessarily show the tide is turning - some of the comments on the San Francisco case show there's still a lot of work to do - but I think that when victories happen, it's as important to mention and celebrate those as it is to rage against the setbacks.

Thanks to Helen at Bird of Paradox and Andrea Plaid from Racialicious for those links. 

In other news, I myself have had something of a victory today, but more on that tomorrow...

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