Earlier this week, a transgender woman of color was found stabbed to death in her home in New Jersey, as reported by Monica Roberts and others. Eyricka Morgan, who was 26 years old, was a former student at Rutgers University and involved with the New Jersey Community Research Initiative.
Several news sites have now reported on Morgan's death, and people who knew her have clearly identified her as a transgender woman. But multiple reports from The Star-Ledger newspaper have inaccurately identified Eyricka, using the wrong name and pronouns, failing to report that she was a transgender woman, and providing little information about her life.
GLAAD contacted Susan Epstein, the first reporter to cover the story, and informed her about fair and accurate guidelines for reporting on transgender issues. The reporter refused to change the story without confirmation of Eyricka's transgender identity from someone who knew her. GLAAD provided this information, but the newspaper has not corrected its coverage. Editors at the paper have not yet replied to repeated outreach by GLAAD.
GLAAD urges reporters writing about Eyricka Morgan to refer to our resource, Doubly Victimized: Reporting on Transgender Victims of Crime, and visit GLAAD's Media Reference Guide. GLAAD will continue to monitor the story, advocate for fair reporting at The Star-Ledger and other other outlets, and report any updates.
GLAAD has also been in touch with community members and organizations in New Jersey, who are organizing a vigil and community response to Eyricka's death. We will be sharing more information about the community response at it becomes available.
Eyricka's death follows that of Islan Nettles in New York, Domonique Newburn and Melony Smith in Los Angeles, Konyale Madden in Denton, Texas, Diamond Williams in Philadelphia, Fatima Woods in Rochester, New York, and many other unreported and underreported incidents of anti-transgender violence this year.
"The staggering amount of violence perpetrated on transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, must stop," said GLAAD national spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "When media outlets disrespect transgender victims by refusing to acknowledge their true identities, it perpetuates the ignorance that leads to such violence. Journalists have a responsibility to recognize transgender women as human beings worthy of respect - even in death."
If you see defamatory coverage of Eyricka Morgan's murder, if she is misgendered or slandered for being transgender, please report it to GLAAD.