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The Angie Zapata Murder: Resources for Media Coverage of Colorado's Landmark Hate Crimes Trial

The Angie Zapata Murder: Resources for Media Coverage of Colorado's Landmark Hate Crimes Trial
•Since 1999, over 400 people in the United States have been murdered due to anti-transgender bias. Last year, 21 transgender and gender non-conforming people were murdered.

•Crimes based on someone's real or perceived sexual orientation are the third most frequent kind of hate crimes in America after crimes based on someone's race or religion (The FBI does not collect data on hate crimes against transgender people.)

•14.2 percent of transgender students report being physically assaulted as a result of their gender expression, while 30.4 percent experienced physical harassment, according to GLSEN.

•At this time, only 11 states and the District of Columbia offer hate crimes protections that include sexual orientation and gender identity. A federal hate crimes law including these categories, the Matthew Shepard Act, was introduced last Thursday in Congress.

•According to a November 2008 Harris Interactive poll, commissioned by GLAAD,almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Colorado adults favor expanding hate crimes laws to cover gay and transgender people.
Next week, the alleged murderer of Angie Zapata goes on trial in Weld County. The trial marks the first time that Colorado's gender identity-inclusive hate crimes statute - and in fact any state's hate crimes law - has been applied in the investigation and prosecution of an anti-transgender murder case.

Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old transgender woman, was brutally murdered in Greeley, Colo. on July 17, 2008 because of anti-transgender violence.  Allen Ray Andrade, 31, has admitted to police that he and Angie met online, they went on a date and he viciously beat her to death with a fire extinguisher.

This murder trial gives journalists at LGBT media outlets an important opportunity to cover:

  • Angie, her life and the lives of transgender people living in Colorado and nationwide;
  • The importance of statewide and local hate crimes laws; and
  • The need for a federal hate crimes law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The 2009 Matthew Shepard was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last Thursday and will soon be introduced in the U.S. Senate. President Obama has pledged to sign the bill into law.

Throughout the trial, we will be here as a resource for LGBT and mainstream journalists to answer your questions or to facilitate your coverage of the various issues. Visit GLAAD's Angie Zapata Media Resource Kit to learn more.

As the trial starts, we will be working to start a vital conversation about the pervasive problem of hate crimes. Tomorrow, newspaper and online ads featuring Angie's surviving family members will begin running throughout Colorado. The ads, which are being paid for by ProgressNow Colorado, are co-sponsored by 50 Colorado organizations dedicated to giving voice to all Coloradans.

The ads will link to a specially created website that will give trial updates and give visitors a chance to learn more about Angie, her family, and transgender people through links to specially created Facebook, MySpace and Twitter pages. The website also features a video explaining Angie's life and what the loss means to her family and friends. Take a look.

Sincerely,

Adam Bass
Media Field Strategist
GLAAD
(213) 440-4728
bass@glaad.org

Heather Draper
Marketing and Communications Manager
GLBT Community Center of Colorado
(303) 733-7743 ext. 101
hdraper@glbtcolorado.org

About GLAAD
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org

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