Rep. Jeanne Richardson is trying to get “gender identity added to the hate crimes statute. I’d be glad to see this anyway, but I’m doubly glad to see it considering the situation in Memphis.
Oh, I know, “But B., just yesterday you were saying ‘fuck “intent.” “Intent” doesn’t count for shit. It’s the results of your actions.'” (That’s right, I did just use the dreaded triply-embedded quotation mark. I don’t even know if that’s legal, but I think I pulled it off masterfully.)
So, I’ve given this some thought. Can one run around being all “I don’t care if his intentions were good, what he did was fucked up and that’s what counts” yesterday and today be all “If you intend to harm someone because of her gender identity, that should up your sentence.” and not be a hypocrite?
The answer is, “I don’t know.”
It doesn’t feel, from in here, like a contradictory position, because those feel like two very different uses of the word “intent.” In the first case, “intentions” are just vague feelings and in the second case, “intentions” means your purpose. If you intended for everything to work out well, that’s relying a lot on luck and your best wishes. But if you intend to show those queers a thing or two, you have a purpose to your actions and that purpose is a problem for the whole community.
And it seems like considering the latter is appropriate. The statute has a whole list of circumstances under which the status of a person’s victim would enhance his sentence–children, developmentally disabled people, firefighters, police officers, and so on. I don’t see why adding people who don’t conform to gender expectations to it is any big deal.
(Though, interestingly enough, I bet you guys didn’t know this little bit was in there:
The defendant intentionally selected the person against whom the crime was committed or selected the property that was damaged or otherwise affected by the crime, in whole or in part, because of the defendant’s belief or perception regarding the race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or gender of that person or the owner or occupant of that property; however, this subdivision (17) should not be construed to permit the enhancement of a sexual offense on the basis of gender selection alone
Emphasis mine. Because god forbid we not see rape for the hate crime it is.)
Anyway, I don’t know. I could be trying to argue for a distinction that isn’t there.
I’m still glad to see it.