As we shared on our blog yesterday, the Philadelphia Daily News confirmed Wednesday that the death of Stacey Blahnik, a transgender woman, has been ruled a homicide.
We also shared on our blog that there were some problems with the newspaper's initial report of Stacey's death:
-The word "transsexual" appeared in the newspaper's headline and throughout the body of the story. As we note on page 8 of our Media Reference Guide, "transgender" (adj.) is an umbrella term that may include but is not limited to: transsexuals, cross-dressers and other gender-variant people. A reporter should always use the descriptive term preferred by the individual. As is the case with Stacey, when a reporter is not able to speak with the individual about whom they're writing, the term "transgender" is generally thought to be a much safer descriptive word choice than "transsexual."
After GLAAD consulted with the reporter, Stephanie Farr, and her editor, Albert Stumm, today's follow-up report referred to Stacey as a "transgender woman" in the headline and throughout the story.
-The initial report also gave preference to Stacey's given name (Michael Lee), mentioning it first and including the victim's chosen name (Stacey Blahnik) in quotation marks. As we note in our Media Reference Guide, it is never appropriate to place quotation marks around either a transgender person's chosen name or the pronoun that reflects that person's gender identity.
As you'll see in today's follow-up report, this problem has also been addressed by the newspaper. Quotation marks have been removed and preference has been given to Stacey's chosen name.
Please note that not all changes were made to the initial report and that GLAAD continues to work with the paper to get problematic terminology corrected there as well. The paper has also said that they will share their style guide with GLAAD and consider our recommendations for an update.
Given that problematic terminology is much too often an issue in media reports about transgender victims of violent crime, GLAAD is working to create resources aimed at preventing this specific problem from the outset.
In the meantime, please take a moment to send an e-mail to Philadelphia Daily News reporter Stephanie Farr, thanking her for her openness to our feedback and today's much more fair, accurate and inclusive report.