Saturday, June 20, 2009

Trans Teen's Brutal End Was An Elaborate Hoax

Well it turns out a number of us (myself included) were suckered. Yep, punked Ashton Kutcher style. Last night and this morning we read a story about Rachel or Raychel Roo, an alleged list moderator on Laura's Playground, and a brutal murder that occurred.

It turns out it was someone's sick idea of a joke.

After posting a blog on it myself before a long day of board meetings and a reception to attend, I get home twelve and a half hours later to find all references now denying the story altogether.

The list-serv had dozens of folks expressing outrage and depression over this list moderator. At this writing, it's not known if this was even a real person (or who she was representing herself to be as a teen mentor to other trans people) – much less a victim of a heinous murder. And perhaps this person has more than one persona on this list-serv, as there was a second person commenting about the family needing privacy and personally knowing this Rachel Roo's aunt – clearly playing along with the same scam.

So this person (or people) managed to deceive an entire list-serv and a bunch of others among us as they watched their deception make its way around the global net.

Net result? More second-guessing of trans people. More skepticism in a community with an overabundance of reason not to believe. Trans Americans are perennially betrayed, played and frequently lied to from political leaders and virtually every other side.

So these jokers figure "why not create more deceit? Why not get them to not even trust each other or trust in themselves?"

They succeeded. We'll be much more unlikely to listen to or believe anyone anymore.


Martha said...

Im so sorry that you and so many others were hurt by this cruel hoax. Bullies always look for vulnerability, and in this case, just caring was enough.

I was 'lucky' having been suckered before several times in unmoderated chatrooms over the years, (and later by Julie Bindel!) that a story that pushed all the buttons that a screenwriter had access to set my alarm bells off.

Many had been the time that a story of childhood sexual abuse and a threat of teenage suicide had sent me and others frantically trying to help, only to realise later it had been some good ole boy having fun with us.

A friend works for the Samaritans and she says they regularly get hoax calls like that.

Maybe we will have achieved one measure of equality at least when such a story stays attached to the perpetrator(s) and not to us, whether this turns out to be anyone actually connected to the Trans community or not. We are a cross-section of society and actually there is a trans one of every type somewhere if they look hard enough. The nontees have this need to say 'that is what they are like' instead of 'us' is what they are like

much love and more power to you Vanessa

Michal (Transgender Outreach, TransLondon)

Polar said...

Old rule still applies: you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.

'Trust, but verify" - Ronald Reagan

I admit that I hope that the jerk who wrote that blog gets smacked upside.

Unknown said...

1st..Thanks for keeping this blog, you do great work in your advocacy,

My personal opinion is, before we go willy-nilly reposting, retweeting any unsubstantiated thing on the web, perhaps this will teach some (you) to check and verify, before just posting to the world.

Anonymous said...

@Brooke--Read the back-story before you are too hard on people. Vanessa did not just blog about a rumor that was going around. Neither Vanessa (nor I or anyone else I know) blogged about this before it ran on a well-respected, national blog, which has a policy of following APA guidelines when posting about news items. So far as any of us knew, it had been checked and verified, as that is the standing policy of the major blog that ran the story first.

And Brooke, Vanessa is one of the best bloggers out there. She does not need to be "taught" about checking and verifying; she made her decision to post about this, as I did, only after it ran on a blog with a reputation for accuracy as good as (and sometimes better than )AP or Rueters. In the past, they have always run a clear disclaimer if something was unverified; my best guess is that the original blogger who wrote about it believed, in good faith, that she had independent confirmation before running the post.

Unknown said...

@susan, I am VERY aware of the back story here.. Please save your lecture.