This essay analyzes legal and cultural texts that pertain to the 2002 murder of Gwen Araujo, to argue for the political possibilities that can be mobilized through familial grief over a human rights violation against a trans person. As family members speak from their positions of having undergone a profound experience of loss and call on the affective ties that make the violation their own, their relational witnessing and testimony takes place not only in courtrooms but also in various public forms and forums. Exploring how the legal system's failures catalyze these alternative forms, we identify the political work they perform. Analyzing such texts as a victim impact statement, speeches, the TV movie A Girl Like Me, and memorial websites, we contend that relational witnessing and testimony can reconfigure heteronormative forms of kinship and other societal structures along with our conception of the victim of a human rights violation.
Research Article|June 01 2016
“I Have a Family”: Relational Witnessing and the Evidentiary Power of Grief in the Gwen Araujo Case
GLQ (2016) 22 (3): 437-466.
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Cynthia G. Franklin, Laura E. Lyons; “I Have a Family”: Relational Witnessing and the Evidentiary Power of Grief in the Gwen Araujo Case. GLQ 1 June 2016; 22 (3): 437–466. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-3479330
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