I just saw this article in today’s
sorry rag Burlington Free Press. It discusses an attack on a 38-year-old homeless trans man that occurred on Pine Street in Burlington near the Barge Canal.
Stories like this make me realize that Zombieville is fiction, but just barely. For example, when I invented the whole concept of Zombieville, I didn’t know that homeless people lived around the Pine Street Barge Canal. I just figured that it was the most logical place for homeless people to make a community, given that the land lies unused and stigmatized because polluted. When I heard a year or two ago about a homeless person being killed [or dying, not sure which] in the Barge Canal area, I had my first inkling that my fiction was truer than I expected.
This story confirms my suspicion. In Zombieville, all significant characters are marginalized in some way, sometimes in multiple ways. Whether they’re female and/or disabled and/or trans and/or non-heteronormative and/or fat and/or of colors other than white and/or homeless, they experience their marginalization in the form of violence, which ranges from verbal attacks to physical assault to rape and everything in between, all promoted and subsumed under the larger oppression of institutionalized exclusion that’s structurally encoded into society. The experience of this man [who’s my age, which somehow makes me even more sympathetic] just reminds me that, unfortunately, I have accurately observed the toll it takes on a person to be out and marginalized. No profound conclusion results; I’m just thinking.