Sign of the Times: Transgender woman blames murders on pre-op male self
Donna Perry, a transgender woman who got a sex change operation in Thailand in 2000, is in a Spokane jail charged with several murders back in the 1990's.
DNA and fingerprint evidence links Perry to the killings. Looks open and shut, right?
Not so fast. "Donna" Perry used to be "Doug Perry" and Donna is blaming Doug for the murders.
Donna Perry, 62, told police in 2012 in an affidavit filed in Spokane Superior Court that she had gender reassignment surgery in Thailand and when a person transitions from male to female, "there's a great downturn in violence."
She also told police that she intentionally had the operation, which she underwent in 2000, "as a permanent way to control violence."
Perry is being held on $1 million bond in a Spokane County jail and declined to make a court appearance on murder charges this week, according to ABC's affiliate KTLY, which first reported the story. ABC affiliate KTLY
In a case that has been cold for more than two decades, the affidavit filed Jan. 14, says Perry was linked through DNA evidence to the killings of Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois and Nickie Lowe, whom police say were prostitutes.
Police allege that Perry shot the women and left their naked bodies on the banks of the Spokane River. She was arrested earlier this year and served jail time for federal weapons charges. Police say they matched Perry's fingerprints to the crime scenes, according to the affidavit.
The accused's reported defense that it was not Donna Perry but Douglas Perry who killed the women is headline-grabbing, but not necessarily a true reflection of how transgender people cope with their nonconforming identity, according to mental health experts.
"For some people, it's a metaphor: 'I was a different person before I came out,'" said Dr. Jack Drescher, a New York City psychiatrist who sat on the work group on sexual and gender identity disorders contained in the DSM-5 -- the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
"It's a certain way that they use the metaphor when transitioning for those who were very unhappy before and now are happy," he said. "But it's different when a person makes a claim that somehow they have no linkage to the person they used to be –- that would be more of a disturbed presentation."
Having a gender identity disorder is not considered a mental illness, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
"It's wrong to generalize from this person's life –- it's not typical of the transgender experience," said Drescher, who does not know Perry and is not connected to the case.
Expect more of this sort of nonsense as "transgenderism" becomes more openly recognized. True, gene based transgenderism is extremely rare and while the entire issue of gender identiy is a riot of genetic, cultural, and mental health theories, just about anyone who wants to can get a sex change operation as long as you can convince a doctor you are the sex you think you are.
I doubt whether a judge will alow this defense, and if one does, it is doubtful a jury will buy it. But as a metaphor for a changing society, Donna Perry becomes a reflection of very troubled times.