The Lavender Files

Episode 02: Brandon Teena's Murder

Brandon Teena

In 1993, Brandon Teena made the brave decision to present himself as male, despite being assigned female at birth. He relocated to a new town in Nebraska, where he started a new life, formed friendships, and even entered into a romantic relationship. Brandon’s charisma and outgoing personality won him the affection and trust of those around him.

 However, as his relationship and friendships deepened, some people in the town became suspicious of his identity. Eventually, a couple of individuals discovered that Brandon was transgender. This discovery led to a horrific incident in December 1993, when Brandon was viciously attacked, sexually assaulted, and later murdered by John Lotter and Thomas Nissen. 

The tragic story of Brandon Teena shed a harsh light on the deeply rooted prejudices and violence faced by transgender individuals, particularly in less accepting communities. His story served as a catalyst for increased awareness about hate crimes and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The subsequent film “Boys Don’t Cry” brought even more attention to his life and tragic death, sparking important conversations about gender identity, acceptance, and the need for change.


For more information, please visit our citations:

“The Brandon Teena Story — the Trial — Crime Library on”, 14 Dec. 2013, Accessed 6 Aug. 2023.

Bergin, Nicholas (December 29, 2013). “Brandon Teena’s mom: ‘We’ve come a long way'”. Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved August 6, 2023.

“Brandon film lawsuit settled”. Chicago Sun-Times. March 11, 2000. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2023.