GLAAD calls for increased and accurate media coverage of transgender murders

From GLAAD:  https://www.glaad.org/blog/glaad-calls-increased-and-accurate-media-coverage-transgender-murders

By Nick Adams, Director of Programs, Transgender Media
September 14, 2017

This page is updated regularly as new deaths are reported. Please see resources below on how to write stories about transgender people who have been victimized by crime, and additional resources for writing about the violence that affects transgender people, especially transgender women of color.

These are the 20 transgender people killed in 2017 — all are transgender people of color, with the exception of Gwynevere River Song:

  • Derricka Banner was killed on September 12 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was 26 years old.
  • Kashmire Redd was killed on September 4 in Gates, New York. He was 28 years old.
  • Kiwi Herring was killed on August 22 in St. Louis, Missouri. She was 30 years old.
  • Gwynevere River Song was killed on August 12 in Waxahachie, Texas. Gwynevere was 26 years old.
  • TeeTee Dangerfield was killed on July 31 in Atlanta, Georgia. She was 32 years old.
  • Ebony Morgan was killed on July 2 in Lynchburg, Virgina. She was 28 years old.
  • Ava Le’Ray Barrin was killed on June 25 in Athens, Georgia. She was 17 years old.
  • Josie Berrios (also known as Kendra Adams and Kimbella Rosé) was killed on June 13 in Ithaca, New York. She was 28 years old.
  • Kenne McFadden was found on April 9 in San Antonio, Texas, but due to misgendering by police and the media she was not identified as a transgender woman until June 6. She was 27 years old.
  • Sherrell Faulkner was attacked on November 30, 2016 and died on May 16, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was 46 years old.
  • Brenda Bostick was attacked on April 25 and died on May 4 in New York City. She was 59 years old. (There have been conflicting reports about the name this person used and their gender. It now seems clear that this person was assigned male at birth and lived at least part of her life as Brenda. Therefore we refer to her as Brenda and use female pronouns out of respect for that identity.)
  • 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.

* Initial police reports from Fresno, California identified homicide victim Imer Alvarado as a transgender woman, but Alvarado’s friends say he identified as a gay man who occasionally dressed in drag. Police have not arrested a suspect nor revealed a motivation for the murder, which happened on May 17.

* Initial news reports from San Francisco, California identified homicide victim Anthony Torres, aka Bubbles, as a transgender activist, but Torres did not identify as transgender. Police have not arrested a suspect nor revealed a motivation for the murder, which happened on September 9.

* On September 16, Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz was killed by police while they were experiencing a mental health crisis. Schultz was 21-years old, and identified as non-binary, using they/them pronouns. On January 6, in Sharon, Pennsylvania, a 23-year-old transgender man named Sean Hake was also killed by police while Hake was attempting to harm himself. On February 4, 2016 in Mesa, Arizona, police shot and killed Kayden Clarke, a 24-year-old transgender man with Asperger syndrome, after Clarke’s friend asked the police to go to his apartment because she was afraid Clarke was suicidal. These tragic incidents speak to the need for more mental health resources for transgender people, and for more comprehensive training for police on how to respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis.

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 transgender@glaad.org.

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:

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