Friday, April 24, 2009

NCAVP Notes To Journalists

TransGriot Note: This will come in handy for the next transgender murder trial in New York state when Lateisha Green's accused killer Dwight DeLee is prosecuted.

A Note To Journalists From NCAVP

NCAVP applauds the attention that some of these incidents are receiving in the local and national press and encourages continued coverage. Many news outlets have made a sincere effort to portray victims fairly, but we are saddened by some of the mis-characterization of transgender people by some news sources. NCAVP member organizations work with victims everyday who are struggling to heal from trauma in the face being blamed for the violence they experience at the hands of someone else. We encourage journalists to use language that is both un-biased, accurate, and based on the individual's self-described identity, in covering incidents related to anti-LGBT violence.

NCAVP recommends the following when reporting about transgender people-

Avoid referring to transgender people as "really a (man or woman)." The term "transgender woman" is an appropriate term to use for someone who identifies as a woman but was assigned the male gender at birth and the term "transgender man" is appropriate to use for someone who identifies as a man but was assigned the female gender at birth.

Avoid sensationalizing the very difficult and personal decision that many transgender people are faced with about how or when to disclose personal information about their genitals to a potential sexual partner. Examples of sensationalizing language include: "sexual secret," "shocking secret," "duped," "fooled," "shocking discovery," to name a few.

Avoid justifying "the trans panic defense" in news articles (i.e. avoid statements such as "his uncontrollable rage stemming from the discovery that she was really a man"). Much like "gay panic," which many defendants of anti-gay violence have used (violence resulting from a man being hit on by another man, for example), such statements sound very victim-blaming and imply that the violence was excusable or understandable.

Avoid victim-blaming phrasing, such as: "Police believe that the man may have been attacked because he is gay." Instead, pair the action with the actor: "Police believe the suspect may have attacked the victim out of anti-gay bias."

And lastly, it is considered best practice to refer to someone as the gender they identify (or identified with when alive) rather than their legal gender or the gender they were assigned at birth.

For questions relating to these tips, contact or 212.714.1184.

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