Thursday, July 29, 2010

Some sociological observations about the case against Nikki Araguz

Although its been forty or fifty years since transsexual people began to be the subject of news stories, I couldn't help notice when watching videos online of the television news coverage in Texas about Nikki Araguz, that the news reporters behaved as though the existence of a transsexual woman was like the arrival of an extraterrestrial being from a distant galaxy.

One of the more bizarre and not so subtle ironies of this, is that on multiple channels I noticed the news reporters make inquiries about "how can she be so feminine?", her level of femininity having confounded their ability to comprehend her genuine and undeniable female nature. Although Nikki Araguz hasn't made any direct statements on the subject of her own femininity, it is apparent from the videos that were made of her when she was only nineteen or twenty, that she must have already been taking estrogen before then, and that she was likely able to start HRT before she developed facial hair.

The fact is, there are thousands of transsexual women who have started HRT at some point in their teens, who have been able to start HRT before testosterone could ravage their bodies, whose adult female bodies are just plain normal and within female norms and averages. Over the past twenty years there have also been numerous transsexual-girls whose parents have allowed them to begin HRT in their early teens with even more remarkable results. The television news reporters just seemed subtly dumbfounded by the implications of this, apparently without their being aware of the existence of early HRT, and without being able to understand or specifically verbalize their confusion. However, on multiple television stations, reporters have repeatedly asked questions of Nikki Araguz with the intend to figure out how this is possible, although they were completely reluctant to come right out and ask straightforward medical questions about the subject.

Nikki Araguz didn't help them either, because in every interview with the television news reporters she seemed like she was trying to deny that she is transsexual. It is difficult to imagine how Nikki Araguz thought she could hide her past, given available information like: the fifteen year old video documentary that has surfaced, her now published district court name change petition, her 1994 Jerry Springer appearances, and so on, in which she publicly admitted being a transsexual-woman.

What is most sad though, is that Texas culture is such that the media and press there see fit to implement a witch hunt against Nikki Araguz, attacking her character and credibility from every angle they can discover. Traditionally, it seems like the media reserves such treatment only for high profile criminals. It is equally unfortunate for Nikki Araguz that her lack of judgment over the years has produced such a wealth of material for the media to exploit, and which has kept the news media in Texas excited and in pursuit of each new salacious morsel they uncover, eager to share them with their ratings boosting public. Nikki Araguz has become a public political football within a social agenda maintained by the Texas press and media, and seemingly in the service of Frank Mann and Chad Ellis, the disreputable attorneys for the plaintiff Heather Delgado, whose underlying purpose is to portray all transsexual people as somehow fundamentally deceptive and dishonest.

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