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Colorado rally protests killing of transwoman

Published Aug 18, 2008 9:36 PM

On July 23 the Colorado Anti-Violence Program held a rally in Greeley for Angie Zapata, a Latina transwoman who was murdered on July 17. CAVP is an organization “dedicated to eliminating violence within and against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities in Colorado.”

According to CAVP, last year in Colorado there were 118 bias-motivated acts of violence committed against LGBTQ people.

The murder of 21-year-old Zapata in her Greeley apartment was brutal. She was beaten to death by 31-year-old Allen Ray Andrade, whom she met on the Internet and dated.

Andrade’s own accounts led to the murder being qualified as a hate crime, as he states that he killed her because he “discovered” her identity as a transperson. He describes Zapata as “it,” ruthlessly stating that he delivered a final blow, using a fire extinguisher as a weapon, once he realized he had not “killed it” after repeatedly battering her. (Associated Press, July 30)

Colorado’s Bias-Motivated Crimes statute “finds and declares that it is the right of every person, regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation to be secure and protected from fear, intimidation, harassment, and physical harm caused by the activities of individuals and groups.” It defines sexual orientation as “a person’s actual or perceived orientation toward heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgender status.”

Kelly Costello, director of victim services at CAVP, said in a press release: “A hate crime like this serves to intimidate and disrupt an entire community. No one should ever live their lives in fear and intimidation regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While we work to show everyone the gravity of hate crimes and the importance of preventing their reoccurrence, we also work towards building a world where everyone enjoys human rights and the ability to live with dignity and respect.”

The quote speaks to the broader mission of CAVP, a member organization of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. Greeley is home to the Swift meatpacking plant, which has allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and local authorities to raid its premises and round up undocumented immigrant workers.