Saturday, February 14, 2015

Black Media, I Expect Higher Standards From You When It Comes To Covering Black Trans People

When I traveled to Boston for last summer's National Association of Black Journalists conference (NABJ) to discuss with fellow panelists Kenyon Farrow, Kellee Terrell and moderator Tiq Milan how to cover Black trans folks, it was with the intent of not only fostering that discussion, but impressing upon the attendees of that panel how accurate reporting about Black trans people from our media peeps is critically important.

In the first two months of 2015, seems like some Black media peeps needed to have some seats in that panel discussion as well.

Been more than pissed off to see disrespectful reporting aimed at my transsisters who have tragically lost their lives.   I've been even more irritated to note that some of the culprits guilty of transphobic reporting and failing to read their AP Stylebooks have been African-American journalists.

I expect disrespectful reporting from non-Black cisgender journalists and media outlets.   But I have a severe problem with it when the disrespectful reporting happens on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, newspapers, my hometown television and radio stations and other Black controlled media outlets and blogs

I don't even waste my breath or bandwith calling out Bossip and Sandra Rose. They are unrepentant cesspools of media transphobia that couldn't spell journalistic integrity even with the help of spell check.  But I do have higher expectations and standards for Black journalists when it comes to respectfully reporting on Black trans people.  

And here is the money paragraph once again from the AP Stylebook that has been there since 2001.

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 individuals live publicly.

you have questions, peruse those AP Stylebook pages.   There are also the styleguides from the NLGJA and GLAAD to help a journalistic brother or sister out and avoid the wrath of Moni, my chocolate transpeeps and our allies from coming down upon you for some fracked up reporting  that could have been easily avoided.

I'd like to also see as soon as possible an entry in the NABJ Styleguide about transgender people since it seems to have become necessary to request it expeditiously happen.

And yeah, here's the difference between a transgender man and a transgender woman since y'all media peeps have picked up that annoying conservatactic of conflating the two to be snarkily insulting.
A transgender man  (or trans man) is one who was born with female genitalia but has transitioned to and lives life as a male.  

A transgender woman (or trans woman) is one who was born with male genitalia, but has transitioned to and lives life as a female.
And one other thing Black media.  Focus on what's between our ears, not what genitalia may or may not be between our legs.

Also sick of the 'deception meme' being pushed in Black media stories about trans people.  We're living our authentic lives.   You need to deal with and approach us transpeeps as you would any other person you are writing or reporting on.

It's important because ignorance in African-American ranks about trans people is being pushed by sellout Black right wing pastors from their pulpits.

The bottom line Black media is that Black trans people are not only part of the diverse mosaic of human life, we have been and still are part of the kente cloth fabric of Black America.  We aren't going away, and as Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Tona Brown, Tiq Milan and a host of Black transpeople prove on a regular basis, and still we rise.

We have abundant talents to contribute to our Black community.  Black journalists need to get with the program and take the lead in pointing out Black trans people are Black people and our issues are Black community issues.

Black journalists and bloggers also need to realize that coverage of trans people is not click bait for your blogs, a way for you to add salacious details to your radio broadcasts, newspaper or television stories, or 'scurr' or mislead people about the purpose of non-discrimination laws that cover you and whatever other category they happen to cover.

You also have a journalistic legacy to uphold of being fierce advocates for our community.  Black transpeople once again are part of your constituency.

It's also infuriating and mind blowing to contemplate that Black journalists in the pre-AP Stylebook days writing for JET,. EBONY, HUE and Sepia magazines did a better and more respectful job of writing about transpeople than their 21st century counterparts.

Unchecked anti-trans hate speech kills.   In the wake of the murders of  17 trans women since June with the vast majority of them being African-American trans feminine women under 40, it's past time for Black media and Black journalists to ponder if their media misgendering of African-American trans women is a contributing factor to the anti-trans hatred that leads to anti-trans violence and the far too frequent murders of Black trans women.

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