A Speak Out and Vigil has been scheduled to honor Diamond Williams, a trans woman of color who was murdered in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia last week. Tuesday evening at Love Park in Philadelphia, speakers addressed the family of Diamond Williams, as well as friends and supporters of the transgender community. Speakers included: Aamina Morrison, Co-director of Trans-health Information Program (TIP); Samantha Jo Dato of Mazzoni Center's Trans* Wellness Project; Christian Axvaier Lovehall of Philly Trans* March; Sade Ali of Philadelphia Deputy Commissioner Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, and Morris Home Founder; and Gloria Casarez, Director of LGBT Affairs at the Mayor's Office.
Diamond Williams unfortunately joins a growing number of slain trans women in Philadelphia. The cases surrounding Nizah Morris, Stacey Blahnik Lee , and Kyra Kruz are still unsolved, and members of the LGBT community and their allies are questioning the determination of the Philadelphia Police Department to bring justice to these cases. Since initial reporting, police have Charles Sargent of Philadelphia's Strawberry Mansion neighborhood in custody as a suspect.
As is far too often the case, irrelevant information and wrong pronoun usage has run rampant throughout initial articles and reporting about Diamond Williams. Many adovcates, including GLAAD, and allies of the transgender community are speaking out on the continued insensitive and dehumanizing reporting styles of the media. Media outlets need to recognize that when reporting on the case of a transgender women, using her name and correct pronoun usage that correlates with how she was recognized on a daily basis is mandatory. Too often the media doubly victimizes women like Ms. Williams by dehumanizing them with inaccurate and sensationalized reporting about their lives, even after after they have suffered extreme violence. Available resources on proper reporting do exist; the AP Style Book and GLAAD both have resource pages dedicated to the proper way to report on trans issues. GLAAD also has a report entitled "Doubly Victimized" which specifically addresses how to report on crimes when a transgender person is the victim.
For more information on the Speak Out and Vigil in honor of Diamond Williams, click here.