A conversation with queer author, activist and filmmaker Eric Stanley
There is a rather unsettling folder on Eric Stanley’s computer.
For about six years now, he has filed away “hundreds and hundreds” of cases of violence against trans and queer people in that folder. Many are instances of extremely gruesome murders involving what he calls “overkill”—dismemberment, decapitation, elaborate staging and other malicious actions that go beyond simply killing.
For Stanley, who is a 33-year-old post doctorate candidate in UC Santa Cruz’s history of consciousness program, this trend shows that crimes against LGBT people are more than random.
“It’s possibly about killing that person, but it’s also about killing a certain history or possibility or threat,” Stanley explains. “It’s bound up. … If you’re going to kill, and then do many other things to a person—all of the overkill, the pageantry, the setting the stage—it makes us understand these kinds of violence as something different.”