Trans/Migrant -Christina Madrazo’s All-American Story

Trans/Migrant- Christina Madrazo’s All-American Story

Alisa Solomon

Madrazo is a transsexual women from Mexico. In april 2002 she announced she was suing the US government for $15million dollars. In May 2000 she was raped by a guard in an immigration detention facility in Miami Florida. The gurad was able to get off on a plea and was only sentenced to prison.

Solomon asks specific questions about Madrazo’s case

  • Why is rape so easy to commit in such a place and, on the rare occasions when it is prosecuted, so easily reduced to misdemeanor charges?
  • Why are the arcane systems of tort claims more accessible than criminal or civil rights laws?
  • How can Madrazo’s all-American dream of having the freedom “just tolive my life and be myself” be so thwarted, indeed, so trampled, by a range of bureaucracies representing a state that claims to be founded on such ideals?
  • How can it be that the very persecution from which she is seeking refuge was taken up as a cudgel by the state to which she appealed?

The article goes on to describe the environment that Christina Madrazo find herself in, in the detention center.

Then Solomon addresses a case that Katrina Rose analyzes, the title: “When Is an Attempted Rape Not an Attempted Rape? When the Victim Is a Transsexual.” –Schwenk v. Hartford

This was a civil rights action brought by a transsexual prisoner. Crystal Schwenk alleged that her Eighth Amendment rights-not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment- had been violated by a guard who sexually assaulted her repeatedly.

“Rose argues that the judicial approach in the case-most of all the judge’s assertion that Title VII barred discrimination not just on the basis of sex, but also on the basis of gender-has far-reaching significance for transgender rights in general.”(15).

The guard’s defense was that his actions constituted at worst ”’same-sex sexual harassment’ and not sexual assault.

“Schwenk filed charges under the Gender-Motivated Violence Act, the state of Washington insisted that the GMVA does not apply to transsexuals or men, even though it declares that “All persons within the United States shall have the right to be free from crimes of violence motivated by gender.”(15).  This statement suggests that a victims Transsexuality was the reason for the assault and therefore not an assault because the assault wasn’t based on gender.

Basically violence against transsexuals does not exist.

Madrazo was deportable when she was taken in to the detention however because she was from mexico she was kept in the INS. The high numbers of immigrants meant that they kept the Mexican immigrants in the dentention centre- in order to deter illegal migration.

Miami Herald reported that Madrazo had tried to be sexual with another male detainee. There were no sources for this statement and Madrazo was not given the opportunity to dismiss that claim. Alisa Solomon stated that the readers were no interpreting Madrazo and her case as “Mexican tranny equals perpetually sexcrazed prostitute, bringing perversion and pecuniary lust to America; therefore, she solicited sex. And therefore (though this is only tacitly implied) she could not have been raped.”

“The prosecutor supposedly pressing the case on Madrazo’s behalf explained to me that he wouldn’t have been able to win a rape conviction “beyond a reasonable doubt” because in addition to the guard’s semen (determined by DNA tests on underwear Madrazo had the presence of mind to keep as evidence) some of Madrazo’s semen had also been found on a towel in her cel1”(19)

Solomon states, “The possibility of a wet dream or involuntary ejaculation seems to have escaped the prosecutor, or at least to have seemed not at all compelling compared to the readily available assumption that a Mexican transsexual would have wanted it”(19).

Solomon reads Madrazo’s actions as her asking American to protect her and instead a guard raped her. But what Solomon also goes on to state and I have to agree with her is that Madrazo spoke up and stood up for herself and every other person who has been abused or is a transsexual or even a migrant. She may not have won the case but she did not just lay down and take it.


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