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Brandon Teena

Brandon Teena (December 12, 1972 – December 31, 1993) who was known simply as Brandon (he was referred to as Brandon Teena only after his death), was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is the subject of the Academy Award-winning 1999 film Boys Don’t Cry, which was itself based on the documentary film The Brandon Teena Story.

In 1993 Brandon, being female-to-male, identified and lived as a man. He was dating a local woman named Lana Tisdel. On Christmas Day, two acquaintances – John Lotter and Marvin Thomas Nissen – discovered that Brandon had been born female and raped him in Falls City, Nebraska. Brandon reported the rape to the local sheriff, Charles B. Laux, who dismissed the allegations. When Lotter and Nissen discovered that Brandon had gone to the police they murdered him, Lisa Lambert who was the woman with whom he was staying, and her friend, a black disabled man named Philip DeVine on December 31, 1993.

There is some controversy as to whether or not the three were murdered solely because of Brandon. The two killers were members of a white supremacist’s organization and may have potentially been targeting Philip DeVine or both.

Laux was criticised after the murder for his lack of action and his attitude towards Brandon — at one point Laux referred to Brandon as “it” (see Trial details link). Nissen testified against Lotter and was given a life sentence; Lotter was sentenced to death and is currently on Death Row.

At the time of his death Brandon had neither commenced hormone therapy nor had sex reassignment surgery. However, some note that Brandon had planned to have sex reassignment surgery. As with many other female-bodied persons who live as men, it has occasionally been claimed that Brandon was a lesbian. However, there was no compelling evidence that this was true in Brandon’s case.

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Article adapted from Wikipedia by Jennifer Kirk. Wikipedia’s article based on The Brandon Teena Archive by Judith Halberstam