In an online story published this morning, CNN presented a full and completely accurate portrait of various trans people's identities and experiences across the country. Based on iReports posted to CNN’s blog by trans individuals of a variety of different communities, backgrounds, and identities, the article entitled “‘I am transgender, and I want my voice to be heard’” covers topics from discovering the word “transgender,” to facing discrimination in employment and hiring, to openly defying the gender binary, to being stealth.
The article and its accompanying photographed portraits highlight stories of trans-identified individuals who responded to CNN’s request last week for transgender, transsexual and questioning people to take a self-portrait holding a sign with a message that they wanted to share with the world. The prompt acknowledged that “people whose gender identity doesn’t match with that assigned to them at birth say they often feel misunderstood and their voices unheard,” in announcing this effort to overcome that feeling of invisibility.
One message read, “I am talented, creative, and beautiful, and I refuse to be tyrannized by a letter.” Another simply stated, “I am the third gender.” Each of the twelve portraits featured with this article were accompanied by a caption summarizing the individual’s thoughts on trans identity, their personal experiences, and their reasons for participating in the iReport assignment.
While the article, written by CNN iReport intern Jordan Sarver, highlights a diverse set of voices, the message they all have in common is that everyone is different in how they wish to present themselves and that should be respected.
This article is an excellent example of inclusive reporting on trans communities that helps to put many faces to an often misunderstood and misrepresented topic. GLAAD encourages all reporters writing transgender-related stories to take this article as a model not only for its use of proper terminology and definitions but also for its commitment to reflecting the diversity of gender identities and transgender communities in our country.
Please write to CNN with your positive comments about this iReport assignment and encourage them to continue elevating trans people’s voices accurately and inclusively in all of their areas of coverage.