Monday, May 21, 2012

Disrespecting Lorena

Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, GLAAD and a long list of people have already commented on the jacked up and borderline transphobic way the New York Times and reporters Al Baker and Nate Schwebel  recently wrote about Lorena Escalera's tragic death in a fire.

Now it's my turn.

Over the last few years of this blog I have been more than pissed off (and written about it) in terms of what seems to be the obstinate refusal in many cases of media people to adhere to the AP Stylebook guidelines for reporting on transgender people. 

Once again, let Moni break it down for you in terms of how you peeps with the journalism degrees are supposed to report on transgender people:

transgender-Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.   

If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.

Now that is so simple even the GEICO caveman gets that concept.   The execution of it has been piss poor in article after disrespectful article around the country.  

As Janet so eloquently stated about this

“As my city's and our nation's paper of record, I would expect the New York Times to treat any subject, regardless of their path in life, with dignity.”

"In Lorena Escalera's life she was so much more than the demeaning, sexist portrait they painted of girls like us. It goes beyond a ‘choice of words.’ According to the Times' limiting, harmful portrait of Lorena, she was nothing more than a ‘curvaceous’ bombshell for men to gawk at. That is not the ‘personal’ story of any woman, and until we treat trans women like human beings - in life and death - with dignity, families and struggles, our society will never see us beyond pariahs in our communities.

What's even more galling is that New York Times Metro Editor Carolyn Ryan is adopting a bunker mentality and refusing to acknowledge mistakes were made in her reporters deploying the unwoman meme against a transwoman of color and disrespecting her all too brief 25 year life and tragic death.

Lorena Escalera lived her life and died as a Latina.  Too bad the words Baker and Schwebel chose robbed Escalera of her dignity and her femininity 

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