Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Advocate's (And The Gayosphere's) Jacked Up Reporting On Black Transwoman's Marriage

I spend a lot of time at TransGriot criticizing and correcting piss poor reporting from the MSM on transgender issues. Here's an example of it coming from the Advocate.

Yes, the Advocate.

Just because they are GLBT news and info outlets and are our 'alleged' allies doesn't mean they aren't capable of writing horribly transphobic crap. Ask anyone in the Boston transgender community who remembers the shoddy and disrespectful 1998 Bay Windows reporting about Rita Hester.

In this case, it's a story about African American couple Kimah Nelson and Jason Stenson. They were married May 26 at the New York City Clerk's Office ten days after receiving their marriage license. But unfortunately, their marriage license was revoked after the news broke because Kimah is a transwoman.

The New York Post is a typical Rupert Murdoch owned and run rag that's insensitive to everybody that isn't a white male. I expect that kind of crappy reporting from them and MSM sites like WINS-AM.

But there's no excuse for you, several gayosphere blogs, websites and other GLBT media outlets to repeat the glaring transphobia of the Post by cutting and pasting verbatim in some cases the jacked up Post article.

High five to Rod 2.0 Beta for noting a transwoman and her boyfriend got married.

Let's try this again, shall we Advocate and gayosphere?

The AP Stylebook rules for coverage of transgender people states:

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

And here's what the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association has to say about covering transgender people as well.

transgender (adj.): An umbrella term that refers to people whose biological and gender identity or expression may not be the same. This can include preoperative, postoperative or nonoperative transsexuals, female and male cross-dressers, drag queens or kings, female or male impersonators, and intersex individuals. If an individual prefers to be called transsexual, etc., use that term. When writing about a transgender person, use the name and personal pronouns that are consistent with the way the individual lives publicly.

And just to make sure you got the fracking point, here's the GLAAD Media Reference Guide's transgender Terminology and definitions.

An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term may include but is not limited to: transsexuals, cross-dressers, and other gender-variant people. Transgender people may identify as female-to-male (FTM) or male-to-female (MTF). Use the descriptive term (transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, FTM or MTF) preferred by the individual. Transgender people may or may not choose to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.

Transsexual (also Transexual)
An older term which originated in the medical and psychological communities. Many transgender people prefer the term "transgender" to "transsexual." Some transsexual people still prefer to use the term to describe themselves. However, unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term, and many transgender people do not identify as transsexual. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.

Okay, first order of 'bidness' is that Kimah is living her life as female. She had begun the process of transition, and was living full time. That means not all of your ID is going to perfectly match.

Many of us still have ID's with mismatched name and gender code info or are in states that despite us having legal name changes, refuse to change gender codes until the person undergoes GRS.

Jason saw Kimah as and married a woman. That means that this is a HETEROSEXUAL marriage, not a same gender one.

This is also a concrete example of the GL same gender marriage push having a deleterious effect on legal transgender marriages. The ignorant are mischaracterizing a transperson's legal opposite gender marriages as same gender ones. We're getting the unintended consequences and backlash from society's faith-based frustration over same gender marriage in which our marriages are being annulled.

SRS is not the end all and be all to determining gender identity or when a person transitions to the other gender.

As far as I'm concerned, the second you swallow you first hormone or take your first shot of testosterone, begin living in the opposite gender and make moves to harmonize your body with that gender role that may or may not include surgical options, you ARE that gender

Many transpeople who would like to have it either aren't able to afford genital surgery or have health issues that prevent it. There are many transpeople successfully living in our new gender roles despite possessing neoclits in our panties.

To break this point down for you: gender is between your ears, not your legs.

I also believe that the reporting would have been much different if you flip the race of the couple involved. No references to homeless shelters, no disrespecting Kimah's transgender status.

I realize NY gays are righteously angry at the NY state senate's inaction on the marriage equality bill despite Governor Paterson's willingness to sign the legislation if it hits his desk. But don't take it out on the Black couple who managed to get married despite the obstacles.

And congratulations Kimah and Jason. A bureaucrat may claim you're not married, but you and the Higher Power know differently. It's not the first time in our people's 400 year history in the Americas that the powers that be tried to place obstacles in front of the varied expressions of Black love.

If the lack of a piece of paper didn't stop our ancestors, don't let it stop you.

And note to the Advocate and the gayosphere, if you claim you're our allies, respecting us is Job One. Get it right on the pronouns and just reporting on our lives, period.

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