“Fags Doom Nations” and Other Parables of Hate: Representations of “Hate Crime” and U.S. National Identity

In 1993, Brandon Teena, a white transgender man was raped and beaten, then killed in Falls City, Nebraska. In1998, James Byrd, Jr., a Black man, was dragged to death in Jasper, Texas and Matthew Shepard, a white gay man, was beaten and tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming. And in late 2002, Gwen Araujo, a Latina transgender woman, was beaten and strangled in Newark, California.

In the decade spanned by these high-profile killings, the idea of “hate crime” solidified in public media and legal discourses and took on national meanings and implications for a United States that is constructed, through narratives of progress and growth, as “anti-hate” in the post-Civil Rights era.

This article is drawn from a larger project that addresses the role of news and entertainment media representations of specific instances of racist, homophobic, and transphobic violence as “hate crimes” –where the term “hate” nullifies and renders unseen or unanalyzed the specificities of racial, sexual, and gender domination and violence. This is one part of the process through which incidents of such violence are made, in their representations and effects, into nation- and citizen-building tools.


“Fags Doom Nations” and Other Parables of Hate: Representations of “Hate Crime” and U.S. National Identity, 2005 Thesis, Visual and Critical Studies, California College of the Arts

Read an article excerpt of the full thesis project here.