21 February 2007

New ideas on Martha's death

For as long as I can remember, Sarah's first girlfriend, Martha, a transgender woman herself, is supposed to die a violent death. Specifically, I wanted to put her on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and weave the tragedy of that day into the plotline. It would also serve to ratchet up Sarah's xenophobia level toward homophobic cultures.

In my last class this past fall, the instructor and a few classmates had reservations about this idea. Given that 9/11 was a huge, tragic event with many stories around it, I could write an entire novel based on the events of that day alone. For the purposes of my novel, they thought 9/11 was too intense a way to kill Martha off. There were plenty of other ways to make my point across without such an intense, heavy event, they told me.

Now, I am getting an idea. Martha will be a victim of simple hate crime. Although I need to work out the details of her death, I am thinking along these lines for now:

Martha is on a layover in New York City, and after a late night out in Manhattan, she takes a cab back to her airport hotel. The Jamaican driver of the unlicensed cab reads Martha as a transgender woman, takes her to a dark secluded street, and assaults and kills her. Her body is found the next morning, naked from the waist down, with mutilated male genitals. Sarah flies into New York City but is not even allowed to see Martha's body, as the two did not have a registered domestic partnership. (Sarah later gets pictures of dead Martha from the airline HR offices, which did recognize her relationship to Martha.) The police and the mayor's office are both very uncooperative and outright hostile - Sarah can thank Rudy Giuliani's transphobia, despite his own crossdressing and pro-gay politics.

I guess I will take it from there. Truly, Rudy Giuliani was a disaster for New York City's transgender community. Only when Michael Bloomberg succeeded him did New York City pass an antidiscrimination ordinance for the transgender community - Rudy was the stumbling block in its passage.

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