Friday, 19 June 2009

I'm getting really fed up of things like this happening

UPDATE: From Laura's Playground
I have pulled the story about Rachel Roo as the story can't be verified. Things just didn't add up. This morning we traced the IP and there is no story in the local paper in that town. A story of this nature would be in the public domain. Roo has been a staff member here for a year and has never made up stories before. " It appears to be a hoax and one that is in very poor taste and hurting the trans community heavily in a time when we are fighting very hard to be understood."

I extend my sincerest apologies for reporting the story without verification. I Posted it because I thought I knew the person personally and was grief stricken. I was upset over the loss and verification wasn't first on my mind. We were all fooled. I feel like such an idiot.
It looks like we were lucky.

ORIGINAL POST

This in the last 24 hours:
I am having a very difficult time right now. I am a moderator on another site and we have a Forum and we have a Chat. Raychel 'Roo' was 18 in March. She died in intensive care last night. One of our teen Moderators, she lived in New York and was a post op teenage girl, and a dancer. She was headed to the Juliette School in the Fall. Now she is dead.

Her father was killed and her mother lost her arm in a terrible car crash last month. At one of the trials on this, one of the lawyers outed her. Her town had a very negative reaction.

She had life threats, she and her mother. The police had them under protective surveillance. The police left at noon yesterday. By two o'clock she was assulted. Last night she died.

She rode her bike to go to the store. She never came home. They found her bike in a dumpster. Late that evening they found her. She had been assaulted with a sledge hammer, they think, judging from the bruises all over her body. Her knee caps had been broken. She had been gang raped. They buried her alive.

She worked her way out of the almost grave and crawled for three hours to get help. She was put in the ICU and given little chance to survive. Last night she died.

The facts are skimpy, speculation reigns. Supposedly kids from a nearby school came after her in a van. There were no fingerprints. She had no semen after the rapes so it shows premeditation as they used condoms. She was so beat-up her organs just went into shock and she died.

Our whole group is sick and horrified. I am having a difficult time just writing this. I need to for two reasons, to tell her story and to say 'please be careful!' Last night we lost a sister, and one of our own.

I am fed up of people saying "there is no evidence of a problem".
I am fed up of people saying "oh, it's a consequence of the Fall".
I am fed up of people saying "the wages of Sin is Death, she brought it on herself."

Most of all... I'm fed up that something like this happens every few weeks. Some worse than others. She was only 18, a wonderful life ahead of her, and instead of being humanely shot in the head (as about half of our dead are), was in the unlucky half that are tortured to death instead.

UPDATE: See the comments about some important issues. Serious doubts about the veracity of this article have been raised, but until more data comes in, we can't tell if these are justified. There is credible data both for and against right now.

90 comments:

Anonymous T-Girl said...

(..............)

Erin Halfelven said...

Who has standing to bring a wrongful death suit against the lawyer who outed her?

Anonymous said...

Dear Zoe and all who knew Raychel, and the rest of those like us,
My condolences to her family and friends. As a transman and educator in the US, it makes me sick to think that the people who perpetrated such horrible crimes are there and everywhere- and reminds me why we really do need to fear violence sometimes, esp. from groups of young, ignorant teenagers (and ignorant adults). Keep writing and exposing these crimes, and all the great things we're all doing, too.
Transdad

Lisa Harney said...

How about "instead of not being attacked at all, and left to live her life?"

Shauna said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Not good. I am worried about you, you sound overwhelmed and really down. Are you ok?? Take care of yourself too during this horrific time that I have no words for.

Gentle Hugs <3

Zoe Brain said...

Shauna - when I'm fed up, I just get more determined.

People like us don't get mad, we get... not even so much as we try to make the situation better.

Thanks though. A good, solid cry works wonders, and a virtual hug afterwards likewise. Yes, I'm human, very human. Vulnerable. I get beaten down, I get overwhelmed.

But I don't have to internalise any more. I can have a good, solid blub, then pick myself up and start moving those mountains with renewed determination.

Hugs back atcha, and Excelsior,
Zoe

Hazumu Osaragi said...

First, this is terrible, and I'm with you, Zoe, in being fed up.

Second, where are the links to MSM and secondary media coverage? If I'm going to proselytize this, I need to have the credibility that it was reported somewhere. NOTE: I'm not asking you to go out right this minute or ever, looking for the information. Maybe a reader has a bit of info that gets us closer (Stanley Milgram's 'six degrees' really works...)

But we can't let stuff like this sink beneath the waves, lest it be repeated with sickening regularity.

Karen

cathrynp said...

Where in New York?

I live in rural upstate New York and some of this is alive and well here too. Recently a rock was thrown through my living room window late at night breaking both panes of the storm window and ruining the frame.

The shotgun is next to my bed once again.

Liz Ashon said...

I have a 9 year old child who currently wants to be MtF. I'm sat here watching a film with him and burst into tears reading this story.

That poor poor woman. I can't do anything but hurt for mother and family left behind. Those monsters. What did she do to them??

I'm so scared for my child. It's just as bad here in the UK.

cvisors said...

oh fuck, is all i can say.

De ivy

Liz said...

Time to start packing heat.
Someone attacks you kill them.
If this happens enough the killing will stop.

halfpintjack said...

Here via QT. Just...jesus fuck. D: There are no words for the grief or the fury of this.

Zoe Brain said...

I'm awaiting MSM coverage. But remember, 2 in 3 of those on the list in the Transgendered Day of Remembrance had their deaths pass un-noted by MSM. There may not be any - though given the circumstances, I think it's likely there will be.

Zoe Brain said...

Liz Ashon - it's for your daughter that I will never give up, never give in.

The UK is relatively safe compared to the US. I don't know the stats, but I doubt that TS girls are 17 times more likely to be slain than other girls in the UK, as they are in the US. All of the recent homicides of TS women in the UK have been adults, and comparatively few of those.

A far bigger danger, hundreds of times greater, is suicide. In the UK, we know that 50% of TS children self-harm before age 20. (Scottish Office Survey).

But with supportive parents, that danger disappears. Thank you for being there for your child.

grover said...

I am sitting here crying. The pain and agony she went though is beyond belief and reason. How can anyone sane not see the pure hate that it took to do something as unmentionable as this to another human being. If this is who I think it is I chatted with her and it is breaking my heart to hear of this. What will it take for justice to be done?

-grover

Catherine said...

I am in shock over this as well. Like grover, I have chatted with Roo and her aunt, and my heart is breaking for Roo, and for her family. We followed Roo, vicariously, in posts made by her Aunt, and watched her recover from an awful attack...now she is dead from yet ANOTHER brutal assault. May her attackers be caught, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and then die, screaming in agony. Catherine Linda Michel

Anonymous said...

Grr.
Zoe, the AE had been planning to send a dentistry donation, but I'm thinking you may have other things in mind for it. If you want me to send it to somewhere other than you, tell me. Otherwise, use it where it needs using. Usual conditions apply.

Cedar said...

God, that is extraordinarily, excruciatingly horrible. I hate that there's an ordinarily, excruciatingly horrible to distinguish that from.

Do you have links for more info/context?

Christine said...

"Time to start packing heat.
Someone attacks you kill them.
If this happens enough the killing will stop."

I agree Liz.. I've got piece, I just need the license to carry it now. It's a shame Texas doesn't allow for open carry, it would be a much better deterrent if you KNOW someone is armed than to simply assume that every Bubba Joe & Allen Andrade are intelligent enough to follow the news and hear that we're fighting back.

Natalie said...

I've been crying since I read this. I do hope it's not someone I know, not that it makes it any less horrifying.

I've signal boosted on Livejournal. This is why I stand up.

Christina Engela said...

Things like this sadden me beyond words. Horrors like this make me wish I was better at violence than words - and I am pretty damn good at words.

Such people hate us - belittle us as "not being women" and "being evil" - and yet Rachel was good enough to rape - and being capable of such unspeakable acts they still see themselves as "better" than us?

Not my a long shot. They deserve whatever comes to them - and may it come on swift wings.

The irony and added insult is that these monsters probably think they are nice ordinary guys - good guys - and even Christians.

I am so angered by this tragedy and outrageous inhumanity that I feel like reaching for something exquisitely sharp and shiny and looking for a place to bury it.

THIS sort of hate crime is the reason why I am an activist for GLBTI equality and civil rights.

I hope our brothers and sisters - and our friends in Australia will take appropriate actions in dealing with this unspeakable example of hate for those like us.

Gentle Gamer said...

This is horrific.

Are there other news sites carrying this, yet? I'd like to disseminate that information.

Battybattybats said...

I've tried to write a dozen things.. words fail to express the horror and anger and disgust.

Anonymous said...

I want to see the Lawyer who outed her put on trial for contributory negligence. If not accessory homicide.

signe said...

I feel for everyone involved, I really do, but I must express some skepticism at the lack of any media coverage, local or national, so far.

There have been far too many internet hoax personalities for me to go on faith alone.

Honestly, I hope it is all a hoax, because nobody should go through the treatment that's described in this post.

It still saddens me greatly, fake or not.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but how in the world do you know these gory details of her murder less than a day after she was killed? Including what she did before she died? I don't believe that's possible. This sounds extremely sketchy. As transphobic as the media can be, we would have heard about this via the mainstream media by now due to the gruesome nature of the murder. Unless you can provide links to reliable media coverage or a police report, I'm gonna continue being skeptical about this. Hoping for Roo's sake it's a hoax.

Kynn said...

Oh, fuck.

immybass said...

This makes me want to retch. I hope these monsters are held to account for their unspeakable atrocity.

nullalux said...

Horrifying. Her family and friends are in our thoughts.

Anonymous said...

How did the lawyer know?

veronica said...

*still looking for anything about this in MSM*

What is the "Juliette School?" Google shows nothing. Did they mean Julliard?

Anonymous said...

With no news stories anywhere on the web I would question the validity of this tale.

Danielle said...

Did someone already mention this vlog on youtube?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3vOCA-EQRY

Anonymous said...

LOL, Youtube done by a kid. It has all the signs of a hoax.

Alyssa said...

As far as I know it is true. I found out this morning on Laura's Playground (laurasplayground.com) where Raychel (Roo!) was a Teen Mentor for the chat rooms. From what I heard there is no press release for the safety of the family.

Alyssa said...

"The family has asked that that information stay private for now. Obviously there are some details we haven't revealed yet due to respect for the family at their request..."

http://www.lauras-playground.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8583&st=40 this is where I learned about it and will probably have the most info once it is released to the public

Anonymous said...

It isn't up to a family to decide whether news about a murder is released. No "press releases" are necessary. A murder, for better or worse, is public information.

The details of this do not ring true to me, at all.

For obvious reasons, I hope it does turn out to be a hoax.

Donna

Anonymous said...

How many post-op 17 year old high school students are there in New York City? In the United States as a whole?

I'd be surprised if there are any given medical consent requirements, but there certainly can't be more than a handful.

Another reason this impresses me as a probable hoax.

Francesca said...

Underage post-ops aren't that unusual. As long as the parents understand, this is the best chance people have of going undetected, by catching it before puberty hits. And that means that a boy can have smooth skin, no adam's apple, all the things that a trans person who wishes to pass could want.

Also, the police do keep some things under wraps when someone's safety is on the line, ESPECIALLY when outting someone led to the incident in question!

Erin said...

I've been trying to find more information on this story so that I can make sure to spread the word as much as possible but I haven't been able to find anything besides here and Lauras Playground.

Is there anywhere I can direct people to find additional information on this story?

Thank you.

~Erin

Anonymous said...

As tragic is the story is, it's hugely suspicious that there is not a single news story about this. Any murder such as this typically spreads through the news media like wildfire.

Now I'm not sure whether I'm more disgusted that things like this could happen or that someone went to the trouble to write this horrible piece of fiction...

signe said...

The fact that the only people who "knew" Raychel did so in an online forum don't lend any credence to the story. As the day progresses with still no information in the media, I'm coming to the (possibly, but unlikely, incorrect) conclusion that it's fake.

Until verifiable information can be made available, there's no other way to treat this story.

A victim, any victim, that underwent these sorts of abuses, would be instantly covered by local, and possibly national, media. A transgendered minor who was two hours out of police protection after being outed by her own lawyer would be on CNN's breaking news.

Anonymous said...

When you say that under-age post-ops aren't that unusual, are you referring to the United States? On personal knowledge? Because none of the positive benefits you describe are achievable solely with GRS. (I'm curious only as it relates to the credibility of this news story, since this struck me as unlikely.)

Lloyd Flack said...

I'm afraid it sounds real to me. If it is a hoax it is one very deliberately targeted at a small group and designed to cause as much distress as possible. They would have to be able to gather a fair bit of information about the victim and the transsexual community, granted not too hard. The victim has not made any refutation of the hoax leading to the conclusion that there is probably no hoax, unfortunately. Any hoaxers would probably know a reason why there would not be a refutation for some time.

I get the impression that this was in a small town. The police could ask the local paper (which is probably only a weekly, if that) not to say anything yet and they could also not inform the major news media organizations. They would not know if the police did not inform them. They might be doing this for the safety of the family or to help with investigations. They might be thinking that the less information is out, the better the chance of tripping up a suspect.

Octobriana (Oz) said...

Like one of the posters before this, I've been doing some checking on this story , as it's not the sort of thing you pass on without independent verification. I can't find any. Even if Raychel is a pseudonym, the details don't add up.

Someone dying (in an extremely graphic way) as a direct result of a lawyer being indiscreet in court? How would the media NOT run with this, even without the trans factor? If it were "hushed up" as suggested in the forums, how are the details known to the posters?

Also, the video referenced is peculiar in that it seems to lack conviction. I'm also suspicious that another video posted by that person is a song about a car crash (mentioned in the account).

I may be wrong in this, but until I see independent reporting of this I'm not passing it on. Brutal torture and murder are unfortunately all too common for trans folk. The details of Gisberta in Portugal (who was tortured for three days by teenagers and then thrown into a pit to die) is a case in point.

But this story doesn't add up. Why are there no verifiable photos of her, either on the forum or elsewhere (there IS a Rachel Roo on MySpace)? I think it's irresponsible to propagate this story without further independent details.

Anonymous said...

I am just ever the skeptical one. Hate me for it if you want. If this actually happened, I will feel terrible for the victim. However, I just don't buy it. There's no news articles ANYWHERE, just a quote from a message board admin who later says "
The family has asked that that information stay private for now." What?

First, I don't know what part of NY she was from, but it certainly isn't the part of NY I'm from.

Next... Just turned 18 and post-op? To start with I find that right there a bit hard to believe.

Next... the article says her father was killed in a car accident and her mother lost her arm. Then it states that a lawyer outed her at a trial a month later. OK.. First red flag. If there was litigation over a car accident it's going to take way longer than a month for there to be a trial.

Next... The post said "The town had a negative reaction." Wha? First off, what town? If this trial were that publicized that the entire town knew about it, why can't I find a news article on this ANYWHERE? Second, if the town was small enough that everyone would know everyone's business, the town would already know she was trans. Third, I want to know what "Town" this was, because no one where I live in NY could care less if you're trans or not.

OK next... The post says she and her mother received death threats and that they were under police surveillance, but the police stopped the surveillance and the same day she rode her bike to the store and never came home. OK, now if you're getting death threats taken seriously enough to have police protection, why on earth would you leave your home and ride your bike ANYWHERE unprotected?

Next... They found her bike in a dumpster. Wha? Why would you put a bike in a dumpster? If this place was that much of a hood that crazed tranny haters were roving in swarms, it seems it would have made more sense to just leave the bike somewhere. It would get stolen and someone else would get the blame. Putting the bike in a dumpster?

Next... No fingerprints, she was gangraped and no semen either? And this was supposedly a gang of kids from school that did this? They must be young criminal masterminds. And I'm sorry, but I can't picture teenage boys who are after a transgirl and want to kill her simply because she's trans, raping her.

Next... They buried her alive and she crawled three hours because they broke her kneecaps? Where did they take her? It seems something this incredible would have made some kind of news story, but it hasn't.

None of this adds up. Sorry, call me callous, but I don't buy it. I'm not saying that this sort of thing never happens. Of course it does. But I have to call a spade and spade. Anything less just leads to false rumors and outrage spreading like wildfire and when the real thing happens, people will stop paying attention.

- anon in NY

Chloe_SRS said...

Verified or not I'm going to reply as if it were verified stone cold fact for the sake of venting.

This story makes me incredibly outraged. I hope this story gets as big as the Gwen Aruajo and Brandon Teena stories did. It sounds like this girl did everything right -- did the dance, fit into society, didn't make a spectacle of herself, and was actually living a normal life, like I'm doing, and her lawyer outs her? Really? This not only highlights criminal neglegence on the part of the lawyer, (who should be permanently disbarred) this is also a clear and unprovoked example of a hate crime.

I'm very careful when using that term, "hate crime", because I'm not too thrilled with its abuse over the years, but this sounds like a textbook example.

Mae said...

The only reporting of this is on Laura's Playground, and the details you've posted here are different and far more detailed. It looks like this blog post is an embroidery on the first, and the first makes little sense either and is completely uncorroborated by ANY media reports.

It is extremely important for hate crimes against gay and transpeople to be noted and publicized. Spurious hearsay like this simply muddies the waters and makes us all look foolish when it's proven to be a hoax.

Lloyd Flack said...

For this to be a hoax either the victim never existed or someone is spinning a tale about her. For her not to be real someone would have to have been playing her role on the net for some time. Isn't it likely they would have tripped up and posted something odd by now? I think people should have already have been finding something off about her if that was so. If they are spinning a tale about a real person why hasn't there been a denial by now?

A hoax has some problems too. Whether a hoax or real, whatever happened was am unlikely story that happened to be true.

Zoe Brain said...

I hope this is a hoax. There's more information over at laura's playground.

signe said...

Lloyd, I don't see what's so improbable about the hoax being that this person ever existed. These kinds of hoaxes, and cons, occur on the net daily, and sometimes to the tune of quite a lot of money changing hands in "donations".

Only what, last week, the hoax involving the pregnant woman whose child had an incurable terminal disease, but who resolved to have the child anyway. That got national news coverage and was taken up by anti-abortion activists to be their new "be like this woman" example. It all came out that not a single word of it was true.

Men and women are conned every day by people pretending to be who they're not.

Without even a single hard fact in any of the stories, there's nothing to corroborate that Raychel ever existed as anything other than as a name on a bulletin board.

Lloyd Flack said...

Signe,
It appears that she had been posting on the net for about a year. Nothing particularly odd was noticed by anyone she communicated with. I think it would be hard for a malicious hoaxer to keep up the act. I can't tell from the links whether anyone communicated with her other than by email. From a quick look it seems as if there probably was some more direct contact by some of the others on Laura's Playground but I can't be sure.

It just seems odd someone goes online and convincingly plays the part of a nice person and the ends it with a vicious prank. An awful lot of effort for such a punchline. And difficult to pull off especially for a sociopath or a fanatic. I think they would have slipped, granted people would not be on the look out for malicious jokes. It is a case where there are no likely explanations only unlikely ones but one of them must be true. Happens, as readers of this blog should know.

Anonymous said...

There are so many things about this story that ring false, as others have pointed out.

With broken knee caps, she climbs out of a shallow grave and crawls 3 miles? Somebody, I think, has been watching too many movies.

She gets found and brought to the hospital on the brink of death, and dies that night -- but somehow has the strength to tell this extremely detailed story before she expires? Including telling the police that she'd been gang raped and they'd used condoms and traveled in a van, and directing the police to the shallow grave 3 miles away? (How did she know how many miles she'd crawled, by the way?)

Since when do they get the rape kit results back so quickly that they'd know the same night that she was gang raped and there was no semen?

Since when is all this investigation accomplished in less than 24 hours, especially if this is supposed to be some small town?

And, given how private the police are supposedly keeping this -- so much so that there isn't a hint of a news story about a hospital death of a young woman resulting from violence, exactly the kind of thing the tabloids would be all over -- how exactly did it happen that these friends of hers are, remarkably, privy to all these lurid details?

If it is a hoax, and this alleged 18 year old turns out to be both alive, and not the person she says she was, well, I'll be happy first and foremost that this never happened, but also pretty angry.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but this story screams just "fake" for a number of reasons.
First: in the US no accident, however fatal, leads to trials within a month.
Never.
The time-line for something like this is more like 2-4 years.
Second: "police protection" is very hard to get.
And think of the time-line -- the so-called accident was only a month ago, and somehow this trial has supposedly happened, resulting in an outing, and bad feeling, and threats.
Police protection has already been provided, AND been dropped?
(Police protection was provided, to begin with?)
Really, truly it would be impossible for all this to happen within only a few weeks. Or, frankly, at all.
Third: families have very, very little to say about publicity when something like this happens.
The press would be all over it.
Fourth: Julliard is a big deal name.
Incoming dancer-Julliard student being murdered would be major, major headlines.
No headlines?
Hmmmmm....
On the other hand, teen fantasy people only ever go to the top schools.

So, why would someone do something like this?
I dunno, but here's an article on the phenomenon:
http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2009/06/your-basic-template-for-a-fake-online-death
Or just google "fake death" + online for lots and lots of examples.

Anonymous said...

This is going to sound sort of terrible, but for the community at large, I don't think it really matters whether or not this is a hoax. Whether or not the secondary, supporting details hold up, the primary details (trans victim of a hate crime, etc) are not only completely feasible, but fit in perfectly with a larger pattern of anti-trans violence.

For that reason, even if this event is a hoax, I believe that the big-picture message is just as valid: we still have a lot of work to do, a lot of progress to make as a species. Even if this particular event didn't actually happen, there is an entire class of events exactly like it that do happen, and there is still work that needs to be done to bring them to an end.

If we do find out that this is a hoax, we might be able to breathe a sigh of relief for a moment but we'll still know in the back of our minds that it's only a matter of time until the next name is added to the Day of Remembrance's rolls.

- ellysabeth

Straight Ally from Maine said...

I can't even come up with words to convey how sickened and mortified and appalled that something like this could happen in real life, to anyone.

I am so sorry, from the bottom of my heart, that this happened to your friend, and her mother & you are in my prayers.

Postcardsky said...

Some people here are suggesting that this is a hoax. And while that's a possibility, it's also just as possible that this has occurred and is not being reported by MSM and by police. Such things do frequently happen .. and word of mouth by people who knew her is sometimes the only sources of information for the 'undesirables' of society. Please keep that in mind.

Mae said...

For those who wonder how someone could be online for a year and then do this...there's nothing saying the person wasn't legitimately online and has become or was always disturbed and has created this hoax for the attention. That's pretty elementary and happens online an awful lot with unhappy teens.

Secondly, it IS important to know if this is real or not. We do not raise awareness by passing on lies and hysteria. We create awareness by speaking about real victims, and not giving the haters ammunition to say that we are making things up to gain attention. It's the Peter and the Wolf principle, people. Cry "wolf" often enough and nobody listens when the beast is really attacking.

Truth is always the best weapon we have.

loulou said...

Only reading it made my insides really....i can - i think- feel all this time...you know all her fear at "that" time and all her "hope" to make it- to get help=to live- to survive-to go on in life and to keep sharing and giving.What a adorable young woman.She matters.Because she lived her life like a clear cristal string....of music harmony and love
She ll not be be forgotten
she will be living in our breaths and our hearts
be sure
Lou

Storms_Balance said...

My name is Roran Storms. I live in Portland Oregon.
My prayers of healing, and ways to deal with your grief in a healthy way go to you and all who are affected by the loss of this young girl.
I just got back from something called the Naraya, we dance around the tree of life for 3nights.
My prayers and my heart are thinking of all of you and this young girl.
Blessed Be and warm thoughts

Storms_Balance said...

ps. May the perpetrators of this crime on Raychel "Roo" be caught and prosecuted for this terrible crime.
May they recieve swift and lawful justice. May the lawyers and judges and the jury see the brutality of these perpetrators and respond with the full extent of their power.
So mote it be, so mote it be, so mote it be

Anonymous said...

Before we all get into an absolute tizzy over this story, THIS STORY SMELLS HEAVILY OF HOAX!. There isn't a place in the United States that could get a trial of an auto accident murder into court to get her outed this fast.

For a murder that is allegedly only a few days old, the details of a person crawling 3 miles with broken knees, being buried alive, and getting gang raped are well beyond even the police departments capability of investigation. Unless the person who actually reported this incident was part of those who murdered, this is way to much information way too quickly.

Before we press this story, can we have
A) The city she was murdered in
B) The alleged hospital where treatment happened
C) Details that would support this post.

We need to be careful in our community not to stir up anger and anxiety over a story that appears questionable until some facts come out. If no facts come out, the poster of the story should be charged with a crime.

Stories like these lead people to believe that the transgender community is crazy and in no way helps us legitimize our lives. This story needs to be pulled until facts can be presented.

My understanding is this started at Laura's Playground. This is irresponsible and Laura needs to be told that she is creating a firestorm over what very well could be an investigatable crime.

Max Andrews said...

We LGBT folks are by and large a peaceful tribe - we are writers, artists, musicians and, like Roo, dancers.

However (and God help me, I hate to write this), it is time for those of us in the U.S. to begin to take part in our 2nd Amendment right.

I am not advocating vigilantism, but I am advocating organizing ourselves to learn self-defense; to learn how to use firearms; to become licensed to carry them (in those states where legal); and to protect ourselves.

We should continue to try to live in peace. But sometimes, as my fellow Georgian would say, peace needs a piece.

May Roo dance forever.

Max Andrews
Atlanta, Georgia

Mercedes said...

It's catch-22 in reporting on something like this at this stage. Angie Zapata's murder was reported for nearly a week with old name and pronouns and no mention of being trans in the news until the community got p!$$ed off enough at the press that they listened (and look at the continued use of Lateisha Cannon's old name and references as a "gay male" in NY). I think it was Monica Roberts who first posted the article saying "I have it on good information that..." and it took several more days to show her to be right.

That said, there would at least be something in the press by now about someone in New York State about that age who died from an assault, and I'm not seeing it, so I'm hoping it's a hoax. What's more is that if she's post-op, then the legal name change should be done, making it more likely that the name Raychel should be used, and again, nothing.

We'll have to give it a few more days, but cross your fingers and hope it's just a cruel joke or someone unthinking using a lie to dramatize risks we face.

Zoe Brain said...

I'm aware of at least one similar case in Colorado where the victim, against all odds, survived.
That was 18 months ago, and there was never any MSM mention. There were police reports though.

Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munchausen_by_internet

Anonymous said...

Can you validate the story on the transgender Teen Death. The facts that are posted are highly suspect and sensational. It appears to be a hoax and one that is in very poor taste and hurting the trans community heavily in a time when we are fighting very hard to be understood.

What was the city?
What was the state?
How did she receive surgery at 18 (ie Post Op)
How was there an trial where she was outed less than a month after an accident. Insurance companies alone need 90 days to investigate and police/prosecutors don’t bring cases to court that fast. Discovery alone is 120 days minimum and in vehicular homicide cases or even a civil case, that can be as long as a years worth of discovery.
Crawling 3 miles with broken knee caps is simply not credible at this point?
Plus being buried alive and digging herself out and then crawling 3 miles?

Please pull the post until actual facts or fiction can be separated. I would hate to see this website seriously discredited with this story.

Zoe Brain said...

I don't pull posts. I update them, with the erroneous data still exposed, along with a correction.

Basically, I don't cover up errors.

Right now, I'm hoping it's a hoax. But I wouldn't be surprised if there's an announcement about the funeral either.

Until further data comes in, I'm not recommending to advocacy groups that this be publicised.

Either way, I'll update the post accordingly.

Brooke said...

I've checked 20 NY state Newspapers for even a mention of a police report. Cant'find it. Any details please. According to Laura's Playground the family wants privacy- understand, but there right now is not even a mention of any attacks in the NY state area.
Details Please so we can confirm this story.. town? police jurisdiction? Hospital? anything-

Anonymous said...

Mae -

I'm not saying we should use this person as a poster child even if the events didn't actually happen. I'm saying we have plenty of icons for our cause already, even if this case turns out false. Angie Zapata, Gwen Araujo, these names should not be forgotten too readily.

I'm not really looking at this as an excuse to beat war drums or drag out pitchforks and torches so much as a simple reminder that we still have a lot of work to do.

If this particular situation was nothing more than a depressed child's stunt, that message is still true - we still have a lot of work to do in hope that we can slow the stream of names appearing in our death-rolls, in hope that less Angie Zapatas will happen, in hope that we can curb the Memphis epidemic, etc.

Our cause is perfectly valid without this particular icon, and I wouldn't use this story to advance our cause until it's verified anyway... but we still have miles to go before we sleep.

- ellysabeth

Anonymous said...

http://www.lauras-playground.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8660

Make of it what you will.

- ellys

Anonymous said...

Laura's Playground has said the following: http://www.lauras-playground.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8660&st=0#entry81111

Anonymous said...

This story was and is a hoax. Hoaxs of this nature are used to discredit the trans community by right wing conservative organizations and those who utilize hatred as a weapon. We need to be ever vigilant that the stories we are receiving on the web are truthful and verifiable.

Laura was fooled by an insider of that she knew,. It's a horrible thing to do to a community that has as much anger focussed at us. This could have turned into a very powerful time bomb for any number of our world wide community. With a 50% reported suicide attempt rate in the Trans community, this kind of lie places our community in mortal danger. To tolerate the post is unacceptable and the person needs to be charged with perpetrating a fraud with the world wide damage that occurred off the lie.

There is no excuse to create victims out of a total lie.

My humblest hope that those of you that were shattered with such an aweful lie will stick to the community and support you have. We can win the battle against such hatred, but it will take every single one of us to do it.

Check out http://www.dallasprinciples.org and see where you can start helping.

Big hugs to all......

Carolyn Ann said...

If she was Juliette-bound, she was going to attend a college in Georgia.

Otherwise it's Julliard.

I think the story is a fake.

Carolyn Ann

Anonymous said...

I'm a gay man, not trans, but I do feel your pain in this.

But.. I don't think it's legitimate to get upset at humanity if this is a hoax. You can't blame people for harboring hatred when the case you use is fake. Your anger is misplaced.

I know there's a lot of hatred out there to Trans. But save your anger for the REAL criminals. Not the fake ones.

I've hosted and ran plenty of websites and forums, and sadly, this is a game that teenagers play nowadays. They'll jump on, create a persona, get into the role, have fun.. and then decide that they've had enough. Usually when this happens, they do it in a dramatic and unbelievable story. I don't know this story intimately, but I do know the symptoms. I see this too much. I've seen people "killed by their dad", "fallen off a tall building by accident", "committed suicide in a pack with three other friends", "died after being kidnapped", "died after bravely stepping in the front of a bullet in a botched robbery", "died when a gang machine gunned the wrong house", and on, and on, and on.

Unfortunately, there is a game called "trolling" on the net.. and sometimes get quite into the game. This might be what has happened here.

Also..

What was described as happening to her requires FAR too much preparation and effort to be a crime of this type. The description is of a crime of passion.. not a crime of hatred and unmitigated rage.

Postcardsky said...

"What was described as happening to her requires FAR too much preparation and effort to be a crime of this type"

I live in Staten Island, NY. We have a large organized crime element. They own homes, businesses, work as cops, newspapers, etc. Oh, and their very homophobic. People have disappeared. Street kids, prostitutes, druggies, etc. No news reports .. nothing. So when I hear broken kneecaps and being buried alive, it doesn't sound so far-fetched but very New York.

Anonymous said...

It is with much chargrin and embarrassment that I must admit that this has been a gigantic hoax. The information that I provided above was thought to be true, provided to us by what we thought was a reliable source. Upon a lot of investigating on our own, we found that this was not the case. We have been "Had" royally so it seems. This is not over. We will continue to investigate untill we get to the bottom of this. I know you all think that we're a bunch of fools over at Laura's and maybe you're right. We sure did get fooled on this one.
Again, I apologize for all the turmoil that this hoax has caused.

MaryEllen

Emily K. said...

Thanks MaryEllen for being honest in your evaluation of the situation.

Zoe: Maybe at least move the update above the post, and use a strike-through around the rest of the post?

There are a lot of links pointing here, and I hope the current knowledge can be reflected -- the old news is pretty awful & damaging in a ton of ways, and at this point, false.

Thanks

TotalD said...

To the anonymous troller who "claims" to be gay . Move on Mr, you think we need this to be angry ? The only reason these people got fooled is because of it is god damn true ! Every word resonates the same as the ones we hear over and over again of the cartoon violence dolled out by latently gay men who haven't come to terms with their sexuality. Help them will you ?

"Gwen was choked , then had her face beaten in with a full can and then a frying pan, they kneed and kicked her in the head dragged her body to the garage where they smashed her in the face with a shovel then strangled her and then drove her to the desert and buried her."

Sound familiar ?! It should because it happens over and over and over. I don't care if Rachel's real because she was just the breaking point. Now I'm mad and I think you all are too. What you wrote Zoe was EXACTLY how I felt. Just before I read that I read this.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7561957.stm

The fake ? !!!! You miserable little troll , there were already enough murders to earn a riot ! It's time it damn well stopped and we aren't taking any more of your condescending attitude.


Here are the facts girls, we are gaining massive ground . In the last few years we have made incredible inroads. We had 14 companies pull out of a radio station to protect transkids . Expect more of these little detours because they don't want it to happen . Enjoy.

Dars

Anonymous said...

Your anger is misplaced, and understood, Dars.

I am the person who "claims" to be gay. I was beaten up once, my face left bloody and on the side of a curb, in front of hundreds of people. My town was so "anti-gay" that people just walked by while I bled and spit portions of my teeth out.

You call me a troll?

No. No sir or ma'am. A troll is what this Raychel person was. A troll is what took advantage of this community for the past year.

I'm on your SIDE, and you're attacking me because, what? Because I'm gay and not trans?

Look. This case was likely a teenager playing a game. But I'm painfully aware of how much NOT a game this is.

You owe me an apology. You looked for the worst in me, and you saw what you wanted to see. Your anger is justified, but horribly misplaced. I fucking took fists to the face for something I had no say in. Don't tell me I don't understand, and don't you DARE call me a troll.

Signed,
Gay, in the FUCKING deep south, where I might as well be dead.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps there is a unique opportunity here for us, as transgendered people, to gain some perspective:
The (justified) outrage and disappointment that some of us feels towards the 'Raychel' hoax is exactly the same emotion/sentiment (non transgendered) people experience when we as trans people come out to them. I'm talking about co-workers, family, friends who we've known for years.
In learning to deal with this hoax, I hope that some of us gain some insight on the emotional difficulties those around us experience with respect to our transgender issues.
Lynn

ariablue said...

Sir or ma'am?

SickOfLiars said...

There's a guy in Chicago who's been pulling hoaxes like this (though not quite this bad) for over a year on Craigslist's TG forum. I have a funny feeling he's behind this somehow.

TotalD said...

"You can't blame people for harboring hatred when the case you use is fake. "-you

I owe you nothing you anonymous fraud ! What kind of an idiot writes that kind of BS ?!!!!!!! THIS WAS ONE STORY IN THOUSANDS OF REAL STORIES ABOUT THE ULTRA VIOLENT MURDERS OF TRANSWOMEN ! Can't blame people for harboring hate ??!! Get lost troll ! You haven't taken a god damn thing for me , I have my own scars ! And don't ever try the " because I'm gay " baloney as I have more gay allies than you have hair follicles and they don't post anonymously !

Anonymous said...

This is about Zoe not checking the validity of the things she posts.

RadarGrrl said...

As I just posted to a Facebook link from Andrea James...

I was one who fell for it, and passed it on. Given the recent events surrounding Gwen Araujo and Angie Zapata, this one sounded absolutely plausible, especially considering my source was someone who I thought was diligent in checking her facts.

While this hoax has been anything from a big pain in the ass to an emotional drag through the mud, it's really good to see just how many people rose to the occasion, and how quickly. There's hope for us yet.

Danielle said...

Zoe, you got skooled by a hoaxer--and a pretty accomplished one, at that, it seems--but don't let it get you down or stop you from doing the work you've been doing. You're getting to them, you see, and they have to cloak themselves in order to fight back. Keep up the good work. We need you now more than ever, kiddo.

Jade Catherine said...

Hi, Anon Gay Man - thanks for the information. It all makes more sense if it's a part of a known phenomenon of hoaxes - even if it's a known phenomenon that's crazy in its own way. Really, though, we've all met people crazy for attention, we just didn't realize people would go THIS crazy for attention.

We all benefit from the anonymity of the internet when we make our first terrified steps toward coming out; this is the other edge of that two-edged sword. Ironic: anonymity makes it easier to tell the truth about yourself, *or* to lie about yourself.

Anonymous said...

the story was a total hoax the person rachel roo wasnt even real this is confirmed by the person that spread the hoax it was a character she had created totally of fiction

Anonymous said...

This story is a complete hoax. I fail to understand how anybody can be so gullible.