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GLAAD calls for increased and accurate media coverage of transgender murders

Chay Reed killed on April 21 in Miami, Florida. She was 28 years old
Photo credit:
GLAAD

These are the transgender people killed in 2017 -- all of whom are transgender women of color:

  • Chay Reed killed on April 21 in Miami, Florida. She was 28 years old. 
  • Alphonza Watson killed on March 22 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was 38 years old. 
  • Jaquarrius Holland killed on February 19 in Monroe, Louisiana (identified as trans on February 28). She was 18 years old.
  • Ciara McElveen killed on February 27 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was 21 years old. 
  • Chyna Gibson killed on February 25 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was 31 years old. 
  • Keke Collier killed on February 21 in Englewood, Chicago. She was 24 years old. 
  • JoJo Striker killed on February 8 in Toledo, Ohio. She was 23 years old. 
  • Mesha Caldwell killed on January 4 in Canton, Mississippi. She was 41 years old. 
  • Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow killed on January 1 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She was 28 years old. 

GLAAD is calling on the media to:

  • Report on the brutal violence perpetrated against transgender people, particularly transgender women of color. With violence against transgender people at an all-time high and rising, national media coverage is severely lacking. The media must do a better job of reporting these murders and bringing needed attention to a community under vicious and violent attack. In order for people to be aware of the horrific violence affecting the community, the public needs to know it is happening. The media has a responsibility to communicate about the deadly realities faced by transgender people.
  • Respect and use the lived identity, name, and pronoun of the victim. Report on each victim with dignity and respect, portraying them as a person, not just a statistic. Disregarding the victim's gender identity and misgendering them in news reports adds further insult to injury, compounding the tragedy by invalidating who the victims were. GLAAD's Doubly Victimized: Reporting on Transgender Victims of Crime offers clear guidelines for reporting respectfully on stories where transgender people have been victimized by crime. GLAAD's Media Reference Guide also offers a glossary of terms, and best practices for fairly and accurately covering transgender stories.

As necessary, GLAAD reaches out to media outlets to correct incidents of irresponsible reporting where misgendering and victim-blaming occur. We also work with local communities and advocates, connecting them to journalists to confirm information about the victims. If you see a news story which misgenders a transgender victim and/or publishes details about their personal life irrelevant to their murder, contact us at [email protected].

    Background

    Victims of anti-transgender violence are overwhelmingly transgender women of color, who live at the dangerous intersections of transphobia, racism, sexism, and criminalization which often lead to high rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. While some homicides have not yet been identified as hate crimes due to lack of information about the perpetrators or motives, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports an alarming multi-year trend showing that transgender women experience a greater risk of death by hate violence than any other group.

    2016 overtook 2015 as the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States. In 2016, 27 transgender people were killed in the United States and nearly all of the victims were transgender women of color. (The 27th victim was India Monroe, a Black transgender woman, who was found shot to death in Newport News, Virginia on December 21, 2016; however, because initial reporting misgendered and misidentified her using her birth name, her death was not known until January.) This number does not include transgender people whose deaths were not reported due to misgendering in police reports, news stories, and sometimes by the victim's family.

      Additional Resources:

      (Editor's note: This post was originally published on SDGLN media partner GLAAD's blog).