The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

The LGBT Hate Crimes Project: Angie Zapata

It’s been a while since I last updated the LGBT Hate Crimes Project. That was partially due to life events (adopting a baby, losing a baby, adopting a baby, etc.), but also due to the nature of the work. Spending so much time researching each story inevitably, for me, means spending a lot of time feeling a story, as much as researching and writing it. Having a new baby, for a while, made me less inclined to focus on the uglier realities of the world my family and every other family lives in.

But the shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church nudged me out of nesting mode a bit. Dylan, now eight months old, is not only sitting up, but surpisingly mobile in his own way. A combination of rolling and scooting himself backwards allows him to cover quite a bit of ground. (Though it doesn’t necessarily take him where he wants to go, but moves him further from it instead, leading to frustration on his part.) Crawling may be a month or two away, but he’s actively exploring the world around him now, where he used to just gaze at it from the safety of our arms.

He’ll be walking soon; probably sooner than I expect. And, like all children, he’ll walk out in to the world someday; probably far beyond the reach of our arms. So, now I’m back to looking at the world our children will walk into and walk through, as we all have. We are all somebody’s child, after all.

Angie Zapata was somebody’s child, and someone’s sister too. And the story of her murder reminded me of the murders of so many other transgender women.

Angie Zapata began living as a woman six years ago even though she was born male and named Justin.

While Ms. Zapata, 18, was accepted by her many friends and five siblings, she was bullied in school and at times was lonely and troubled, an older sister, Monica, said. Eventually, Ms. Zapata dropped out of school and got her own apartment here in Greeley.

It was in that apartment that Ms. Zapata’s badly beaten body was found on July 17.

On Wednesday, the police arrested Allen R. Andrade, 31, and charged him with murder. According to the authorities, Mr. Andrade had gone out on a date with Ms. Zapata, and upon discovering she had male genitalia, beat her to death —starting with his fists and then with a fire extinguisher.

Mr. Andrade told investigators that he thought he had “killed it,” according to an affidavit filed by the police. Mr. Andrade, who is in custody, has said nothing publicly about the killing, and his arraignment has not yet been scheduled.

On Thursday, the Weld County district attorney announced that he would prosecute the killing as a hate crime, which carries an additional 18-month sentence if Mr. Andrade is convicted.

I thought of Bella Evangelista, Chanelle Pickett, Emonie Spaulding, and so many others.

Someone’s child was killed, someone’s sister was killed, and someone’s friend was killed; all because of who she was. And so, I’m taking up the project again with what happened to Angie Zapata.

Angie Zapata (1988 – July 17, 2008) was a transgender Latina living in Greeley, CO. She was beaten to death by Allen Ray Andrade, 31, a sex partner who discovered that she was transgender.


Born Justin1) in Fort Lupton, Zapata, 18, began living as a woman six years before her murder. She had dreams of moving to Denver, becoming a professional drag queen, and working as a cosmetologist. 2) Zapata cared a lot about her looks, and wanted very much to be a beauty queen, according to her friends and family. She dreamed of being Miss Latina. She had lived in Greeley for about a year, alone, and had faced harassment since moving to town.3)Zapata and Andrade met through MocoSpace, a social network for mobile phone users. Andrade told police that the two met on July 15, and spent the day together. Zapata drove Andrande back to her apartment.4) He said Zapata performed oral sex on him, but would not let him touch her. Andrade spent the night at Zapata’s apartment, thought the two slept in separate beds.

The next day, while alone in the apartment, Andrade noticed several pictures that led him to question Zapata’s gender. 5)

The Murder

When Zapata returned to the apartment, Andrade confronted her. Andrade said he asked Zapata is she was a man or a woman, and Zapata answered, “I am all woman.” 6)

He grabbed her crotch area and felt male genitalia. Andrade told authorities that he became angry, grabbed a fire extinguisher from a shelf and struck Zapata twice in the head. He told investigators he thought he’d “killed it.” Andrande wrapped Zapata’s body in a blanket and was gather evidence he thought might implicate him when he heard gurgling sounds from Zapata and saw her sit up.7) He picked up the fire extinguisher and struck her again. He gathered Zapata’s purse, keys, the fire extinguisher8), and his personal belongings, and left the scene in her car. 9)

The Aftermath

Zapata’s bloody, battered body was discovered by her sister, in her apartment, on July 17. The discovery of her stolen car led authorities to Andrade. Andrade was arrested in the Denver suburb of Thornton, where he lives, and was driving Zapata’s 2003 PT Cruiser. 11)

On July 23, 200 people gathered for a memorial to Zapata, at the church she attended. 10)

On July 31, 2008, Andrade was charged with second degree murder12), and motor-vehicle theft in connection with Zapata’s murder. 13) The Weld County district attorney, Kenneth R. Buck, announced that he would prosecute Zapata’s murder as a hate crime, which carries an additional 18-month sentence if Andrade is convicted.14)


  1. Is there a way to get some Angie Zapata Ribbons/Angie Zapata memorance graphics out there, to put on sites such as myspace?

  2. Pingback: Recent Links Tagged With "hatecrimes" - JabberTags