Yesterday, the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post published this story, with this headline.
We know it's the New York Post. We know what their standards are, and they're not very high. Many of the writers and editors have made it clear that they could care less about the trans young people reading their paper - or parents and friends who have lost a loved one due to anti-trans violence.
I figured I'd try to communicate the problem with that headline to them in a manner they might more easily understand. Chances are pretty good that even if I were to provide a link to our guide for journalists covering transgender victims of violent crime to them, it would go un-clicked. But I do happen to know another language that they speak over there.
Giant block letters.
So here we go.
Maybe they just haven't heard us all these years because our font size is too small? "Trans Woman's Ex-Beau Under Fire" while still not ideal, would be fine as a headline.
Looking beyond just their offensive language, the article itself is incredibly sensationalized and exploitative, to the point of completely dehumanizing the victim, Claudia Charriez. This woman, who according to the article was bitten, punched and strangled "to the point of near unconsciousness," is introduced to the reader as "a gorgeous blonde pre-op transexual hooker" and later referred to as her attacker's "surgically-enhanced date." The tone of the article makes it clear that its author, Laura Italiano, does not consider this apparent case of severe domestic abuse to be a serious topic. Her attacker is described as a "hunky FDNY calendar boy." Here's another direct quote from the piece.
They would angrily dash back to their room -- in separate cabs -- but not before Murphy allegedly slammed his date into a phone booth and dragged her down the sidewalk by the hair, either briefly or the length of four full city blocks, depending on which of the tranny's accounts is relied on.
What's most amazing is that Italiano DOES self-censor the anti-gay slur which Charriez allegedly called her attacker, spelling it "f----t." We're used to seeing double-standards exist in coverage of the LGBT community and other marginalized groups, but I can't recall an example as blatant as this, nor one that treats an anti-gay slur with sensitivity, while dehumanizing a woman who is transgender by not referring to her as a person, but as an anti-trans slur like it was nothing.
Is it possible that Italiano didn't know that this is not an acceptable way to describe a transgender person? Depending the environment in which she learned the craft of journalism? Sure, it's possible.
Is it possible the paper's editors didn't know? No.
We've been calling them out on this stuff for literally decades. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Post, GLAAD was founded in 1985 specifically to stand up to the New York Post's dehumanizing, defamatory, and disgusting coverage of the HIV/AIDS crisis that had taken hold in the city. It hasn't grown up very much in the years since. Here's an example of them doing the exact same thing with another story in which a trans woman of color is the victim of violence. Here's some more transphobia. Based on the headlines, would you prefer to read "Free to Be He-She" or "Tranny Heaven?" Maybe you'd rather peruse "Woman To Claim 'Tranny Defense' in Murder Trial?"
But here's the thing. This time the NY Post's writers aren't just being lazy and exploitative by treating a transgender woman as undeserving of basic human dignity. They're also likely trying to direct attention away from their actions of earlier this week, when they published one of the most horrific and heartless front pages that has ever been published. I'm not going to rehash it, nor am I going to show the picture. (and the story I linked to doesn't either, so it's safe to click on.) It is truly heartbreaking that anyone, in any business, would be so cruel as to do what the NY Post did this week. And if I had to guess, I'd say they're looking for someone to make a stink about something other than that. So they're picking on the transgender community. Again.
Stay classy, you guys.