I am pretty behind the curve on this one - her case has already been covered by many women more qualified and articulate than me.
However, this is, sort of, my point. These are all bloggers who have a particular knowledge of transgender issues, and care about them. I have heard virtually nothing in the mainstream media, besides occasional mentions on the BBC. Shanniel Hyatt was acquitted in August this year, and Kelly has now been dead for a year – a year in which her sister and mother have gone through hell, and a lot of us have shivered in the chill of prejudice coming from the attitudes surrounding this case.
You know how this guy, Shanniel Hyatt, was acquitted? The court found that she strangled herself. Queen Emily lays out the evidence clearly and concisely:
“His successful defense which "proved" he didn't kill Kellie Telesford was:
You see, trans women have MAGIC POWERS. We can kill ourselves with scarves with partial DNA matches of the suspect. Who was placed at the scene by CCTV and stole her phone and stuff. But, like, totally didn't strangle her, even though the doctor said there was no evidence of kinky sex gone wrong.”
You see, when gender comes into a case, as it does whenever and only when a non-cis-male is involved in some shape or form, this usually means that sex was involved. Because, of course, anyone who identifies outside the heteronorm, is doing so purely on the basis of what they do in bed. Which is kinky, obv. And when sex comes into the picture, it has a habit of obscuring everything else, particularly when that ‘something else’ is evidence of bigotry and hatred. Which means, QED, that Kelly Telesford killed herself. Personally, I favour Occam’s razor – the simplest explanation (i.e. that she was killed by the person with whom she spent the night with, and who was proved to have stolen her things and was caught on CCTV leaving her apartment, leaving his DNA on the blanket covering her dead body). But then what do I know?
The series of post titles on the BBC website for Kelly Telesford are horribly telling. As the details came out, she was routinely dehumanised – not by the killer but the media, who seemed to be determined to do the defence counsel’s work for them:
Notice, how, as Kelly was deemed less ‘woman’ and more ‘object’, the case against the killer seems ever stronger, and acquittal ever more likely? And also, the case in general seems to be deemed less interesting to the public (it becomes ‘London’ news, rather than ‘oh-holy-fuck-yet-another-trans-woman-has-been killed-and-we-still-haven’t-got-the-balls-to-call-out-transphobia-and-misogyny-as-loudly-as-possible’ news?
This is a case where racism, sexism, transphobia and also homophobia are linked so inextricably that it seems pointless to call attention to the interconnectedness of ‘isms’, and yet it has never been so vital. A woman died, and her killer walked free. The oldest story in the book, and yet few seem to realise yet that until we are all free from oppression, none of us are. And the people most likely to suffer in this hierarchy are the ones least able to defend themselves and obtain justice.