An Interview with April Mora
GPAC Talks with Teen Attacked in CO
|"It's as if --if I want to look like a guy, I should get beat up like a guy."|
GenderPAC National News interviewed Mora at the home of her girlfriend, Dominicque Quintana, where she lives full-time, and asked her about the incident. Present also was Denise (Dede) de Percin, Executive Director of the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, who arranged the interview and who has been instrumental in focusing public and media awareness on the assault.
GENDERPAC National News: First, we'd like to express our sympathies. This was a terrible attack, and we're relieved that you're recovering okay.
APRIL MORA: Thank you.
GNN: Can you tell what happened in your own words?
AM: I was walking down the street to go get a pop. I heard a car coming -- it was a really nice car -- so I moved aside so it could pass. As it went along, the guys were looking at me, and one of the guys called me a "dyke." I gave them a dirty look.
And that's when two of the guys jumped out and tackled me to the ground, held me down and carved something into me. I couldn't see what they carved into me until I got back to the house. They were holding a knife to my throat, telling me I was lucky they didn't rape me. Then they stood up and kicked me and that's when they climbed back into the car and took off.
GNN: Why do you think they singled you out?
AM: They were staring to see what I was. Because I don't look like other girls. White sleeveless shirt and jeans. I have short, short hair, shaved around the side, a pieced lip.
GNN: Were there other people around who could come to your help?
AM: I couldn't see because I had blood in my eyes. I was bumping into things getting back to the house.
GNN: We know you later received emergency treatment, but what was the first thing you did when you went home?
AM: I went into the closest room and told my girlfriend's little sister to call as many people as she could.
GNN: We've heard that the police have been unsympathetic, treating you more like a perpetrator than the victim.
AM: They just think that I did it to myself. They don't care about it.
GNN: Why do you think that is?
AM: I think they're saying that because I choose to look like this, I deserve it or something. It's as if --if I want to look like a guy, I should get beat up like a guy.
GNN: And you feel you should have the right to look the way you do.
AM: If the people don't like the way I look, they shouldn't have anything to do with me, they shouldn't come around me.
GNN: How do you think this is related to your being a lesbian?
AM: I think that guys like the ones who did this to me think that any girl who has short hair like mine must be gay.
GNN: Has this happened to you before -- being targeted because of your appearance?
AM: Yes. Fistfights, when we used to live in the projects. I'm black and Indian, but I look Chicano. I think if we were white the cops and people would treat us differently. It's also because of where we live. It's not the best section in town.
GNN: What do you want to say to other teenage girls who read this, who may look like you?
AM: I want to tell them not to be scared of other people, to look how you want to look. I'm not going to change how I look. If they don't like it, then don't come around here any more. I'm not being intimidated. I'm afraid to go out, but I'm not going to change the way I look.
Denise de Percin: For members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, every assault confirms both our fears and our experiences - that we are not safe, even in our own neighborhoods and communities.
About the Gender Public Advocacy CoalitionThe Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC) is the national organization working to end discrimination and violence caused by gender stereotypes.
GenderPAC changes public attitudes, educates elected officials, and expands legal rights.
GenderPAC's goal is safer communities, fairer workplaces, and schools where all children are valued and respected.
GenderPAC also promotes understanding of the connection between gender stereotypes and discrimination based on age, race, and class.
External SitesGenderPAC - www.gpac.org
Colorado Anti-Violence Project - http://www.coavp.org/