A man beat a 16-month-old boy to death for being too feminine last Sunday. Pedro Jones, 20, allegedly punched his girlfriend’s son Roy Jones (not related) repeatedly with closed fists and grabbed him by the neck while he was babysitting him. The child was in cardiac arrest when police arrived at the scene on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation on Long Island, NY, and he later died at the hospital. The elder Jones confessed the crime to troopers, saying he was “trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl.”
A little girl. I can almost hear the venom in his voice. The hatred. The disgust. A little girl: subhuman, vile.
He told reporters he didn’t mean to do it. “I never struck that kid that hard before. A one-time mistake, and I am going to do 20 years.” He never struck him that hard before. I can only imagine what little Roy endured over the course of his short life. Gender non-conforming children and youth experience an extremely high level of harassment, alienation, violence and murder. The perception that one is gay or trans can make that person a vulnerable target. Something about Roy struck Pedro as insufficiently masculine, and Pedro made him pay with his life.
This is why I wasn’t amused when my co-worker told me her husband removed their toddler son from a park after he became interested in playing with a pink toy. Of course that’s not the same thing as murder, but it’s a difference in degree rather than kind. They exist on the same bigoted spectrum. The gender policing of little boys, especially, happens constantly, all around us. If masculinity is inborn, why must it be beat into a child? Rest in peace, baby.