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Arkansas Native 
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Re: “Forrest City death possible hate crime UPDATE

Sometimes the bravest move a person can make is to stay and be yourself. Where did the people in Marcal's circle live? She had a right to stay rooted with them, if that was her preference, and dress as a woman, and be safe. Did she invite her murder by inviting violent people into her life? Was she provocative or just naive? Did she knowingly risk her life by cross dressing in small town eastern Arkansas? There are too many grey-area questions to evaluate her choices.

Maybe Marcal had acceptance enough in her circle to feel safe. Forrest City is lush, bordered by the low hills of Crowley's Ridge, with strawberry fields and peach orchards nearby. Beautiful countryside, could be hard to leave. Leave, where you gonna go.... city streets with no money or friends? Scrounge for some dump apartment surrounded by pavement? I grew up in neighboring Phillips County, no social Nirvana itself, and know that even there, dwell enough open-minded, compassionate, forward thinking people to buffer bigotry and offer a semi-comfortable shelter for those who are impelled to stay.

Unfortunately, I also know that Forrest City has been favored by bigots and racists, who are proud of its association with namesake Nathan Bedford Forrest, former Confederate general who accepted a leadership role in the KKK soon after its inception. Do they also learn that Forrest dissolved the first incarnation of the group in 1869, supported reconciliation with the North, and espoused peace among the races before his death? Do they care? Ignorance and hatred form a binding alliance.

Many southern towns have moved toward peace among the races, but the undercurrent of racism hasn't disappeared, and there's huge chasm when it comes to accepting persons with gender differences. I pray that Marcal's death can somehow propel the population and powers-that-be to judge compassionately, and to advocate for hate crime legislation that includes protections for those with gender differences as well as those with racial, religious, cultural, and other differences that have been targeted for persecution.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Arkansas Native on 03/12/2011 at 4:27 PM


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