A Girl Like Me: Gwen Araujo

March 14th, 2009 - 12:49 am ICT by GD  

Born Eddie Aroujo, Gwen was a transgender teenager murdered and whose story is told in w 2006 Lifetime Television movie called “A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Aroujo Story.”

“A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Aroujo Story.” is a biography made in 2006 for television by award-winner director Agnieszka Holland and was telecast for the first time on Lifetime Television.

The tragic tale documents the life of Gwen Aroujo who was originally born Eddie Aroujo Jr, a transgender teenager who was killed by four men in Newark, California when they found out that she had male genitalia. The movie contains scenes that show the murder trial while flashing back to Gwen’s life.

Of the four men who murdered Gwen, she had been sexually intimate with two, and they beat her for hours before strangling her. They then dumped her in a remote area in the hills. Two of the men were convicted of second degree murder but not charged for the hate crime counts. The other two defendants pleaded guilty or no-contest to charges of voluntary manslaughter. In at least one trial a “tans panic defense” which is an extension of the gay panic defense, was utilized.

The crime received widespread media attention and raised questions about whether transgendered people are being fairly represented in both mass media and the criminal justice system. Aroujo’s mother Sylvia Guerrero asked the judge to posthumously change Aroujo’s legal name from Eddie to Gwen.

The movie stars JD Pardo as Gwen, Mercedes Ruehl as her mother Sylvia and Avan Jogia as her brother Danny.

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