Transgender people have always been part of our communities throughout the world and here in the US; in fact, during the start of the movement for gay, lesbian and bisexual rights transgender women of color like Sylvia Rivera led the way. What happened then was that the media did not understand how to cover transgender women and men and so there was little visibility, sensationalism and mistakes in reporting if not downright offense.
Little by little things are changing because of the effort made by transgender advocates like Laverne Cox, Carmen Carrera, Gina Rocero, Dani Heffernan, Tiq Milan and others, some named in the Trans 100 annual list of leaders. We have also noticed that producers and reporters are looking for information they need in order to be respectful and correct stereotypes and myths regarding the transgender community.
Some good reporting that we have noticed lately includes:
In La Opinión, Virginia Gaglianone wrote an interesting article about a support group for transgender women in Los Angeles.
Mercedes Soler, on her show "Realidades en Contexto" on CNN en Español included a segment about a young transgender woman that was asked to remove her makeup for her driver's license photo.
Soler interviews Mariana Marroquin to help her audience better understand why it was so important that the young woman not face this type of discrimination. At the end of the segment Soler reads the public comments about the piece posted on social networks and repeats after reading some that were negative that these comments in no way reflect the opinions of CNN en Español nor her own personal opinion.
On Univision, Los Ángeles, reporter Annabelle Sedano presented an excellent piece about a transgender woman who leads a Mariachi group. You can view it at http://uni.vi/3k4Mz5 and at http://uni.vi/3k7Cn4
These stories and the visibility they give to transgender people and issues is very important because, of course, the transgender community still faces challenges:
- Violence against transgender women globally is high-for example see the recent murder of activist Zoraida Reyes.
- There are few protections against discrimination towards transgender people especially since national legislation has not passed the House in the US, nor has legislation like it passed in other countries.
- Immigration reform has not passed which puts transgender migrants in danger.
- Transgender people still struggle for health care access.
At the same time advocates nationally and internationally are doing great work every day, including Diana Rodriguez from Ecuador's Asociación Silueta X en Ecuador, Arianna Lindt from Sunserve in Florida, Bamby Salcedo from the TransLatina Coalition, Florencia Trinidad in Argentina, Ezak Perez from Gender Justice Los Angeles, Ruby Corado from Casa Ruby in DC , among many others.
As always, please contact GLAAD when you see pieces about the transgender community that are either well done or problematic. Transgender people, please share your opinion with us; how do you think your community is being covered by Spanish-language media?