CN: Violence against trans women, transphobia, transmisogyny
Today news was released of the apparent murder of a transgender woman named India Clarke in Hillsborough Florida. Her body was found Tuesday morning. Clarke is the 10th trans woman murdered in the US in 2015.
From a personal perspective, I’m heartbroken at the constant violence faced by the trans community and particularly by trans women of color like India Clarke. I’m scared for my friends’ futures, and I worry all the time that one of these days the name that comes up on my news feeds will be one I know. This past week a dear friend of mine, a very young black trans woman, came out publicly (though I’ve known for awhile) and I want to celebrate her coming out but am mostly left just terrified for her.
The very least I should be able to expect when another woman is brutally murdered the news media should be able to follow the basic guidelines about reporting on transgender people from GLAAD. The New York Times and AP also have style guides for handling transgender people in the news. As a most basic expectation I would hope that the news would use a person’s chosen name and pronouns when reporting on their brutal murder. To do anything else is a further crime against them.
However, the local CBS affiliate in Tampa appears to have broken this story (as far as I can tell) and they not only broke every rule in these guidelines, they could not have done worse. It feels like they intentionally went out of their way to be insulting, using male pronouns repeatedly, calling Clarke a “man in a dress” in their television reporting. Even after that line was removed from the report the WTSP report still uses exclusively male pronouns, uses India’s birth name, and puts her chosen name in scare quotes.
WTSP, and the author of the article Eric Glasser, should be ashamed of their deeply offensive coverage of this murder. India was a human being deserving of respect and the transgender community deserves far more sensitivity than this media outlet has shown. This kind of coverage contributes to the misunderstanding and hatred of transgender people that leads to murders like this. They are complicit in the continuation of transphobia.