Brandon Teena


Brandon Teena

Infobox Person
name = Brandon Teena



image_size =
caption =
birth_name = Teena Renae Brandon
birth_date = birth date|1972|12|12|mf=y
birth_place = Lincoln, Nebraska
death_date = death date and age|1993|12|31|1972|12|12|mf=y
death_place = Humboldt, Nebraska
death_cause = Murder by gunshot
resting_place =
resting_place_coordinates =
residence =
nationality = American
other_names = Billy Brenson, Tena Ray
known_for =
education =
occupation =
home_town =
parents =

Brandon Teena, (born Teena Renae Brandon December 12, 1972 - December 31, 1993 in Lincoln, Nebraska), was a biological female American living as a transman known as "Brandon" who was raped and murdered in one of the most infamous hate crimes of the 1990s.Note: - as Brandon Teena was never his legal name, it is uncertain the extent to which this name was used prior to his death. It is the name most commonly used by the press and other media. Other names may include his legal name, as well as "Billy Brenson" and "Tena Ray"] Matzner, Andrew. [http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/teena_b.html Teena, Brandon (1972-1993).] GLBTQ Encyclopedia. Accessed 14 March 2007.] cite web |url=http://laws.findlaw.com/8th/973708p.html |title=U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals JoAnn Brandon v Charles B. Laux |accessdate=2006-12-07 |publisher=FindLaw ] [cite web |url=http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/columns/2000/03/brandon.html|title=Boys Do Cry|author=Howey, Noelle|date=2000-03-22|accessdate=2006-12-07 |publisher="Mother Jones"] Teena is the subject of the Academy Award-winning 1999 film "Boys Don't Cry", which was based on the documentary film "The Brandon Teena Story".cite web |url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0144801/ |title=The Brandon Teena Story |accessdate=2006-12-07 |publisher=IMDB ]

Biography

Childhood

Brandon Teena was born female in Lincoln, Nebraska. Brandon's family described Brandon as a tomboy. While Teena was still living as a girl, she was sexually assaulted by a male relative. According to Teena's mother, JoAnn Brandon, they sought counseling together in 1991.

Teena began identifying as male in high school and dated several girls. Brandon's mother rejected Teena's male identity and continued referring to him as her daughter. Teena claimed to be intersex several times, but this was later proven to be false.Ramsland, Katherine. [http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/not_guilty/brandon/1.html Notorious Murders - Not Guilty? Teena Brandon] Accessed 14 March 2007.]

Falls City, Nebraska

In 1993, after some legal trouble, Teena moved to Falls City region of Richardson County, Nebraska where he identified solely as a man.

Teena became friends with several local residents. After moving in to the home of Lisa Lambert, Teena began dating one of Lambert's friends, Lana Tisdel. He also began associating with ex-convicts John Lotter and Marvin "Tom" Nissen. Nissen was married and had two children. Tisdel and Lotter had been friends since childhood and had dated several years before. Another man, Phillip DeVine, began to date Tisdel’s younger sister, and he also became friends with Brandon.

On December 15, Brandon was jailed for forging checks. Tisdel paid his bail. Because Brandon was in the female section of the jail, Tisdel learned that he was biologically female.

When Tisdel questioned Teena about his gender, he told her he was pursuing a sex change operation, and they continued dating. [ [http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/not_guilty/brandon/2.html Teena Brandon, a young transsexual who is murdered in a hate-crime on truTV.com ] ] [ [http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/not_guilty/brandon/3.html Teena Brandon, a young transsexual who is murdered in a hate-crime on truTV.com ] ] In a law suit regarding the film adaptation "Boys Don't Cry", this was disputed by Tisdel.Fact|date=May 2008

Teena's arrest was posted in the local paper under his birthname and his acquaintances subsequently learned that he was anatomically female.

exual assault and murder

During a Christmas Eve party, Nissen and Lotter grabbed Teena and forced him to remove his pants, to prove to Tisdel that Brandon was female. Tisdel looked only when they forced her to, and she said nothing. Lotter and Nissen then attacked Teena, and forced him into a car. They drove to an area by a meat packing plant and beat and raped him. They then returned to Nissen's home.

Brandon escaped from Nissen's bathroom by climbing out the window and went to Tisdel's house. He was convinced to file a police report, though Nissen and Lotter had warned Teena to remain silent. The police report was thrown out due to lack of evidence.

Brandon went to the emergency room where a standard rape kit was assembled, but later lost. The sheriff at the time, Charles B. Laux, asked Brandon questions about the rape. Reportedly, he seemed especially interested in Teena’s transsexuality, to the point that Teena found his questions rude and unnecessary, and refused to answer. Nissen and Lotter learned of the report, and they began to search for Teena. However, they did not find him, and three days later, the police went to question them. Laux declined to have them arrested.

The two men left for Lambert’s house and broke in. They found Lambert in bed and demanded to know where Teena was. Lambert refused to tell them. Nissen searched and found Teena under the bed. The men asked Lambert if there was anyone else in the house, and she replied that Phillip DeVine was staying with her. They shot and killed DeVine along with Lambert and Teena, in front of Lambert's young child. The two men then left, but were quickly arrested and charged with murder. [ [http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/not_guilty/brandon/5.html] ]

Trial and sentencing

Nissen blamed the crime on Lotter. Later, in exchange for a reduced sentence, Nissen admitted to being an accessory to the rape and murder. Nissen testified against Lotter and was sentenced to life in prison. Lotter proceeded to deny the veracity of Nissen’s testimony, but his testimony was discredited. The jury found Lotter guilty of murder and sentenced him to death. Lotter and Nissen both appealed their convictions, and their cases are currently under review.

In September 2007, Nissen recanted his testimony against Lotter. He claims that he was the only one to shoot Teena and that Lotter was not involved. Lotter is currently appealing and is using Nissen's new testimony to assert his claims of innocence.hormone replacement therapy nor had sex reassignment surgery, he has sometimes been identified as a lesbian by media reporters. [cite web |url=http://www.glaad.org/publications/archive_detail.php?id=2192 |title=Brandon Teena Gets Dunne Wrong |accessdate=2006-12-07 |date=24 |year=1997 |month=January |publisher=Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation |quote=A New Yorker writer does not understand Brandon Teena's transgender identity, and describes him as a "predatory" butch lesbian, referring to him as "her" for most of the piece.] However, some reported that Teena had stated that he planned to have sex reassignment surgery. [cite web |url=http://www.justicejunction.com/judicial_injustice_brandon_teena_chapter2.htm |title=The Brandon Teena Story: Chapter 2: Brandon |accessdate=2006-12-07 |last=Griffy |first=Anna M. |date=4 |year=2004 |month=July |format= |work=The Brandon Teena Story |publisher=ustice Junction |pages=2 |quote=Teena made her decision for good: she was going to live as a man and began to tell people she was having a sex change operation.]

JoAnn Brandon sued Richardson County Nebraska and Charles Laux for failing to prevent Teena's death, as well as being an indirect cause of it. She won the case, and was awarded $80,000. District court judge Orville Coady reduced the amount by 85 percent based on the responsibility of Nissen and Lotter, and by one percent for Brandon's alleged contributory negligence. This led to a remaining judgment of responsibility against Richardson County and Laux of $17,360.97. [ [http://www.friedmanlaw.com/news-teena-brandon.php] Summary of case by JoAnn Brandon's attorney with Nebraska case # references. Retrieved on 2007-12-06.] In 2001, the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed the reductions of the earlier award, thus reinstating the full $80,000 award for "mental suffering", plus $6223.20 for funeral costs. In October 2001, the same judge added an additional $12,000 award. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3219591.stm The victims of prejudice] , BBC News, 26 December, 2003] The plaintiff was awarded an additional $5,000 for wrongful death, and $7,000 for the intentional infliction of emotional distress. [ [http://www.friedmanlaw.com/news-teena-brandon.php] Summary of case by JoAnn Brandon's attorney with Nebraska case # references. Retrieved on 2007-12-06.]

Laux was also criticized after the murder for his attitude toward Teena — at one point Laux referred to him as "it". [cite web |url=http://www.tgforum.com/docs/brandon.html |title=Activists Protest Violence As Lotter Trial Begins |accessdate=2006-12-07 |last=Gabriel |first=Davina Anne |date=15 |year=1996 |month=May |quote=Laux has also been quoted as saying "you can call it 'it' as far as I'm concerned" when describing Teena.]

In 1999, Teena became the subject of a biopic entitled "Boys Don't Cry", starring Hilary Swank as Teena in an Academy Award-winning performance, and Chloë Sevigny as his girlfriend Lana Tisdel, in an Academy Award-nominated performance. The real Lana Tisdel sued the producers of the film for unauthorized use of her name and likeness before the film's release. She claimed that the film depicted her as "lazy, white trash and a skanky snake". Tisdel also claimed that the film falsely portrayed that she continued the relationship with Teena after she discovered Teena was anatomically female. She eventually settled her lawsuit against the movie's distributor for an undisclosed sum.

Teena’s headstone is inscribed with the name "Teena R. Brandon" and the epitaph "daughter, sister, & friend". [cite news | title = Teena R. "Brandon Teena" Brandon | publisher = Find A Grave | date = August 28 2000 | url = http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=11925 | accessdate = 2007-05-14]

Cultural references

In 1999, a film, "Boys Don't Cry", about the murder was released. In 2006, the British duo Pet Shop Boys released a song called "Girls Don't Cry" (a bonus track on UK issue of "I'm with Stupid") about Brandon Teena.

ee also

*
* Gwen Araujo
* List of transgender-related topics
* Transphobia
* Violence against LGBT people

References

* "The Brandon Teena Archive", Judith Halberstam
*
*

External links

* [http://www.hatecrime.org/ HateCrime.org] , documenting GLTBQ hate crimes
* [http://rememberingourdead.org/ Remembering Our Dead] , Transgender memorial website
* [http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Central/12/28/brandon.death.transgender.ap/ CNN: Transgendered community remembers death that sparked a movement]
* [http://songweaver.com/gender/teena-sentencing.html Brandon Teena Murderer Sentenced]
* [http://www.friedmanlaw.com/news-teena-brandon.php Brandon - An American Tragedy] , By Herbert J. Friedman, Friedman Law Offices, Nebraska
* [http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/not_guilty/brandon/1.html Tom Nissen confesses to the murders of Teena Brandon, Lisa Lambert and Phillip DeVine.] By Crimelibrary's Katherine Ramsland


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