Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, Jun 3, 2021 / 13:50 pm (CNA).
Five days after the Canary Islands, an autonomous community of Spain, passed a law recognizing transgender identity, Jonathan Robayna, who pleaded guilty to killing his cousin in 2018 and has had several complaints of sexual harassment of women lodged against him, claimed he feels like a woman, and could possibly serve his time in a women’s prison.
Jonathan de Jesús Robayna Santana is on trial for the murder of his cousin Vanessa Santana in 2018 on Fuerteventura. On the first day of the trial he pleaded guilty to killing her with at least 30 hammer blows while she was sleeping, but he also asked to be treated as a woman and to be called Lorena.
Robayna denied that after he killed his cousin he subjected the body to sexual acts, arguing: “I am a woman, and I don’t want to be with a girl, but with a man,” the Diario de Fuerteventura reported.
Robayna’s claim to a gender change was questioned by both the Canary Institute of Equality and the victim’s family.
The defendant made the argument that he already feels like a woman during the time he’s spent in jail where he is being held for security reasons while the trial is in progress.
His gender change has been recognized by the prison system, since from the time declared himself to be a woman, he has been allowed to wear women’s clothes in private and shower apart from the other inmates.
The confessed murderer’s declaration of being a woman took place a few days after the Canary Islands legislature passed a law May 26 recognizing gender as self-determined without the need for any outside professional evaluation. Change of gender can be recorded directly in the civil registry by the individual.
The prosecution is asking for a 25 year sentence for Robayna for homicide with the aggravating circumstances of treachery and cruelty, as well as an additional two years for breaking and entering. He also owes the victim’s family a compensation of 280,000 euros.
The defense argues that it was simply a homicide, a crime that carries substantially less prison time.
If Robayna is considered a woman, he could be transferred to a women’s prison, where conditions are more lenient.
Nayara Alberto, a relative of Santana, told the La Hora Digital newspaper that “his name is Jonathan, not Lorena. He has always harassed women, complaints have been made by girls from mainland Spain, whom he harassed over the Internet. When he was a kid in school he also had several problems with girls. Even when he looked at women you could tell. Anyone who knows him knows he’s unlike a woman… and it makes me angry that now he wants to use the Trans Law so a murderer can take advantage of it. ”
Regarding his possible internment in a women’s prison, Alberto told La Hora Digital that “of course he’s going to be a danger to the female prisoners. They’re prisoners but they’re still women and they don’t deserve to undergo anything like what Vanessa went through. There are already cases in other countries where these self-identified men have abused the women prisoners and have had to get an additional sentence. What makes this case any different? Nothing, because he’s going to do it and you’ve been forewarned.”
The situation has been trending on Twitter under the hashtag #EstoNoIbaAPasar [This wasn’t going to happen]. A post by feminist writer Lucía Etxebarria went viral, in which she called Robayna’s use of the gender identity law “an aberration, a mockery of the system and an insult to Vanessa’s relatives.”
“If he decides to have a sex change with an operation, the State will pay for it. They called us women transphobic because we said this same thing was going to happen,” Etxebarria wrote. “This is the most putrid, brutal and disconcerting machismo disguised as feminism. This is an insult to all the women who have been murdered.”
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